Why Does the iPhone Have Three Cameras? An In-Depth Look

  • The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max series was the first iPhone to have three main cameras.
  • If you have three cameras, remember that they work with each other, and may not always work in unison.
  • No doubt the future of iPhone camera tech will only continue to improve. 
Why iPhone Three Cameras November 2023 Featured

If you’re curious why some iPhones have three cameras, I’ve got just the answer for you. My first iPhone with three main cameras was the iPhone 12 Pro. Now, I rock the iPhone Pro 15 and I love the three pro main cameras. Whether it’s taking wider field shots with the wide-angle camera lens, or taking advantage of optical zoom and digital zoom, I know that my iPhone camera is going to take some amazing pictures and video. Let me show you how. 

What is the Point of an iPhone With 3 Cameras?

Your iPhone has three individual cameras, or lenses, to help provide better functionality for your camera and develop superior image quality for amazing photos. If you’re using an iPhone Pro or Pro Max series, your three rear cameras are likely to be a telephoto lens, a wide lens and an ultra-wide lens. These three work together to help capture best photos on your iPhone. 

Your telephoto lens offers certain features, such as zoom capabilities and improved performance in portrait mode. This is thanks to the longer focal lengths within the telephoto lens, which helps capture far-away objects by offering a larger depth of field. Meanwhile, your ultra-wide lens helps photograph larger objects, such as flush landscapes and architecture. These two lenses combine with your traditional wide lens to give you a photographing experience worthy of professionals. 

How Do the 3 Cameras Work on iPhone?

If you have three main or rear cameras on your iPhone, know that each one is designed for different modes. Remember that you have a telephoto lens, a wide lens and an ultra-wide camera lens. Essentially, the three cameras help with your zooming options, with the wide and ultra-wide cameras helping you take photos of larger objects or scenes. The different lenses also help with aperture control. Always remember you can change between these cameras by pressing the Zoom button just above the shutter.

What iPhone Has Three Cameras?

The Pro and Pro Max series is where you can find iPhones with three main cameras. This means that anything from the iPhone 11 Pro series all the way up to the iPhone 15 series and likely beyond will have three main cameras as well as your front-facing camera. The non-pro series of iPhones will have two main cameras and a front-facing camera. The three main cameras on the Pro series are typically the telephoto camera, the wide camera and the ultra-wide camera.

Why Does My Phone Have Three Cameras but Only One Works?  

If your iPhone has three cameras and you feel that only one works, remember that each one is for a different viewing angle. When it comes to your three main cameras, only one is going to operate at a time. Your other two cameras will also see use, though likely when you are changing your zoom perspective or aperture. However, if you find that your iPhone is not properly zooming, or you’re not able to cycle through your options, you may have a potentially serious issue


With a wide variety of devices to choose from, you should know that you’re going to get a high-quality camera from Apple regardless of which iPhone you choose. Irrespective of whether or not you’re using a base model iPhone 11, or an iPhone 15 Pro Max, you can be assured that you’re taking beautiful landscape photos and portrait photos thanks to the separate cameras in your device. With cutting-edge technology in your iPhone, you don’t need a background in photography or extensive photography knowledge to get the shots you want for your photo collection.

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