Apple issued a support document on Monday that addresses the purple flare issue noticed by iPhone 5 owners who take a photo with a out-of-scene bright light source in the frame of the shot. Apple implies this is a common problem and says that “most small cameras, including those in every generation of iPhone, may exhibit some form of flare at the edge of the frame when capturing an image with out-of-scene light sources. ”
Apple further explains that this purple flare results from a “reflection off the surfaces inside the camera module and onto the camera sensor.” Apple advises customers to move the camera slightly to avoid the bright light or shield the lens with their hand. Basically, you’re pointing it wrong. Photography website dpreview has a theory that this lens flare may be the result of the coating used on the camera lens of the iPhone 5. We don’t know for sure, but it is possible that the lens on the iPhone 5 may have a different coating than previous models of the iPhone. The new coating, combined with a sapphire lens element, may contribute to this purple flare effect. We won’t know for sure until Apple reveals additional details about its camera technology.