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Apple to iPhone 5 owners: purple flare camera effect "normal"

Apple has claimed that the Instagram-like 'purple flare' effect being reported by many users of the iPhone 5 is normal, posting a short document dedicated to the subject in the support section of its website. (opens in new tab)

"Most small cameras, including those in every generation of iPhone, may exhibit some form of flare at the edge of the frame when capturing an image with out-of-scene light sources," the statement read.

Based on our tests, it's not a totally accurate self-assessment on Apple's part: while the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 are prone to the effect when a bright light source is in the corner of the frame, we found no purple flare issues affecting the iPhone 4S.

The announcement advises that the haze can be eliminated or minimised by "moving the camera slightly to change the position at which the bright light is entering the lens, or shielding the lens with your hand."

In a private email last week, Apple support staff suggested that the purple flare existed because of the way some users chose to frame their pictures, and recommended angling the camera away from the bright light (opens in new tab), in response to an iPhone 5 user's complaint about the problem.

The flare is not exclusive to photographs, and is thought to have been affecting videos too.

At the moment, the issue appears to only be affecting some devices, so it's hardly prudent to discount Apple's explanation entirely and place the full blame on the handset's new sapphire crystal lens cover, or even a software glitch - as some have been doing.

Still, this is just one of many issues to have plagued Apple's most recently released smartphone. The most prominent so far include "Scuffgate", as well as Siri's comically faulty weather forecasts, and the related furore surrounding the dodgy Maps app featured on iOS 6.

Aatif is a freelance copywriter and journalist based in the UK. He’s written about technology, science and politics for publications including Gizmodo, The Independent, Trusted Reviews, Newsweek, and ITProPortal.