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Google presses down on a CPU-overloading camera-related bug in the Nexus 5, possibly other devices

Google presses down on a CPU-overloading camera-related bug in the Nexus 5, possibly other devices

Google's Android developers have been tipped about a software bug which results in abnormally high CPU usage when using the Nexus 5's camera. A developer chimed in on Google's bug tracker, saying that the company has fixes ready for a future maintenance update. He explained that a recent update to Skype makes the app access the camera regularly (in the background) in a way that triggers high CPU usage. This results in battery drain, slowdown, and inability to access the camera app. 

The googler believes that this isn't a bug in Skype itself, and other apps which handle camera data through a specific Android process can also cause the bottleneck. The developer could not provide an estimate for a maintenance update's release. Until it's ready, he suggested rebooting the phone to resolve the problem temporarily. Uninstalling Skype is also a good option, at least for the few of you who can get by without it. 

The programmer also said that the problem might appear in other KitKat-running devices that have the same Qualcomm imaging chip as the Nexus 5, but it will be up to their respective manufacturers to issue fixes due to differences in software.

For reference, here's the full quote from the developer:

Thanks, everyone, for reporting about this problem.

We believe we have fixes for the current high CPU reports on N5 due to mm-qcamera-daemon, and they will be included in the next maintenance update. At this point, we don't need more reports of the problem, with some exceptions I'll detail below.

More details:

We've had scattered reports of persistent high CPU usage of mm-qcamera-daemon since our last maintenance update, and based on those, found a number of bugs that were then fixed.

More recently, there's been a significant increase in the frequency of reported problems. These may be related to a recent update to Skype, which seems to access the camera regularly from its background service in some way that triggers this bug (note, we don't currently believe there's a bug in Skype itself). Investigating this, we've identified a few additional fixes that we hope resolve this issue for good. However, since the high CPU usage is an intermittent problem, we're continuing to test our fixes to verify the problems are gone.

Unfortunately, I can't provide an estimate for when the maintenance update will be ready, due to all the testing we need to do for this and other fixes. Until then, rebooting the phone is the only way to stop the high CPU usage/lack of camera function once it starts.

Uninstalling Skype may substantially reduce the likelihood of this bug appearing, but I realize Skype is a very important application for many people. Other camera-using applications may trigger this bug as well, but that's been relatively rare. Most applications also do not access the camera when not in the foreground, so they will only trigger issues when actively used.

I'd also like to note that instances of high CPU use of mm-qcamera-daemon on other devices besides the N5 need to be reported to their manufacturers - while those devices also use a Qualcomm chip for their camera processing (and thus have a mm-qcamera-daemon process), each has differences in their software and issues with them do not necessarily mean the N5 has the same problem, and vice versa.

If you are seeing high CPU use of mm-qcamera-daemon, and you have not used the camera at all, or installed an application like Skype that has a background service that accesses the camera (typically, applications that provide video chat may do this), we would like to know about it.

Otherwise, for Skype and other typical camera applications, we believe we have fixes identified, and you don't need to add more information to this bug - remember, any note added here will send updates to dozens of people.

source: Google via Android Central

  • Options

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 07:57

1. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2223; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)

I've had the same issue, but it's not worth the update considering that my phone is rooted.

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 10:12

8. Finalflash (Posts: 3492; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)

Doesn't really make a difference if you take the update and install from recovery. The root will be reinjected and your app data should largely still be there. You can also still install it and root again as Google usually doesn't stop rooting on its nexus devices.

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 16:15

16. cheetah2k (Posts: 1739; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)

Just dont use Skype.... Seems to fix the problem :)

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 21:01

20. Professor (Posts: 223; Member since: 02 Aug 2013)

The problem is NOT Skype as they claim because I don't have Skipe or any other camera related program aside from the Google one and my Nexus 4 (with Kit Kat 4.4.2) have that overheating and draining battery problem after I installed Kit Kat.

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 08:02 1

2. google-apple (Posts: 34; Member since: 19 Jul 2013)

I also did post this problem in the discussion section...

Happy that google is coming up with a solution...!!! :)

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 08:38 1

3. PootisMan (Posts: 259; Member since: 02 Aug 2013)

This is not the only bug that needs to be addressed. What about that hissing noise when recording video?

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 11:44

12. kozza3 (Posts: 715; Member since: 17 Oct 2012)


posted on 05 Mar 2014, 09:23

4. Augustine (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)

I did notice this issue. Not only does it hog the CPU and the battery by the "sensors.qcom" module, it also hogs the camera, making it impossible for any other app to open the camera, including the camera app, when one cannot take pictures without rebooting the phone.

