You may be surprised to hear that it can be difficult to scratch your phone’s camera lens. This is because most smartphones have a scratch-resistant coating on the lens to help protect it from damage.
Think about all the times you’ve accidentally dropped your phone or shoved it into your pocket or purse with your keys or other sharp objects.
Though it’s difficult to scratch the lens, it’s not impossible, so it’s best if you take precautions to keep your phone camera lens safe. But if it’s too late for precautions, is there anything you can do to fix it? Yes and no.
First, let’s talk about why you should worry about scratches on your camera lens. Then we’ll explain multiple different methods to fix phone camera lens scratches.
How Scratches Affect Image Quality
Step number one in how to fix a phone camera lens scratches is identifying that this is in fact your issue. Surprisingly, most scratches will not affect your image quality, or they may only affect quality to a small degree.
The reason for this is that your phone camera’s sensors are close enough to the glass that they won’t catch the scratches.
However, depending on how deep the scratch is, how it occurred, and where the scratch is located, you may see some deterioration in image quality.
If you’ve just dropped or accidentally scratched your phone camera lens, you can check for obvious damage by taking a few pictures in a well-lit area to look for distortion in the photos.
Scratches or Dust?
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you’ve really scratched your phone camera lens or if it’s just gotten smudged.
The first step in identifying scratches is to clean the lens. You’ll want to start by removing as must dust and debris as possible without causing further damage. This is best done with an air duster.
Once you’ve removed most of the dust with the air duster, you can move on to either a cleaning pen or microfiber cloth.
If the lens seems particularly dirty, you can try using a lens cleaner, but use caution and try not to get any liquid into the more sensitive parts of your smartphone.
If you’ve cleaned your lens and it’s obvious that the lens is scratched and not just dirty, it’s time to decide what to do next.
How to Fix Phone Camera Lens Scratches
For light scratches, these products may help, but it’s likely that you wouldn’t see much of a difference in image quality if you were to just leave the scratches in place. They may be worth a try, especially if the scratches are negatively affecting your photos.
If your phone camera lens has been deeply scratched or seriously damaged, you’ll need to replace the camera lens. Depending on the type of phone you have, this may or may not be possible. It may also be very expensive.
In some cases, the cost of replacing the camera may be close to the cost of replacing the entire phone. Unfortunately, if that’s your situation, it will be much easier just to replace the entire phone.
If you find yourself in need of an inexpensive replacement under $500, then here are our favorite options available to you.
These are the top DIY methods for repairing scratches and they may or may not be appropriate for your lenses and your situation. Use your best judgment to determine which methods would work best for you or if you should seek professional advice.
You may be familiar with the idea that toothpaste can remove scratches. Since toothpaste is slightly abrasive, it can help with removing minor scratches.
To use, simply apply a bit of toothpaste to a cotton swab or microfiber cloth and gently rub it onto the camera lens. Depending on the depth of the scratches, you may need to keep rubbing for several minutes until the scratches are no longer visible.
Rubbing alcohol is also a commonly recommended DIY scratch remover but can remove certain lens coating when concentrated. To reduce this risk, you’ll need to dilute the rubbing alcohol to about one part alcohol to 20 parts water.
You’ll use the same method of application you would use with toothpaste. Apply a small amount to a cotton swab or microfiber cloth and gently rub onto the lens. Be careful not to get any excess liquid into your phone’s ports or speakers.
Many photographers have also recommended using Vaseline to repair any minor scratches on your phone’s camera lens.
The best way to apply Vaseline is with your finger by gently tapping a small amount onto the lens itself. Use a microfiber cloth to gently rub the lens and wipe off excess Vaseline.
Screen Polisher or Scratch Remover
Yes, that’s right, there are actual products on the market designed to remove scratches. These products have the highest rate of success but depending on the severity of the scratches on the lens, you may or may not see much of a difference.
Though each product may differ in instructions, you’re probably going to apply a small amount to the lens and then polish it by rubbing for several minutes. However, you’ll want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for each individual product for best results.
The best thing you can do for your phone camera lens is to keep it from getting scratched in the first place. If you can prevent your lens from getting scratched, you’ll never need to worry about the cost of replacing it.
Protecting Your Phone Camera Lens from Scratches
One of the best ways of protecting your phone camera lens, no matter what type of phone you have, is to keep a protective case on the phone.
Specifically, look for a case that’s thick enough to elevate the camera lens away from tables, desks, and any other surface you might set your phone on. Most cases will extend far enough away from the phone to keep the lens safe but won’t interfere with image quality.
Finally, one of the best ways to keep your camera lens in top shape is to keep it clean. Regularly cleaning your lens from dust and debris will help prevent accidental scratches.
Though many people simply wipe their phone camera lens clean with their shirt, consider investing in a microfiber cloth or cleaning pen. These products are inexpensive and will allow you to gently wipe away dirt and dust without accidentally scratching the lens.