How to Take Panorama Pictures with your Smartphone

Trinidad de Cuba, Photo by Jim Guld with a Google Android phone.

Lake Santa Fe, Florida: Photo by Chris Guld with an iPhone

When you travel, you get so many opportunities for beautiful photos, and, if you have a smartphone you have one of the best cameras ever made. Taking panoramas, like the photos above is just a simple setting. You don’t need to take multiple photos and “stitch” them like with older cameras.

iPhone Pano Setting

When you open the Camera app on an iPhone, you will see words just above the shutter button: Time-Lapse, Slo-Mo, Video, Photo, Square, Pano. You may need to swipe left on the screen until you see Pano, then tap on it. It means Panorama.

  • Tap Pano
  • You need to hold the phone vertically to take a wide panorama picture. (if you hold it horizontally, you can take a vertical panorama) The reason for this is to give more height to a wide photo (or more width to a tall photo.)
  • You will see an arrow and a line telling you to pan the phone from left to right, keeping the arrow on the line. If you want to pan from right to left, just tap the arrow and it will turn around.
  • Tap the shutter button (white circle) to begin panning, tap it again to stop.
  • That’s it, you can view the panorama in Google Photos (or Apple Photos)

Android Panorama

Unless you have a very off-brand Android phone, you have a panorama setting somewhere! Be aware that every model of Android phone or tablet may be a bit different. First open the camera app. The panorama mode might be right on the screen, or under a settings button, or a 3-line menu with choices, or a 3-dot menu with choices. When I open the camera app on my Samsung Galaxy S21 phone, I see a button called More. I Tap that and Panorama is one of the choices.

  • Tap Panorama
  • You need to hold the phone vertically to take a wide panorama picture. (If you hold it horizontally, you can take a vertical panorama.)
  • You will see a horizontal bar where the panorama appears as you pan the phone. Some models don’t show this until after you start panning.
  • Tap the shutter button and start panning; tap it again to stop.
  • That’s it – you can view the panorama in Google Photos (or Gallery)

Here’s a tutorial video on how to get the shortcut to Panorama mode on a Samsung S21.

Fun with Panorama

How did we get this photo with Jim in the picture twice? Start a panorama from one side with Jim on that side. Start panning to the other side while Jim runs around behind me to get in position on that side. Fun!

Watch these 1 minute videos to see Panorama in action.

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at She is the author of Learn Google Photos. She and her husband, Jim, produce a free weekly online show called What Does This Button Do?  They have been Fulltime RVers, popular seminar presenters at RV Rallies, computer clubs, and senior centers, for many years.