Using the Cordova Camera API

Many apps use the functionality of the user’s camera to add photo and video support to their apps. Adding media support to your app with the Cordova Camera API is a snap (yea, I just went there):


First, before we access the camera we need to install the Camera plugin.

From the command line, cd into the directory for your current Ionic or Cordova app:

$ cd myApp
$ ls -l
total 40
-rw-rw-r--   1 driftyadmin  staff  2024 Apr 29 10:59
-rw-rw-r--   1 driftyadmin  staff   810 Apr 29 10:59 config.xml
-rw-rw-r--   1 driftyadmin  staff   620 Apr 29 10:59 gulpfile.js
drwxrwxr-x   4 driftyadmin  staff   136 Apr 29 10:59 hooks
-rw-rw-r--   1 driftyadmin  staff    74 Apr 29 10:59 ionic.project
-rw-rw-r--   1 driftyadmin  staff   253 Apr 29 10:59 package.json
drwxrwxr-x   3 driftyadmin  staff   102 Apr 30 09:46 platforms
drwxrwxr-x   5 driftyadmin  staff   170 Apr 29 10:59 plugins
drwxrwxr-x  11 driftyadmin  staff   374 Apr 29 10:59 www

You will see something different probably, but the above output is what the root directory of an Ionic/Cordova app looks like.

To install the plugin, run:

$ cordova plugin add

This will install the Camera plugin and we can get down to adding Camera functionality to our app!

Taking pictures

Now that we have the plugin installed, we can use the camera API from our Javascript:

function takePicture() { {

    // imageURI is the URL of the image that we can use for
    // an <img> element or backgroundImage.

  }, function(err) {

    // Ruh-roh, something bad happened

  }, cameraOptions);

This will prompt the user to take a photo, and will return the local URL of the image that you can then use inside of an <img> tag or use for a CSS background image.

cameraOptions is an optional object that allows you to configure many aspects of the camera operation. They are too numerous to list here, so be sure to take a look at the Camera Plugin Docs for a full list of the available features and options of the Camera plugin.

AngularJS Service

What would a plugin be without an easy-to-use AngularJS service? Use the code below for a simple wrapper over the Camera plugin that makes it easy to asynchronously grab photos:

module.factory('Camera', ['$q', function($q) {

  return {
    getPicture: function(options) {
      var q = $q.defer(); {
        // Do any magic you need
      }, function(err) {
      }, options);

      return q.promise;

This factory can be used in your controllers like this:

.controller('MyCtrl', function($scope, Camera) {

  $scope.getPhoto = function() {
    Camera.getPicture().then(function(imageURI) {
    }, function(err) {

Which will open the Camera when getPhoto() is called (from a button click, for example).

AngularJS Whitelisting

Depending on how you request the data back from the Camera and use it in your Angular markup, you may have to whitelist image URLs so Angular allows file:// URLs (for example, if you are using ng-src for an <img> tag):


Example Project

For a quick example that ties all of the lessons here together, take a look at the Cordova Camera example app using Ionic! Here’s a screenshot of it in action:

further reading
Adding an App Icon

Including an app icon is as simple as adding a few lines to a project config.xml

Customizing the Status Bar

An easy and quick way to personalize your applications is by customizing the status bar. Learn how to with the ngCordova plugin.

Get building with Ionic today!