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Chromebook update is breaking cameras — what you need to know

Laptop computer displaying logo of Google Chrome, a cross-platform web browser developed by Google.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Chromebooks around the world seem to be intermittently experiencing camera issues after updating the operating system. If that's been happening to you recently, don't worry — you're not alone, and Google is working on a fix.

In fact, by the time you read this, the problem may have been addressed. A Google representative responded to a similar complaint on Reddit (opens in new tab) Tuesday (April 5) with a message thanking Chromebook users for the reports and stating Google expects to roll out a fix some time this week.

"Our team anticipates that the fix will be available later this week with a software update and is not related to your device," the Google rep wrote, suggesting the issue lies within Chrome OS itself. "We will share an update on this thread once the fix has rolled out."

According to a report (opens in new tab) from About Chromebooks, there are at least four Chrome OS bug reports complaining about camera issues, some dating back as far as February. Users report the camera simply won't work, displaying a black screen in apps like Zoom. 

The problem has been reported on multiple models of Chromebook, but the most popular one seems to be the Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook, which is mentioned in at least half a dozen complaints and bug reports.

"I have 15 Duet 5 Chromebooks in service at work and all of them had the camera fail with the latest update," reads a comment (opens in new tab) on one such report. "A fix would be greatly appreciated."

Another commenter claims to have started experiencing camera troubles on a Chromebook running Chrome OS version 100 on the Beta Channel, and the problem persisted even after the Chromebook was updated again to Chrome OS 101 on the Beta Channel.

So if your Chromebook is due for an OS update, you might want to hold off until we know this issue is resolved. The team at About Chromebooks have been putting in work to catalog all the different Chromebook models that have reportedly experienced this issue, and it's a pretty broad list. Here's all the models they've seen this issue reported on so far:

We'll update this story as we hear more details about which models are affected and when the fix is released, so stay tuned!

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. He currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.