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


Android 11 Easter egg 4

Android 11 Easter egg 4

Credit: Joe Hindy / Android Authority

  • Android 11 is removing the camera picker, so third-party apps will have to use the built-in camera app.
  • Google says it’s in the name of location privacy.
  • Developers will have to manually add third-party camera links for them to work.

Update: August 21, 2020 (2 AM ET): Google has clarified a few things about how it’s limiting third-party camera apps in Android 11. According to The Verge, the company is concerned about apps that may ask for photos just to track your location. The pictures you take are sometimes geotagged with your location coordinates and a non-camera app could steal that information from a third-party camera app, even if you did not give the non-camera app location permission to begin with.

Google will only force you to use your phone’s default camera app when you’re using an app that doesn’t already have a camera baked in and needs to access your phone’s camera. So if you’re using an app like Instagram, you will still be able to use its camera. You can also continue using third-party camera apps directly and double-tap your power button to launch the camera app of your choice.

Original article: August 19, 2020 (1:17 AM ET): 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.

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Brian Jones

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