I was struck by the Pixel camera curse

I beloved my Pixel camera — till it went berserk on me at the most inopportune time.

I was struck by the Pixel camera curse, like so many others who’ve shared their tales of woe on message boards and inside app reviews. All of us purchased Pixels due to the hyped camera tech, after which hated Google due to its camera fails — and the tech big’s reluctance to publicly admit to a widespread situation.

The curse unfurls like this: Your camera works nice one second, however the subsequent time you attempt to take an image, the camera app crashes. You attempt once more and get a pop-up that claims “One thing went improper / Shut and open the Camera app and check out once more.” Besides closing and opening the app does not do something. Neither does drive quitting. Neither does restarting your cellphone. Neither does manufacturing unit resetting your cellphone. You may typically get the entrance camera to work to take a selfie, however the error message taunts you on display screen as you snap your unhappy face. (You may see me pout in the nook of my cellphone beneath; it was the final selfie I took on my Pixel.) Some adventurous tinkerers have taped a magnet subsequent to the rear camera, which appears to repair the situation typically, however they then need to stay with an unpleasant magnet taped to the again of their cellphone. Not ideally suited.

The "Something went wrong" error message taunts me whenever I try to use the camera app on my Pixel 2.

The “One thing went improper” error message taunts me every time I attempt to use the camera app on my Pixel 2.
Credit score: Brittany Levine Beckman / mashable

This camera curse has bothered Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3XL, Pixel 4, and Pixel 4a homeowners, in keeping with on-line feedback. Preliminary stories of camera crashes seem to have surfaced in 2019 and the complaints proceed to today, with annoyed customers taking to the camera app’s assessment part to vent. The most recent upset buyer posted a one-star review on June 23: “I cannot use my rear dealing with camera. Please repair!! My cellphone is 6 months previous and I’m undoubtedly feeling annoyed with my selection as a result of an enormous cause I obtained my Google pixel 4a was for the camera.” The camera app for the machine that is been hailed as one of the best camera phones of the yr currently has 3 stars out of 5.

Whether or not the downside is because of a software program or {hardware} situation — or a software program situation that induced a {hardware} situation by overheating the cellphone like some armchair specialists conjecture — has been debated on-line since folks began carping about the curse. Google claims there aren’t any recognized app or working system software program points inflicting Pixel cameras to go on the fritz. As a substitute, Google tells Mashable the downside may very well be as a result of put on and tear or drops over time.

However that reasoning is not as much as snuff for patrons, a few of whom had their cameras crash as quickly as a month after they purchased a Pixel. For others like me, the malediction descends upon you after a yr or two. (And my cellphone does not have a scratch on it.)

These fortunate to have encountered the curse lower than a yr into proudly owning a Pixel have been effectively taken care of. The Pixel’s one-year guarantee means these favored clients simply ship their hexed telephones again to Google and get a free (almost certainly refurbished) substitute. However in case you’re exterior the guarantee window, you are out of luck in the free division. You will get a damaged Pixel repaired by a Google associate. I was given a $120 estimate for a repair, which is twice as a lot as the cellphone is value if I tried to sell it on eBay. A Google customer support rep additionally instructed I may commerce in my cellphone to purchase a brand new one, however the trade-in would get me at most $21. Google says anybody experiencing this situation ought to contact buyer assist for assist, however in my expertise, you will not get far in case you’re looking for a comped substitute out of guarantee.

The estimate I received when I attempted to trade-in my Pixel 2 on Google's website.

The estimate I obtained when I tried to trade-in my Pixel 2 on Google’s web site.
Credit score: Screenshot: Google

The camera on my Pixel 2, which I raved about taking exceptional photos of the Northern Lights in 2019, stopped working whereas I was overlaying the reveal of BMW’s new electric SUV not too long ago. Though I initially purchased my Pixel in 2017, Google has despatched me two replacements over the years after bricking incidents. The primary time my Pixel bricked was proper earlier than I obtained on a flight in 2018; I misplaced all entry to my boarding go info. The second was a yr later in 2019 when I was on trip in Hawaii (no photographs of turtles and sandy seashores for me throughout that journey). The Pixel has cruelly nailed the dramatic timing of its torture. When my camera stopped working in early June, I’d had the cellphone for nearly two years.

Mashable Image

Sadath Ahmed, an engineer in Dubai, was struck by the curse seven months after his guarantee on his Pixel 2 XL ended. He purchased the new cellphone in 2019 and a yr and a half later, when he was making an attempt to take an image of the sundown, the camera app crashed. He explains in a Reddit DM that he obtained the similar black display screen I skilled after the first crash. He tried the magnet hack, however after a number of days the trick misplaced its magic. Any photographs he took have been blurry till the camera simply stopped working as soon as once more. He used his camera-less cellphone for 4 months after which purchased a used Pixel 2 for $50 as a brief stopgap. He is eyeing an iPhone for his subsequent buy, however for now, the used cellphone will get him via the day.

“I suppose they need to first acknowledge that there’s a widespread situation and assist clients get the camera mounted,” says Ahmed about what he considers an applicable response from Google.

Muhammad Irtaza, an engineering pupil in Pakistan and one other cursed Pixel proprietor, agrees.

“Google fails to acknowledge this situation which is, in easy phrases, pathetic for an organization as large as this.”

“There are dozens of articles and posts on Reddit, the Google assist web site, and numerous different boards, but Google fails to acknowledge this situation which is, in easy phrases, pathetic for an organization as large as this,” Irtaza writes in a Reddit message.

The camera crashed on his used Pixel 3 5 months after he purchased it, whereas he was snapping a pic of an indoor plant. He additionally tried the magnet trick, however its enchantment lasted just some seconds earlier than the camera crashed once more. He says the camera issues vanished after he up to date to the latest Android 12 Beta. He reverted again to Android 11, Google’s present cell working system, a number of weeks later and the camera was nonetheless functioning correctly.

“Nevertheless it makes the cellphone overheat like loopy. I cannot go away the camera on for greater than 5 minutes,” he provides. So he purchased a brand new Pixel 4XL, which he says has been “phenomenal.”

“This has considerably restored my religion in the Pixel line, however I can not and won’t advocate the Pixel to any of my family and friends since I’ve examine the Pixel 4 battery issues as effectively. I haven’t got these issues, fortunately, however I imagine it is only a matter of luck,” he provides.


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I used to inform everybody who complained about their iPhone to get a Pixel. I trumpeted the Pixel line to considered one of my oldest mates who obtained a Pixel a number of years in the past. Whereas she hasn’t skilled the camera situation, she has had different complications, like display screen glitches. But she nonetheless caught with Google, transferring on to the Pixel 4a and now the Pixel 5, principally due to the camera’s acuity (and all the pre-installed G Suite apps.)

Earlier than the camera crash, my cellphone’s battery life was dwindling. I’d need to cost it each 5 hours or so, which wasn’t an enormous deal due to quick charging and being caught at house not removed from an outlet throughout the pandemic. To be honest, a limp battery appears to be par for the course after proudly owning any cellphone for a yr or two. I ditched my iPhone 6S and purchased the Pixel 2 as a result of the iPhone’s battery life was laughable two years in, and this was earlier than Apple set a temporary $29 fee for battery replacements on the 6S (it now costs $49).

After a number of days of steaming over my cursed Pixel camera, I was lured by Apple’s sorcery and purchased a vivid crimson iPhone 12 mini.

It takes very good photographs.

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