A new bug in Google Messages leaves your camera running in the background, quickly draining your battery and heating up your device.
Renew: Google has started rolling out a patch for the Messages app.
In the Google Messages app, there’s an easy way to quickly take a photo and instantly attach it to a message and send it to a friend. In the view to attach pictures from your gallery, there is also a live feed from your camera to take a live snapshot of this thumbnail view or you can zoom in for a better view.
In a recent update to the Google Messages app, as seen on one of our devices, as well as being reported on Reddit, a bug in the app sometimes allows this camera feed to work even when it’s not on the screen, even when Messages is in the background. In our experience, this causes battery drain and overheating, as you would expect.
Since there is no visible cause for increased usage, we had to track down the issue using the Android 12 privacy flags for camera and microphone. When the problem occurs, devices running Android 12 indicate that Google Messages is actively using your camera. The easiest way to stop the current issue is to close the app from the Recents view.
Update 22/4: In a statement to EdgeGoogle has confirmed that the cause of this battery drain error has been identified and a permanent fix is now being rolled out to users of the Google Messages app. It’s not clear which version number the fix will include. The latest beta version of Google Messages was released on April 19.
In general, if you’re not using Google Messages viewer, the easiest way to completely stop this problem in the short term is to deny the app permission to use your phone’s camera. To do this on a Pixel phone, long press the Messages app icon on your launcher and tap the info icon. This will take you to the Settings app, where you can tap “Permissions” to manage what Google Messages can do. From there, you’ll want to tap on “Camera” and set the switch to “Don’t Allow.”
If you’re having issues like this on your phone, let us know in the comments, including what phone you’re using and if you signed up for the Google Messages beta update.
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