Google working on camera battery drain bug in Android 4.4.2; new details and quick fixes



In case you haven’t heard, there’s a nasty bug plaguing those who are running Android 4.4.2. According to this lengthy issue tracker over at Google Code for issue #60058, a process called mm-qcamera-daemon — one of the processes controlling a device’s camera — can erroneously begin using up to 50% of your CPU’s power at any given time, and can also cause overheating issues. This directly affects battery life, with many users reporting that their devices’ run time is being cut by a significant amount of time whenever this bug rears its ugly head.

Thankfully Google has recently acknowledged the bug and says they are looking into a fix. The bug doesn’t affect everyone 100% of the time, but one quick fix they’ve suggested is to simply reset the device — this should temporarily clear up any issues.

Google also noticed that the latest versions of Skype has the tendency to randomly and periodically call on this process even when the app isn’t in use, something that could trigger the bug more often than usual. Google suggests uninstalling Skype in the meantime, though that’s obviously not a suitable “fix” for those who use the app on a daily basis.

Some users have been able to steer clear of the bug by simply rebooting their device before bed every night, though we’re sure they wouldn’t mind Google getting a move on providing an official fix before too long.

Unfortunately there’s no timeline for when they’ll get an upgrade out, but they have listed it as a high priority issue and are likely doing everything they can to get the fix out to everyone. They say they’ll likely need significant time for testing this and other bugs, and we’re sure they’re not dragging their feet considering how many different reports they’ve gotten.

Another unfortunate detail is that Google can only promise that the bug will be addressed for Nexus devices. Any other device with Qualcomm-based camera processing chips will need to be addressed by their specific manufacturers, as not all of the devices use the same methods and code for their camera (despite them all using the same chip and process).

So if you’re noticing this bug on your non-Nexus device, do yourself and others a favor and report it to the support team of your OEM. As for Nexus device owners, Google says they’re confident they’ve identified and fixed the bug, so no further reports are needed.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Come on Verizon Moto X :)

    1. no come on, better not using Skype:

      “Skype’s Suspicious Absence From Microsoft’s Anti-NSA Promises”

      probably the NSA reason, no wonder

      never trust a word comes from Microsoft

  2. i noticed a huge difference on battery life after receiving my 4.4update. My Note 3 does not last a day now. Lets hope they release the fix soon!

    1. That sucks. Maybe that’s why AT&T is waiting for the push.

  3. Yikes…Just means the bug is going to live in all other Custom Skinned Android devices for even longer…

  4. I noticed this on my Note 3 after the update, but read somewhere that having a link to the camera on the home screen seems to trigger the bug. As soon as I removed the link, the process stopped appearing, and the battery drain went back to normal.

  5. Was kind of excited about finally getting this on my Nexus 5 yesterday (was feeling left out). Phone got really warm towards the top (by the camera) and then my battery drained SUPER quick. Reboot fixed it and I haven’t seen it since. This sounds like a pretty big bug for Google not to address ASAP.

    The good news? Since this seems to be affecting other Snapdragon devices, I wonder if this will force OEMs to update to Android 4.4.3? ;)

  6. Hey Google…

    If your endorsed temporary patch is for the user to reboot the phone, why don’t you, oh… I don’t know- maybe include the reinstatement of the “restart” option in the power menu with the next update? Maybe a crazy idea…

    1. Yea sure, because having to push the power button again after you hit the “power off” option is just too darn difficult.

      1. Sometimes I mean to reboot, but go grab a sandwich or something and forget to power my phone back on. I know, #firstworldproblems :/

  7. I wonder if thats what cause my phone to drain today ?? :-(

    1. Coulda been the 6 hours of Flappy Bird as well. lol

  8. but has anyone else been experiencing their active display on MOTO X not working? along with it, touchless controls havent worked well since update either.

    1. Yes, but that is not due to the 4.4.2 update. It’s due to a recent active display app update (that coincidentally came right around the time i got 4.4.2). Uninstalling updates to active display fixes the issue.

  9. My Droid Ultra don’t have that problem. That’s right, I’m still on 4.4 even though the X and the Ultra is the same damn phone.

  10. Amen, let’s get this fixed…I thought I downloaded a rogue app or something!

    1. All third apps that access your camera are essentially rogue apps to cause this problem

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