The best smartphone camera in the world has a crippling bug, Pixel 3 users are reporting

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
  • A bug in Google’s Pixel 3smartphones is causing the camera to become completely unresponsive, some users have reported.
  • Restarting or factory-resetting the device doesn’t seem to fix the issue.
  • Google Support and Pixel Community Managers have confirmed that Google is aware of the issue and that a fix is in development. There’s no official acknowledgement from Google so far when Business Insider reached out for comment.
  • The camera on the Pixel 3 is among the best on any smartphone. It’s one of the three main reasons why people should buy the phone.

Owners of Google’s latest smartphone, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are reporting a crippling issue with their cameras on Google’s Pixel Community Forum and Reddit.

Reports started coming in late October, with some stating that the issue starts when users try to use the camera in another app, like a social media app or a banking app that lets you take photos of checks to deposit them. Then, when they return to the main camera app on the Pixel 3, the camera app shows a blank screen, or a notification pops up within the app saying the camera has experiences a “fatal error.”

This is problematic, especially for the Pixel 3, which has the best camera on any smartphone. Google’s Pixel phone cameras are one of the three main pillars that makes the devices so desirable, including running a “pure” version of Android and receiving Android updates as soon as Google releases them. Most Android phones can’t boast the best camera, best version of an operating system, and receiving timely updates all in one package.

Google Pixel 3Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Pixel 3 users largely said they tried restarting and factory-resetting their devices to no avail, but some said that restarting the phone worked to fix the camera.

The recent November Android update also doesn’t seem to have fixed the issue, and some suspect that it may even have caused the issue to occur.

Some users have been able to get replacement devices from Google, while others haven’t. For those who have received replacement devices, the camera issue hasn’t returned.

One Pixel Community forum member said Google refused a device replacement when they cited the error code, and that the issue will be “fixed soon,” which suggests it’s a software bug rather than hardware related.

Community managers in Google’s Pixel Community Forum have acknowledged that Google is aware of the issue, and some users have reported that Google support has also acknowledged the issue and that a fix is in development. Business Insider requested comment and tips for users affected by the issue from Google, but did not hear back immediately.

Google’s Pixel 3 has been plagued with bugs since its launch in October, including bugs that made photos and text messages disappear, as well as a bug that prematurely closed apps running in the background.

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