How to Enable Grid on Your iPhone Camera & Why the Rule of Thirds Is Your Friend

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

In the photography world there’s something called "the rule of thirds." The iPhone’s camera grid helps you create a balanced composition that adheres to this rule of thirds by displaying a faint grid over the capture frame. You can turn on the camera grid on iPhone easily within settings. When I originally wrote this article, my iPhone camera grid was turned off. But I’ve kept my iPhone 7’s camera grid on since. When taking photos, the rule of thirds can be applied with or without a grid, but the camera grid makes it easier to see if your horizon lines and subjects are placed at the proper intersections for optimal balance in the shot. We’ll talk a little bit more about what the rule of thirds is and then jump into how to get a grid on your iPhone’s camera.

Related: How to Adjust Exposure in the iPhone Camera App (2023)

Rule of Thirds on iPhone & The Benefits of the Grid

Of course there are no hard-and-fast rules for anything. But if you’re new to photography, learning the rule of thirds may help you with the balance and overall feeling of your images.

  • The camera grid is split into nine squares of equal size.
  • The rule of thirds states that the important compositional elements or subjects should reside along the lines or at the intersections of the lines.
  • The rule also states that the horizon line (of your photo) should line up with the top or bottom horizontal line of the grid.

The images below (found on Wikipedia) demonstrates the differences between a photo taken with the rule-of-thirds and without.

As you can see above, a simple camera grid shift changes the entire feeling of the photo. Suddenly a candid shot looks professional. To me, the best use of the iPhone camera grid is creating balance in the everyday photos we take. While I don’t need my shots to look professional, they’re instantly more appealing when I apply the rule of thirds using the grid.

Unlike many camera settings on iPhone, putting grid on your iPhone camera is done within settings and not within the Camera app itself. But it’s easy to turn the grid on and off within Settings if you need to; but I found that once I got used to seeing the faint grid across my camera, I could easily ignore it when I didn’t want to use it while having it readily available when I do. The next part of our article will show you how to turn on (or off) the grid on your iPhone camera. Want to learn other cool stuff about your iPhone's Photo and Camera App? Read through this article about how to take a time-lapse photo!

How to Put Grid on iPhone Camera

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap Photos & Camera (or just Camera if using iOS 11 or later).
  • Find Grid and toggle it on.
  • Return to the Camera app; you’ll see a faint grid over the capture frame.

The rule of thirds is a fairly simple photography rule but it's one that makes a world of difference. More and more, the iPhone's camera comes closer to professional DSLRs. While an iPhone camera will probably never fully replace the real thing, for the amatuer photographer, learning a few simple photography principles such as the rule of thirds can elevate your everyday photos to a level that's at least worthy of Instagram fame. 

Top Image Credit: Songphon Maharojanan / Shutterstock
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Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.