Photo of the Milky Way Taken on an iPhone 14 Pro

A Picture I took on an iPhone 14 Pro of the Milky Way


Well, you can’t do this anywhere. You still need a dark environment with little light pollution (I took the picture above at Bryce Canyon National Park), but if you have a dark sky in front of you here’s how you take a picture like the one above.

  1. Enable night mode

    Finding the night mode button

    Swipe away from the camera shutter and click on the night mode button.

    Night mode set at the longest Exposure Setting

    Change the expose duration to whatever Max is. (Don’t worry about the specific duration right now)

  2. Getting a 30-second exposure

    Your iPhone won’t always let you do a 30-second Night Mode exposure. To get this option your phone needs to be still, & you need to be in a really dark environment.

    In practice, you’ll want to use a tripod (I used the tripod that was part of a selfie stick we had), but in a pinch, you can hang your phone off the edge of a bench (just make sure no one is sitting on the bench).

    If there is some lighting around you (even some dim lights can cause issues) try using some pillows and blankets to block the excess light from reaching your phone.

    Once you get your conditions right you should see the Night Mode slide read Max (30s).

  3. Pressing the shutter button

    At this point, we need to avoid moving our phone and the best way to do that is to avoid touching it.

    The selfie stick I was using for the above shot came with a Bluetooth remote we could use to trigger the shutter, so I used that. You can also use your Apple Watch as a shutter button if you have one.

    If you don’t have access to either of these try to touch your shutter button as lightly as possible. Even a tiny shake at the beginning will cause you to lose a bunch of stars.

    And finally, while you patiently wait for your 30s exposure be mindful about vibrations that could shake your camera.

With that, you now have some pretty cool photos you can share. Obviously, you could still get much better photos with a DLSR Camera (they have an unfair sensor/lens size advantage), but I think these photos still look pretty cool.

Here are some other photos I took. All but the last were taken in June 2023 on an iPhone 14 Pro at Bryce Canyon National Park. The last was taken on an iPhone 13 at Yellowstone in June 2022 (with only a 3-second exposure according to the metadata)

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