September 25, 2020

Android 11 will sometimes force you to use the built-in camera app

Google is removing a choice Android users have had for years.

Android 11 Easter egg 4

Credit: Joe Hindy/ Android Authority
  • Android 11 is removing the camera picker, so third-party apps will normally have to use the built-in camera app.
  • Google says it’s in the name of protecting privacy and security.
  • Developers will have to manually add third-party camera links for them to work.

If you’re used to relying on a third-party camera app (or unofficial ports of Google’s camera app) to snap photos for other third-party apps, you’ll be in for a not-so-pleasant surprise when Android 11 arrives.

As Android Police reports, Google has confirmed that it’s dropping the camera picker for third-party apps in the next Android release. Android 11 users will have to rely on the “pre-installed system camera app� whenever a program asks to capture a photo or video. Developers who want to allow third-party cameras will have to explicitly specify alternative apps or their components.

Google explained the move as a bid to “protect the privacy and security of our users.� An attacker could theoretically install a malicious camera app on your phone and invoke it to steal photos or other sensitive info from your apps.

Read more: The best camera apps for Android

It’s not necessarily a dramatic setback. You can usually switch to your preferred app, take a picture, and share it from your photo gallery. That’s still more involved than simply setting a preferred camera app, though, and there may be some circumstances where switching isn’t an option. If your phone’s default camera app is sub-par, you may have no choice but to capture mediocre images.

This might also be an unwelcome change if you’re a veteran Android user. From the start, Android has revolved around flexibility in the apps you use — being forced to use an app in certain situations could feel like a step backward. Google is in a difficult spot where it has to balance mounting security threats against convenience, and that’s bound to cause grief for some users.