Pixel 3 bug disables the phone's camera

The flaw effectively neuters one of Google's selling points.

Pixel 3 owners are dealing with another software glitch, and this one could prove to be a showstopper for some. Owners on Google's forums, Reddit and elsewhere (including an Engadget staff family member) report a flaw that prevents them from using the Pixel 3's official camera app. Some get a "fatal error" message when they use the camera app, while others will get a "can't connect to camera" message in a third-party app and lose access from then onward. Rebooting only temporarily fixes the issue, and it can occur even if you've factory-reset the phone or are using Safe Mode.

It's not certain what's causing the problem. Charged inspected the camera code and believes it might stem from Android not properly releasing a lock on the camera, leading other apps to think it's still in use and prompting a crash.

We've asked Google if it can comment on the reports. Support representatives haven't made it clear as to whether or not there will be a fix, though, and some owners said they were denied replacement units. Whatever the solution, it's a serious issue -- for all intents and purposes, this effectively renders the Pixel 3's signature feature useless. It could also frustrate early Pixel 3 buyers who've had to contend with multiple noticeable bugs virtually from the get-go.