It doesn’t matter if you shoot photos on iOS or Android, nearly every modern smartphone features a stellar camera packed into its rear, but half of the battle is getting the device out of your pocket and opening the shooter fast enough to catch that special moment.

Both mobile operating systems are rife with quick access toggles and gestures to launch their respective camera apps without tapping on the main camera app. These are some of the more common ways we use to snap pictures in a flash:


On Android, the situation varies depending on what device you own, but there are still a few constants that prevail across nearly all modern Android smartphones.

My favourite way to open the camera on Android is to double-tap the power button. This is easily the fastest way to open a camera and has allowed me to snap pictures and videos that I would have likely missed if I was using an iPhone.

Some Android phones also allow you to add a camera button to your quick toggles in the notifications shade, but this isn’t the case with all devices. Another thing that’s pretty random and misaligned across Android is gestures to open the camera. For instance, OnePlus devices can be set up so if you draw an ‘O’ on your lock screen, the camera opens. However, I’ve never found this feature to be particularly useful.

I’d recommend just using the double tap on the power button for most people since it’s the fastest route.


Beyond tapping on the classic camera app, there are a few other ways to launch the mobile camera with an iPhone and iOS 15.

With the first method, you’re greeted with is a small camera icon at the bottom right of your lock screen. If you tap and hold on this icon, it quickly opens up the camera. This is the fastest way to take a picture if your iPhone is off. Opening the camera this way also prevents others from going through your camera roll if you have a password.

The other abstract way to open the camera is from the ‘Control Centre.’ On iPhone X and newer devices that don’t feature a physical Touch ID button, you can access this by swiping down from the top right-hand side of your screen. Then, you should see a camera icon at the bottom of the screen. Tap that, and the app will launch. With older iPhones that still have a Home Button, you’ll need to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open Control Centre.

If you don’t see the camera icon, you can add it to Control Centre by navigating to your device’s settings app, selecting Control Centre and adding the camera.

Sometimes I’ll also pull down to use the iPhone search function to pull up the camera, but I get by between these two methods and the default app.

I’ll also mention that if you take a ‘Live photo’ with your iPhone (the ones that move a bit like a gif), you can readjust the images in the Apple Photos app to choose a slightly earlier frame as the main photo.

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