Cameras are an undeniably vital feature of the modern smartphone.
In fact, they are one of the most frequently-used components- something that seems unlikely to change in the foreseeable future!
Cameras are of course used to take pictures, videos, and more recently to unlock a device using facial recognition technology.
We don’t usually think much about a phone’s camera since it does what it has to do. However, the camera doesn’t always work the way it should.
Several people have found that their phones’ cameras have the tendency to stop working for unknown reasons.
One of the most common messages is that another application is using the camera- despite that not appearing to be the case!
This usually means that there’s an error with the app data, which can be solved without much trouble.
In rare instances, it could also mean that the phone camera has been hacked and is being controlled by an external party (which is obviously a much more serious problem).
Smartphones and cameras go hand in hand.
The latest devices have multiple cameras (front and rear) that allow you to take amazing pictures, videos, selfies, and even ‘groupfies’.
We use the cameras daily for video calls, conferences, live streaming on social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube, and so much more.
The possibilities are virtually endless.
Imagine you want to video-call someone and you open your preferred app for communication with your friends or family.
However, instead of connecting the call, your phone displays a strange message.
It says that the camera is being used by another app!
You check for any open apps on the phone and realize that no other app is active or using the camera at that time. You try again and again, but get the same message.
What does it mean?
Is your phone not allowing you to access the camera?
Does your phone repeatedly show the same message that another application is using the camera?
If the answer’s yes, continue reading to find out why this is happening- as well as how you can prevent it.
Generally speaking, the error message implies that the phone’s camera is currently active in one app and cannot be used by another.
For example, if you swipe right on Instagram, you’ll open the camera.
In this case, if you suddenly receive a video call or want to use the camera to take a picture, you must first close the camera on Instagram in order to access it again.
That said, there are times when the message is displayed even when there is no other app using the camera (at least no other app that you can see).
So why is the message displayed?
In most instances, this happens due to corrupt data and app errors.
While we don’t know the definitive reason for apps to suddenly become corrupted, we do know that it happens more often than we’d like.
Isn’t it annoying when the camera doesn’t open when you need to use it? Just imagine not being able to capture a perfect moment as it happens.
Luckily, you can get rid of the message and the issue quite easily on your own.
We’ve listed a few tips in the next section to help you deal with possibly corrupted phone cameras. However, you may also need to consider taking it to an expert if all the methods fail.
Sometimes, it could be a complex technical (and hardware) problem that requires a trained technician to check the internal components and to ensure that the camera unit is working well.
It’s also important to cross-check that your phone has not been compromised or hacked.
Malicious apps, spyware, and viruses are able to take control of a phone’s camera, use it to record your movements, and send them to remote locations.
If you have reason to believe that this is the case, immediately delete any suspicious apps from your phone and run an antivirus scan!
One way to discover if an app is using your camera is by checking the app settings.
We regularly give permissions to third-party apps when downloading them. The problem is that many of us don’t thoroughly check what permissions the apps require!
We simply accept the requests and start using the app. This could be a serious problem if we unknowingly download dubious apps with malicious intent.
If you suspect this, follow these steps below:
- Go to Settings and select Apps.
- Then, select Notifications and App Permissions.
- Tap the Camera and scroll through the list of apps that have permission to use the app.
- The toggle beside the app names will be active if they have permission. Swipe the toggle to the other side to deny the permission for apps that don’t need the camera.
For example, it makes sense that video calling and social media apps require access to the camera; writing apps generally don’t!
The easiest way to eliminate minor glitches and errors is by restarting the phone.
Simply turn off the device for a couple of minutes and then turn it back on.
Any data stuck in a loop will be automatically deleted. The temporary cache will also be cleared so that the phone can work properly again.
Check for any apps that are currently running on the phone. Close them to clear RAM and free up space for the camera app to function.
A system bug could be preventing the camera from opening.
Reboot the phone in Safe Mode and try to access the camera. If it works without any issue, it means that there was a bug or app on your phone that was causing the error.
Go to Settings -> Apps -> Camera and clear the app data.
The cache will be cleared of any minor errors that are preventing the camera from being used. The camera may not function properly if the cache is full!
Many third-party apps ask permission to access the camera. Go to Settings -> Apps -> Notifications -> App Permissions -> Camera.
Check which apps have permission to use the camera. Turn off permissions for other apps except for the one you want to use.
Do you have any third-party camera apps (like Snapchat) installed on the phone?
External apps control the camera and can cause trouble at the most unexpected times. Simply delete such apps and use the default camera on your phone.
When did you last upgrade the software on your phone?
Go to Settings and check for a system update. If there are any pending updates, install these immediately! A mismatch in the software can potentially affect the camera.
If none of the above hacks work, try a factory reset. Be sure to back up any important data before you do this.
If the camera doesn’t work even after the factory reset, take it to a professional technician!
“My phone says the camera is being used by another application.”
Are you also facing a similar situation?
Unfortunately, this is a common issue in both Android and iOS smartphones. In fact, it is equally common in Windows phones too!
A common reason for the phone to incorrectly display this message is data corruption.
Other common reasons include (but are not limited to):
- Minor glitches that can be fixed by turning off the phone and rebooting it;
- Full camera cache data that has to be cleared to get the camera working properly again;
- The camera has stopped working temporarily and must be force-stopped and restarted;
- Third-party camera apps that may be deleted; and
- Other apps that don’t require camera use but have the permissions enabled.
You may find that some of these are the cause of corrupted camera data.
Once you clear the problem, the camera will function normally again! However, don’t hesitate to contact a technician if the problem persists.
Don’t forget to perform an antivirus scan periodically to detect malware and spyware as well.
Once the root cause has been addressed and resolved, you can go back to taking as many selfies as you want!