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 19:15 1

17. google-apple (Posts: 34; Member since: 19 Jul 2013)

Errors are
a) "Camera error: Can't connect to camera",
b) "Unfortunately, Camera Has Stopped"

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 09:34 2

5. boosook (Posts: 1442; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)

One reason more to uninstall Skype and use Hangouts instead. :)

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 10:06 1

6. Augustine (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)

Unfortunately, Hangouts on Android cannot make international calls to land-lines, though it can on iOS

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 10:06

7. Professor (Posts: 223; Member since: 02 Aug 2013)

FINALLY Google doing something to address the problem I am having with my Nexus 4 since installing Kit Kat 4.4.2. Since installing Kit Kat my phone overheats in the upper part (near the camera) even if the phone is not being use at all. And every time it does that (several times per day) the battery goes from 100% charge to redline in less than 1 hour. I installed a new battery thinking it was the battery going bad but the problem continued. After installing Kit Kat the only way to make the battery last (at least 2 hours stand-by) is by turning off the Wi-Fi and setting almost everything in the phone to work only when and if connected to Wi-Fi.

I don't have Skype or any other photo related programs in my phone. And the ONLY programs installed in my phone aside from the ones that come with Kit Kat are: Tango, Whatsapp, Shazam and Waze. I installed Waze (although never being able to make it work) due to Kit Kat eliminated the Navigation program and the Map program don't work either with the new version installed by Kit Kat (and since it was installed by Kit Kat I cannot go back to the old version that used to work perfectly with 4.2).

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 11:46

13. Scott93274 (Posts: 5348; Member since: 06 Aug 2013)

Well, it looks like the statement I made to you the other day was incorrect. Hopefully all the issue's you're having are addressed right away. One hour of battery life would drive me up the wall.

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 21:40

22. downphoenix (Posts: 3165; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)

Tango is a similar type of app to Skype, I try maybe uninstalling that. Then maybe Whatsapp if that doesnt work. Shazam and Waze wont access the camera, so I doubt they're any trouble.

posted on 06 Mar 2014, 06:37

23. Professor (Posts: 223; Member since: 02 Aug 2013)

Although I have never used I just updated Hangouts just in case this is the one causing the problem. If the phone continues doing this I am going to uninstall Tango to see if this stops the problem.

Everytime this problems pass the phone indicates that is the "Android System" downloading more data in the background than all others applications together. And trying to recharge the phone don't work either unless you reboot the phone because once is overheating (doing this) the phone is draining battery much faster than the charger can supply...

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 10:56 2

9. zekes (Posts: 229; Member since: 14 Aug 2012)

Now I see why the phone is so cheap

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 15:55 1

15. hurrycanger (Posts: 1624; Member since: 01 Dec 2013)

Yep, there are reasons why it's cheap. A lot of corners gotta be cut both in hardware and software (bugs). It's a great phone for performance and pure android experience, but it's not meant to be on par with other flagships like the GS5, GS4, G2, Z2, Z1, or HTC One.
For the price, many people would be fine with it though. It gives people the top performance without the top price.

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 11:24

10. Deaconclgi (Posts: 405; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

May I have 4K recording please? The Snapdragon 800 seems to be under utilized by the camera in the Nexus 5.

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 11:30 2

11. pellegrini (Posts: 84; Member since: 14 Jun 2012)

"These may be related to a recent update to Skype, which seems to access the camera regularly from its background service in some way that triggers this bug"

NSA, is it you? lol

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 12:48

14. SemperFiV12 (Posts: 948; Member since: 09 Nov 2010)

I still carry my Lumia for photos... So don't really use the Nexus 5 camera. But I've used Skype with no problem.

Battery issues are not any worse than before I installed Skype (and other apps).

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 19:29

18. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)

I've not had this issue on any of the four Nexus phones in my house.. Thinking the app changes something is my guess as Skype is not used here at all.

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 20:41

19. flipjzn (Posts: 257; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)

Lucky m I chose the LG G2 :) and I don't have skype on it becoz I prefer its version on my iphone5s :)

posted on 05 Mar 2014, 21:18 1

21. Professor (Posts: 223; Member since: 02 Aug 2013)

The problem maybe related to the camera since that's the area that overheat, but I don't have Skype installed and I have the problem. But definitively the problem started when I upgraded the phone (Nexus 4) to Kit Kat. And the only new program that I have installed after Kit Kat is Waze since Kit Kat eliminated the Navigation program and the version of Maps installed by Kit Kat don't work either (unable to be used to navigate since it is unable to find any address). And all my programs (including Maps) used to work perfectly before "upgrading" to Kit Kat.

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