How to be the fastest mobile photographer in the west

It doesn’t matter if you shoot photos on iOS or Android. Nowadays pretty much every mobile phone has a stellar camera packed into the back of it, but half of the battle is getting it out of your pocket and opening the camera fast enough to catch a cool moment.

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


On Android, things can vary a little bit depending on what manufacturer produced your phone, but there are still a few constants that prevail across a lot of modern Android smartphones.

My personal 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 get some pictures and videos that I would have likely missed if I was on Android.

Some Android phones also allow you to add a camera button to your quick toggles in the notifications shade, but that appears to be less prevalent across all Android phones. Another thing that’s pretty random and misaligned across Android is gestures to open the camera. For instance, on OnePlus you can set it up so that if you draw an ‘O’ on your lock screen it will open the camera. However, I’ve never found this to be particularly useful.

For most people I’d recommend just using the double tap on the power button or opening the app.


Beyond tapping on the classic camera app there are a few other ways to launch the mobile camera.

The first one 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 will open up the camera super quickly. This is the fastest way to take a picture if you’re phone is off on iPhone. 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 to do so from Control Centre. On iPhone X and newer devices, you can access this by swiping down from the top right-hand side of your screen. Then at the bottom of the screen, you should see a camera icon. Tap that and the app will launch. On 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 you device’s settings app, choosing Control Centre and adding the camera.

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