Change the Default iPhone Camera App with This Shortcut Automation

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Apple doesn’t let you change the default iPhone Camera app, at least officially. But a clever little hack to switch to your preferred camera app in Shortcuts means you can use your preferred camera app, even when you tap the lock screen shortcut.

How to Set Up the Camera App Shortcut

This hack uses Apple’s Shortcuts app to trigger an app of your choice whenever you launch the default iPhone Camera app.

Unlike standalone Shortcuts (which can be shared and downloaded), you’ll need to set the camera shortcut up manually on your iPhone.

To do this, open Shortcuts and tap on the “Automations” tab at the bottom of the screen. Tap on “Create Personal Automation” to get started.

Create Personal Automation in Shortcuts for iPhone

Scroll down and find the “App” trigger and select it. Then tap “Choose” and select the default iPhone Camera app.

Make sure “Is Opened” is checked beneath the app. Then, tap “Next.”

Use the Camera app as a trigger for an automation in Shortcuts

You’ll now need to choose an action that happens whenever the Camera app is opened.

Choose “Open App” from the list, then tap “App” next to “Open” and select the app you want to use instead (we went with Manual).

Pick an app to open when your automation is triggered

Once you select your app, tap “Next.”

Finally, disable “Ask Before Running” and tap “Don’t Ask” in the pop-up window so the automation can run without any additional input from you.


Tap “Done” in the upper right-hand corner. You can now review your work which will appear in the list next to your other iPhone automations.

Review your automation

An Imperfect Solution

There are two drawbacks to using this method, though they won’t be big deals for everyone. The first is that your iPhone will need to be unlocked to run third-party apps.

You’ll need to glance at the Face ID sensor to launch a camera app from the lock screen.

Face ID required to open a third party app on a locked iPhone

In our testing, we didn’t notice this requirement as the Face ID sensor was so fast at unlocking our iPhone 13 Pro that the shortcut felt seamless. Covering the sensor revealed a different story and one that might not be ideal for those who have trouble getting Face ID to work consistently (or users with older iPhones that use a Touch ID sensor).

Related: Face ID Not Working? 3 Things You Can Try

Additionally, there are no exceptions to this shortcut for use with the Apple Watch companion app. If you like to use your Apple Watch as a remote trigger for the Camera app, you’ll effectively lose this functionality.

Apple Watch Camera remote app

Combine with Other Camera Tricks

If your Face ID experiences are positive and speedy, and you don’t use the Apple Watch remote trigger, there’s no huge drawback to doing this outside of a slight delay when launching your chosen camera app.

This hack works alongside other neat tricks like opening your iPhone camera with a swipe or using the optional Back Tap feature built into iOS.

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