Google explains why Third-party Apps can only use the System camera App(s) in Android 11!

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It’s the buzz news in Android 11 that it will restrict third party camera apps like our popular Google Camera ports! But it ain’t true.

The truth is, Google will be restricting third-party apps to use only the built-in system camera app.

I will repeat this! Any third-party app, that want to access the camera to capture an image, will only be able to use the system’s built-in camera, even if there are other camera apps installed on the phone.

Let me explain!
Let’s say you are using some app (which is a third party app) and it allows you to capture an image to let’s say set as the profile picture. If that app does not have it’s own built camera then it replies on a pre-installed camera to capture the image, right?

In this case, if the app is running on Android 11, it can only access the built-in system camera app. It won’t be able to access any other camera apps even if some are installed.

Initially, the news was reported by Android Police, that the Android 11 will limit the camera picker option. According to this, third-party apps which doesn’t have in-built camera facilities can access only the default camera apps. That said, users can’t use their favorite camera app in these third-party apps. This is what it reads according to Google’s documentation.

You can’t access third-party camera apps in Android 11!

Starting in Android 11, only pre-installed system camera apps respond to the intent actions sent by the following implicit intents:

Interestingly, if you have more than a single system-app, you will be asked to select the one which you prefer.

So, How to Chose a Third Party Camera in Android 11?

There is a way to select third-party camera apps, which is by changing the intent of the app which you prefer. You can either change the package name or change these intents. The reason why Google does this is because of security concerns. We guess that this would not be a major deal-breaker for the latest smartphone users. The camera quality of the phones has improved compared to the old devices.

That said, most people are using the stock camera app by ditching apps like Youcam, Retro, Candy, and many other apps. This is because, the new stock camera app comes with in-built beauty mode, AI, and other kinds of stuff. Apart from this, there is a problem for people who are using Gcam’s. Most of the Gcam users including me have disabled the stock camera app. I did the same because I can access all the features in Gcam which I need. But in Android 11, if you guys disable the stock camera app like what I did, you will not be able to access the camera in third-party apps.

This is the reason which is explained by Google!

This is designed to ensure that the EXIF location metadata is correctly processed based on the location permissions defined within the app sending the intent.

To receive EXIF location metadata from the pre-installed system camera app when using intents that have one of the preceding intent actions, your app must declare ACCESS_MEDIA_LOCATION in addition to the ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION or ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION permission.

Later, The Verge reported that Google has confirmed that this change is to restrict any third app that may steal GPS co-ordinates data from the EXIF metadata of captured images.

This change does not affect the following:

  • User’s capability to install and use any other camera app such as a GCam port to capture images or videos directly.
  • A user can set a third party camera app as the default camera app.
  • This change also doesn’t affect intent actions that launch the user-specified default camera app.
  • Users’ will be able to use camera apps built in to other apps like, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc. without any restriction

As I said above, this will not be a problem for most of the users. It might be troublesome for third party camera apps like: Footej Camera, OpenCamera etc. As far as, the Google camera port is concerned, you can use it as it was.

A comment on "Google explains why Third-party Apps can only use the System camera App(s) in Android 11!"

  1. I am unable to change the camera app when loading a link to take photo in Chrome. (In my specific case I need to use another type of APP because I find it more practical and it has the flashlight option on all the time when shooting and I have a limit of 1.8mb in my system to load the photos, but I didn’t notice 1O+ the original photos from the standard samsung camera averages 4mb. ) clicking the link Now opens the choice of the standard samsung camera for photo. Another samsung standard for videos and lastly the files folder to choose. when you talked about changing the intent of the third party camera file what did you mean? how do I do that? (There is a way to select third-party camera apps, which is k changing the intent of the app which you prefer. you can either change the package name or change these intents.)
    Thanks if you have a tip. One ui 3.1. I’m also not able to go back to Android10 because of the changed binary.

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