How to use the camera on an Android phone: Basics explained

How to use the camera on an Android phone: Basics explained

Android is a relatively simple operating system. But new users and people who have jumped on the Apple ship to try it out may have difficulty navigating.


One of the most important features of any modern phone is the camera app. However, some may struggle to find it on Android. No need to worry; you can continue reading to learn how to find and use your Android camera app.


How to find the Android Camera App

On most Android phones, the camera app will be on the home screen by default, so just tap it to get started. If not, there are a few ways to find the camera app on Android. On most Android devices, you can open the app drawer to find the app.

  1. Unlock your device.
  2. While on the home screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
  3. Here you can browse through your apps until you find one Camera app.

You can also press the search field at the top of the app drawer and type “camera”. If for some reason you can’t find it in the app drawer, try a few gestures that your device might support. Here are some examples you can try:

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  • Softly double-press the power button on the side of the device.
  • Quickly twist the phone twice.
  • On the lock screen, tap the camera icon at the bottom right or left of the screen.

At least one of these methods should open the camera app. If none work, consider restarting your device and trying again.

How to use the Android Camera App

All Android phones come with a camera app, but what it looks like – and what it can do – will vary from brand to brand, as each manufacturer uses its own app. We’ve got a separate guide to the Samsung camera app if that’s what you’re using .

Quality can vary, but the built-in camera apps usually offer enough for most users, and there are many ways to improve Android’s camera quality. Although the images below may differ slightly from the camera’s interface, all apps work in much the same way.

How to take a photo with the Android Camera App

Here’s a quick look at how to take a photo on Android:

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. Insure Photo is highlighted at the bottom of the capture area. Tap the “rotating arrows” icon to the left of the shutter button to take a selfie.
  3. Line up your shot inside the screen. Tap the screen to set the camera’s focus to a specific part of the frame if you want.
  4. Press release button.

Photo mode highlighted in the camera app bar

This saves the image immediately and you are ready to view it. Of course, you can tweak and change specific settings depending on what kind of picture you’re trying to take. For example, you use Portrait mode to focus on an object or a person and blur out everything else in the picture.

How to record video with Android

Video recording with Android is also quite easy. Here is all you need to do the following:

  1. Open the Camera app and select Video option from the menu that is either above or below the shutter release button.
  2. Press the red one release button to start shooting.
  3. Print release button again when you want to stop filming.

Video mode highlighted in the camera app bar

In some apps, while filming, the shutter button will display a white square and a pause symbol on the left side, which you can tap to pause and unpause the recording.

Where Android camera photos and videos are stored

Over time, Android has drastically changed how and where it stores photos and videos. It used to be a stock gallery app that came standard with most Android devices. It was removed and you may find yourself wondering exactly where your footage has gone and asking “where are my Android photos?”.

Some of the blame for the difficulty in finding Android photos goes to apps like Google Photos. Although they come with many conveniences, they seem to struggle to provide ease of use for many users. Yes, your content is backed up automatically, but it’s hard to find files that are on your device.

Camera app bar with recent recording highlighted

In most cases, if you’re looking for content you’ve recently captured, you can access it by opening the Camera app and tapping the photo icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen. This will take you to a file-by-file gallery where you can view one photo or video at a time.

Google Photos

While most phones have their own gallery app, Google Photos is the best option for viewing your photos. Finding camera photos and videos with Google Photos is relatively easy. It collects and organizes the content on your device and in the cloud.

The Google Photos app showing the top section with albums

You can access Google Photos by opening the app drawer and pressing Pictures icon. It should open up a variety of recent photos and videos where you can find the content you’re looking for by swiping through the grid of thumbnails.

By default, it will show you all the photos on your phone. If you only want to see the photos you’ve taken, tap Library icon at the bottom and select Camera folder.

Google Photos uses AI to recognize the content of photos, helping you find specific photos or groups of photos more easily. Press Search at the bottom of the screen and enter a search. You can use a few words to describe the content of the image and Google will show you some relevant suggestions from your gallery.

Once you get the hang of using Google Photos to find your photos, you’ll start saving tons of time. This is especially true because it’s a great alternative to using Android file transfer to a PC to organize your content.

A simple approach to Android’s camera

Although it’s relatively easy to take photos and videos on Android, it can be difficult to find exactly where your content is stored. Tapping the icon in the bottom right of the camera app, or opening Google Photos, are the best ways to find it.

However, you can make opening your Android camera even easier. This involves adding a shortcut to the home screen that opens the camera or selfie camera on the spot. This can save you the trouble of having to open the app drawer and sift through a long list of apps to get to your camera.

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