System-wide camera errors are rare and they usually appear in third-party apps. Also, they are commonly just temporary glitches. However, some users have run into the “Camera is being used by another application” whenever they open the camera app or try to access the camera in a myriad of third-party apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.
If you are getting the same or similar error, make sure to check the steps we listed below.
Table of contents:
- Restart your device
- Close all other apps
- Boot into Safe mode
- Reinstall the affected app
- Reset your device to factory settings
How do you fix the “Camera is being used by another application” error?
If you get the Camera is being used by another application error on your Android phone, you can usually fix it with these solutions:
- Restart your phone.
- Close other apps that might be using the camera.
- Boot into safe mode and uninstall apps that might be using the camera in the background.
- Reset your Android to factory settings.
1. Restart your device
The first thing you should do is restart your device. Rebooting the system from time to time is recommended and necessary whenever apps (or the system itself) are plagued by bugs and errors.
And the best thing about it is that it usually sorts things so additional and in-depth troubleshooting is not required. Also, make sure to keep your device up to date. Navigate to Settings > System > Software update and check for updates. This error might occur because of a system bug and, due to its gravity, we assume that the OEM fixed it or is working on a fix.
2. Close all other apps
Another thing you can do is close all other background apps. Just swipe from the bottom (or tap Recents at the bottom) to bring to the Recent apps screen and tap Close all.
Open the app where you were getting the Camera being used by another app error and give it another try. If you’re still getting the error, move to the next troubleshooting step.
3. Boot into Safe mode
When errors like this occur, we usually suspect it has something to do with a system bug or with a rogue app that hijacks the camera while working in the background.
The best way to find out if the latter is the case is to boot your device into Safe mode. If you are interested, learn more about Android Safe mode, here. If the camera is working as intended in Safe mode, we suggest uninstalling all camera-related apps you recently installed.
Here’s how to boot into Safe mode on your Android:
- Press and hold the Power button until the Power menu appears.
- Tap and hold on to the Power off icon until the pop-up appears. It should inform you about the safe mode and offer options to enter the Safe mode or cancel the action.
- Tap OK to boot into the Safe mode.
- Open the Camera app and test it out.
- To boot back into standard Android, just restart your device.
If the issue persists even in the Safe mode, reinstalling the affected app is an obvious next step.
4. Reinstall the affected app
The next step we can recommend is reinstalling the affected app. Whether that’s an app that has some camera features or the default Camera app, there’s a way to reset it. You can’t reinstall built-in essential apps like Camera but you can uninstall its updates.
To reinstall third-party apps that rely on the camera, open the Play Store. Look for the app, expand it and tap Uninstall. After that, restart your handset, get back to Play Store and reinstall the app.
To reset the Camera app (or other built-in apps), follow these steps:
- Open Settings.
- Tap Apps.
- Expand all apps and select Camera.
- Tap on the 3-dot menu and select Uninstall updates.
- Restart your Android and look for improvements.
If you still get the “Camera is being used by another application” error, we can only suggest resetting your device to factory settings.
5. Reset your device to factory settings
Finally, if none of the previous steps worked for you, we can only recommend resetting your device to factory settings. You can learn everything there is to know about the procedure, here. An important thing to remember is to back up everything before following through with the reset.
Here’s how to perform a factory reset on Android:
And, on that note, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and feel free to share your thoughts, questions, or suggestions with us. The easiest way to do so is in the comments section below.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2021. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.