Google Pixel 3 Users Say the Phone’s Best Feature is Borked Again

Users say the Pixel 3 camera is borked...again
Users say the Pixel 3 camera is borked...again
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

There’s no doubting the Pixel 3 has one of the best cameras out there. There’s also no denying it’s been beset by bugs since Google released it last month. Now, Pixel 3 owners say a yet another bug has the device serving up ‘fatal errors’ when they use the camera, and the issue apparently appears both in the main camera and through third-party apps.


In lengthy threads on Reddit and Google’s Product Forums, several users have described their Pixel 3 cameras quitting on them after trying to use the feature in any third-party app. Since October 22, there have been at least 108 replies to the Google Forum post alone. Users are reporting crashes in photo-heavy social media apps like Instagram, and some say the bug also impacts mobile deposits in banking apps, messaging, and even the flashlight app. Users have screen-capped the Pixel 3 camera simply showing a blank screen, or a message saying the camera encountered a “fatal error.”

Rebooting the phone or performing a factory reset seems to solve the problem for some folks, while others say their cameras are still borked. One possible solution cited by users involves revoking third-party camera access. In a statement to BuzzFeed, Google said a fix was coming soon: “We’ve looked into reports of this issue and have identified a fix that will roll out in the coming weeks,” a spokesperson said. We’ve reached out to the company for more info.

When it comes to Pixel 3 bugs, we’ve seen everything from extra notches to disappearing text messages. But these recent reports are worrying, as the Pixel 3's camera is its main selling point. To be clear, the device’s camera quality hasn’t technically changed—as we said last week, we were super impressed with Google’s Night Sight feature. But Google still has work to do to make sure the Pixel 3's best feature stays functional.

Update 5:57pm ET: A Google spokesperson later sent Gizmodo the following statement:

“We’ve seen reports from a small group of customers who have encountered a bug when using Pixel Camera from within third-party apps. A fix will be rolling out in the coming weeks. In the meantime, for people affected, you can use Pixel Camera without limitations and share images to third-party apps.”

[9to5 Google, The Verge]

Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.


At what point do tech bloggers acknowledge that Pixels are developer devices running beta software? This happens every year, ever since the Nexus One, and for Nexus phones it was OK because you got almost a flagship for less than the cost of a contemporary flagship. It’s way harder to swallow the idea of being a beta tester for a full cost flagship.

Google needs to decide what the Pixels should be, and they shouldn’t be pushing bleeding edge updates unless a user opts in. There needs to be two update channels, and a billion dollar investment in Q/A.