Google is making a change in Android 11 that will force apps that want to take photos or video to use the phone’s built-in camera app — even if you’ve made a different camera app, like OpenCamera, your default choice for photos.
We believe it’s the right trade-off to protect the privacy and security of our users, the Android engineering team wrote that apps that call on the camera would need to explicitly name each and every third-party camera app they’d like to support. Now, Google’s giving us the reason: it’s to keep bad actors from potentially harvesting your location.
It’s not a drastic change; many camera features will still work exactly the way they used to. It also mirrors the way the camera works on the iPhone.
And yet, two of the most popular third-party camera app developer says that Google’s move seems like a shame. One is worried it might impact his business by further turning third-party camera apps into second-class citizens.
To understand what’s changing, it would probably help if I first explain what’s staying the same:
- You’ll still be able to open a third-party camera app and use it directly by tapping its icon on your home screen
- You’ll still be able to take pictures with the cameras built into popular apps like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram
- You’ll still be able to double-tap your power button (or similar shortcuts) to launch the camera app of your choice, Google confirms
- Apps will still be able to launch the camera app of your choice, too; they just can’t import any photos or videos that way
The only thing that’s changing: if Android apps want to use your camera app — instead of baking in a camera app of their own — they will now go straight to your phone’s built-in camera app instead of letting you choose.