Fix Camera Busy: Unable to Start Error in Android

Last Updated on March 23, 2018

If your camera has suddenly stopped working with the message “Camera Busy: Unable to Start” error, then this post is for you. When this error shows up, all the camera functionality along with any apps that rely on your phone’s camera will stop working normally. On my old phone, I’ve had this problem for months. And because I had valuable data in its local storage, I was hesitant to mess with it.


Now that I have backed up everything, I tried a few fixes to fix this Camera is Busy: Unable to Start error. After a few trials, I got the camera working. If you too are facing this issue, continue with this post to know about the solution.

By default, Android only allows one app to access the Camera API. Android does this by locking the Camera to the particular app which has requested access to your device’s camera functionality. If you ever try to use the camera from one app and then switch to another app which then also requires Camera access, you’ll get this error.

For the most part, you can fix this issue by the following methods:

  1. Restarting your phone
  2. Look for the apps which use Camera
  3. Clearing camera app’s cache and data
  4. Factory reset your phone

Restarting your phone

Restarting your phone is the easiest and the simplest solution to this problem. If the camera is busy error was genuinely showing up because of more than one app trying to access the camera, you’ll be able to use the camera now.

Hold the power button and wait until the Power menu shows up. Tap on Power OFF (Motorola) or Restart (Samsung) button. After restarting, open the camera to check if it is working correctly now.

Look for the apps which use Camera

For this step, you’ll need to do a bit of work. More specifically, you’ll need to list out the apps installed on your phone which require camera access. You can manually scour the whole list of apps installed on your phone; one by one. OR, you can simply use the Permission Explorer app from Play Store.

Head over to the store and install it on your phone. Open the app and switch to the Permissions tab.

Scroll down a little and look for CAMERA. Tap on it.

You’ll see a list of all the apps installed on your phone which request Camera access. The most common ones are:

  • WhatsApp
  • Uber
  • YouTube
  • Chrome
  • Messenger
  • Camera
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Lite
  • Firefox
  • Google Play Services
  • Google app
  • Hangouts, and
  • Instagram

This list, of course, depends on how many apps you have installed on your phone. Look around for any suspicious and unwanted apps that you don’t use and uninstall them.

Now, try the Camera to see if you still get the Camera Busy: Unable to Start error. If you do this correctly, this error should be gone.

Clearing camera app’s cache and data

All apps store local data on your phone. The camera app too does that. If you regularly get issues with this app, you can try resetting the app by clearing its cache and data.

  • Go to Settings > Application > Application Manager.
  • Look for Camera and tap on it.
  • Select Storage and click on and buttons.
  • Now, open the Camera app to see if it works correctly.

Factory reset your phone

If nothing works, the only thing you have is to factory reset your phone. Make a backup and try to reset your phone to its factory settings. On Android, you can go to Settings > Backup & Reset > Reset settings.

Enter your passwords and click on the button. Your phone will restart a few times, and all your settings will be set to their factory defaults. This will fix the “Camera is Busy: Unable to Start” error.

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Written by Utkarsh

Utkarsh Bhatt is a certified tech expert and software engineer for a Fortune 500 Company. He was born in 1995, making him one of the oldest members of the team at EFX. Utkarsh loves solving technical issues and is always the first to jump on any problem that needs solving. When he’s not coding or debugging, he enjoys playing video games (especially Super Smash Bros.) and watching cartoons.

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6 thoughts on “Fix Camera Busy: Unable to Start Error in Android”

  1. When the “camera Busy” and torch not working then open phone and clean connectors of the flash unit to motherboard.

  2. In moto g2 camera is not working it is showing that “camera unable to start. If this repeats power off and restart”. And torch symbol is not showing on notification area

  3. nothing works from this list. I get camera busy (presuming some other app is working with it, but I cannot clear whatever app it is). I need some kind of way of finding what app(s) is making the camera busy–and no suggestion here does that.


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