13 Ways to Fix It When the Camera Isn't Working on an Android Phone

If closing and reopening the app doesn't help, make sure the 'Camera access' toggle is turned on

You can fix your Android camera yourself if the Camera app keeps crashing, won't open at all, or the app is just black. We'll also tackle what to do if it's too slow to take pictures reliably, or if it's simply not working like you know it should. This article is also relevant for apps that use the camera, like Snapchat, TikTok, etc.

Why the Camera Isn't Working on Android

Many things could be the cause for a laggy, broken, or blurry camera, including the following:

  • There's a temporary problem with the app or an unresolved bug
  • Camera access is disabled
  • The app hasn't been given permission to use the camera
  • The physical camera hardware is damaged

The camera isn't involved in taking screenshots. If you're having trouble capturing your screen, we have a specific article for that: Android Screenshots Not Working? Try These Fixes.

How to Fix It When the Android Camera Isn't Working

Follow these steps in the order they're given below, which starts off with the easier and more relevant solutions first.

  1. Close the Camera app (or whatever app is having camera troubles) by swiping it off the screen.

    If that didn't help, long-press the app, tap the small info button , and then select Force stop > OK.

    Steps highlighted to force stop the camera app on an Android phone.
  2. Turn on the Camera access tile. This is accessible when you swipe down from the top of the screen. It's next to other toggles for the internet, Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, etc.

    If it's toggled on, it'll be highlighted, like in the third photo below. When it's toggled off, any app that attempts to use the camera will just show a black screen.

    Toggling the Camera access tile in the Quick Settings menu on an Android phone.

    Edit the Quick Settings menu if you don't see the tile.

  3. Update the app that's having problems. Assuming an update is available, head over to the Play Store on your phone, and install any app updates, specifically for the Camera app and any other app struggling to use the camera properly.

  4. Close any other app that might be using the camera. For example, if you were using the camera in Messages or Snapchat, you could run into problems if you then try to take a video for TikTok.

  5. Reboot your device. Closing apps should have been enough to close out any lingering camera access, but if there's a deeper problem at play, a simple restart of your device should clear out any software conflicts and give you normal access to the camera.

  6. Check app permissions. The Camera app itself needs access to the camera, and so too does any other app that wants to use it. Camera access must be set up for every app that wants it, or you'll run into issues when it's time to take a picture or video.

  7. Clear the app cache. Do this for whatever app is having issues, be it Camera, Snapchat, etc.

  8. Delete the app, and then install it again. We've seen this work when clearing the cache didn't help.

  9. Update the Android OS, if one is available. The fix for a big bug with the camera could be pending in an operating system update.

  10. Set your phone aside and let it cool down. It's possible for excessive heat to be causing camera issues.

  11. Gently tap the camera, or firmly strike the back of the phone a few times. This has worked for some people, but it's not a long-term solution because it points to a deeper issue with the hardware. This is a pretty rare solution.

  12. Factory reset your phone. Any software-related issues should be resolved after a factory reset.

    This is a drastic step. It will erase everything on your phone and restore the software to the same state it'd be in if you had just purchased the phone new. So make sure to back up your Android phone.

  13. Replace the camera sensors. In our research, some Android users' camera issues are caused by damage to the physical camera sensors, in which case a software reset is simply not enough to fix it.

    If you have a Pixel phone, check out Google's Get Your Pixel Phone Repaired page.

Other Camera Troubleshooting Guides

If you're still having problems with the camera, you might have better luck following a more specific article:

  • How do I turn off the Top Shot feature?

    Open the Camera app, and then go to Photo mode > tap Settings icon > tap the off icon next to Top Shot. This is feature is similar to the iPhone's Live Photo feature. We explain more about Top Shot in our How to Turn Off Motion Photo on Android article.

  • How do I flip the camera in Snapchat for Android?

    The camera-switching option is in the upper-right corner of the Snapchat app when you're taking a picture or video. It looks like a rectangle made of two arrows pointing clockwise.

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