Yikes! Pixel 3 Users Reporting Fatal Camera Bug

Google's Pixel 3 has a major new bug that's stopping people from being able to use its camera.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

According to Pixel 3 owners on the Reddit and Google product forums, when people are opening the Camera app on their headsets, they're finding a black viewfinder.

A warning message also appears that says there's been a "Camera error" and the "camera driver encountered a fatal error." Users have the option of either reporting it to Google or dismissing the notification. But either way, the camera doesn't work, according to Plugged, which earlier reported on the flaw.

In a bid to find a way to get the camera to work, some users tried to access it through third-party apps. But again, it didn't work. According to Charged's Owen Williams, who investigated the problem, it appears that the Pixel 3's software believes the camera is already being used by another app.

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"I dug into this for quite a while, siphoning through logs and poking around in the camera API, and it appears to be related to the system not correctly releasing a lock on the camera device, causing other apps to assume that it’s in use, and crash," he said. "Usually, this is forced to release, however, in this case, it appears that a firmware flag or other change causes the system to be unable to release the lock at all."

Credit: Plugged

(Image credit: Plugged)

According to Plugged, a variety of Pixel 3 owners tried to reboot the handset, clear cache, and even factory reset their phones. But none of those attempts proved to fix the problem.

Google has yet to publicly address the problem. But considering the Pixel 3's chief selling point is its high-quality camera, the issue can't sit well with the company or its users.

That said, it appears that the problem is a software one and has nothing to do with the hardware. And software problems can be fixed in a software update. It's unknown whether Google is working on a software update now, but if so, look for it to be available somewhat soon.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.