I just discovered a feature on a Windows 8.1 tablet that I didn’t know existed: The ability to access the camera app from the lock screen. Thinking that there may be other Windows 8.1 tablet users out there who are unaware of this handy feature, I figured that I’d write an article showing how this feature works.

It makes sense that this feature would be available on a Windows 8.1 tablet–after all, my smartphone has it. Since I’m more likely to take a picture with my phone than I am with my tablet, I never gave it much thought. However, I recently was using my tablet to take pictures, and in-between shots, the tablet would go into sleep mode. Of course, I appreciate it saving battery power, but the extra steps involved in getting back to the camera were inconvenient.

Later on in the day, I was experimenting with changing settings in the PC Settings app and discovered the Camera section on the Lock screen tab and flipped the toggle to On (Figure A). Once this feature is enabled, you can access the camera from the lock screen.

Figure A

You can enable the camera on the lock screen.

Now, when you’re at the lock screen, you can access the camera app by swiping down from the top of the screen. When you do, you’ll see a black screen come into view with the Camera app icon on the bottom left (Figure B).

Figure B

You can access the camera app by swiping down from the top of the lock screen.

Once you pull the Camera app onto the screen, you can begin to take pictures (Figure C). You’ll notice that the lock screen version of the Camera app shows all the control icons on the main screen as opposed to the standard Camera app that requires you to swipe up from the bottom to see the Change camera, timers, and Exposure control icons. You’ll also notice that the control icon in the left corner is titled Unlock instead of Camera roll. When you’re finished taking pictures, just tap the Unlock control, and you’ll immediately see the Sign in screen. Of course, once you sign in, you can use your tablet as you normally would.

Figure C

All the controls appear on the main screen on the lock screen version of the Camera app.

What’s your take?

Were you aware that Microsoft added a lock screen version of the Camera app in Windows 8.1? If so, do you use it often? Let us know in the discussion thread below.