[UPDATED] Pixel 3's Camera Triggering "Fatal Error" In Third-Party Apps

UPDATE: it seems like this is the same issue that we spotted and wrote about three weeks ago, so it's not new at all, but Google still hasn't reacted to it.

The Google Pixel 3 & Pixel 3 XL seems to be facing yet another bug, this time around it’s camera-related. It seems like some users are having issues using the Pixel 3’s camera in third-party applications, as they’re getting an error which disables the camera completely… until you actually reboot the device. To make things worse, the stock camera also becomes completely unusable until you reboot the device. Now, it seems like not all units are having this problem, as already mentioned, as we’re not experiencing such issues at the moment, we’ve tried to reproduce it on both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. You can test this yourself, if you want, of course, all you have to do is open an app that uses your phone’s camera, like Snapchat, for example, and try taking a photo. If an error pops up while you do it (like the one shown in a tweet down below), you’re having issues, and chances are you will have to reboot your device in order to get access to the camera in general. It is possible you’ll get either “Can’t connect to the camera” or “The camera device encountered a fatal error” message. If you encountered this error once, chances are it will repeat every time you try using the Pixel 3 (XL)’s camera in a third-party app, and it would be best if you completely ban third-party apps from using the camera until Google resolves this. Some people even tried factory resetting the device, but that did not help at all.

Now, it seems like the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL users are not the only ones who are facing this problem, if reports are to be believed, some Pixel 2 XL units are also affected. Several people reported such issues with the original Pixel lineup as well, so it seems like the issue is not exclusive to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. It seems like BuzzFeed News bureau chief, Mat Honan, had some issues with his personal Pixel 3 unit, which actually made him update the site’s review of the device. Google is expected to tend to this issue in the near future, but the company still did not respond to these reports.

Background: The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL seem to be plagued by various errors ever since they got announced earlier this year. The Pixel 3 XL started growing a second display notch due to a bug, as if the one it has was not enough. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL also had issues with slow wireless charging even though the display indicated that they’re charging fast, though that’s one issue that Google resolved. Ambient notifications are broken on some Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL units, though Google said that the fix for this is coming, same goes for the second notch on the Pixel 3 XL. The company also confirmed that fixes are coming for the memory management problems, and for the buzzing in the Pixel 3 XL speaker. Some Pixel 3 XL units are experiencing some sort of clicking noise during phone calls, and that is something Google still did not comment on. Furthermore, some Pixel 3 units are having issues with disappearing messages in the ‘Messages’ app by Google, though that issue may be related to the app itself, not the device, even though reports regarding it surfaced only for Pixel 3 (XL) units… so, who knows, but Google still did not comment on it. As you can see, there are a lot of bugs that are plaguing the Pixel 3 units, though there were more which got fixed via updates.

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are Google’s flagship smartphones, both of these devices were introduced last month, and have become available earlier this month. The two devices are quite similar on the outside, save for one detail, the Pixel 3 does not have a display notch, while the Pixel 3 XL does, and a rather large one. Despite all of those bugs, these two devices are quite compelling, as they have a lot of positives as well. The two devices feature front-facing stereo speakers, while they have rather capable cameras as well. Both devices have a single camera on the back, but thanks to Google’s algorithms, that camera is capable of taking some really nice images, even in low light, thanks to the company’s “Night Sight” mode. Both phones are fueled by the Snapdragon 845 SoC, while both of them ship with Android 9 Pie out of the box. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL also come with a rear-facing fingerprint scanner, while the two devices are IP68 certified for water and dust resistance. The two phones are made out of metal and glass, though it's mostly metal, with a small glass panel included on the back. If you’d like to know more about them, check out our review.

Impact: The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are plagued with bugs, that much is pretty obvious at this point, though it seems like Google is committed to fixing those bugs as soon as possible. The company already responded to a number of bug reports, and a good portion of the bugs that affected the two phones are already fixed, even though the list of unfixed ones is still rather long. Truth be said, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL did not leave the best first impression due to so many problems, but once the company gets a handle on several major bugs that need attending, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL units will leave a much better impression, that’s for sure. It is worth noting that not all bugs are affecting all Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL units, quite the contrary, so it’s even possible that you did not experience a single bug that we’ve mentioned in this article, or a single bug in general, in which case your opinion when it comes to both of these phones is probably considerably different. It remains to be seen how long will it take Google to fix the phone’s memory management issues, phantom notch appearances, and this rather annoying bug with third-party apps and the phone’s camera.

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About the Author

Kristijan Lucic

Assistant Editor
Kristijan has been writing for Android Headlines since 2014 and is an editor for the site. He has worked as a writer for several outlets before joining Android Headlines, and has a background in writing about Android and technology in general. He is a smartphone enthusiast that specializes in Android applications, and that platform in general. Contact him at Kristijan. [email protected]