Lukas Klein

Python and Django developer. Docker enthusiast. This is my blog.

Check whether your iDevice has a camera built in in Phonegap

Earlier this week I discovered Phonegap when I got a beta-invite to their new build-service. To those who never heard of Phonegap before, it is:

an HTML5 app platform that allows you to author native applications with web technologies and get access to APIs and app stores

One of the awesome things about Phonegap is the extensibility with plugins caused by the nature of open source. Even though the built-in features of Phonegap already are very well-engineered, there are some cases in which you have to write your own plugin in order to achieve the functionality you want.

For example, the camera-API doesn’t offer the ability to check, whether the device contains a camera. In a project I’m currently working on the user can take a picture, but what if he’s using an older iPod touch or an iPad 1? In this case I’d like to hide the “Take a picture” button and instead only display a “Choose from library” button, as you probably know it from other iOS apps.

It’s very easy to test this in Objective-C:

bool hascamera = [UIImagePickerController isSourceTypeAvailable:UIImagePickerControllerSourceTypeCamera];

But it’s some extra effort to make this available in Phonegap. I’ll be posting the .h and .m files, which you have to put inside your Plugins-directory and the .js file which you’ll be importing in your HTML-page (therefore you have to put it in the www-directory). For more information on how to install plugins in Phonegap for iOS, see

Here’s a quick demo of how to use it:

window.plugins.CameraAvailable.hasCamera(function(result) {
	if(result.available) {
		var buttons = ["Take Photo", "Choose From Library", "Cancel"];
	} else {
		var buttons = ["Choose From Library", "Cancel"];

And here’s the code: