A new change in Android 11’s default behavior for opening the camera through third-party apps will result in the removal of the camera app selection prompt. This means that when a third-party app tries to access the camera to capture an image or shoot a video for any reason, Android will default to the camera app without providing users an option to select their preferred offering.
A Google engineer confirmed the change in an IssueTracker post, noting that the change is the “right trade-off to protect the privacy and security of our users”. While it isn’t a huge change, users that prefer other applications over Google’s own offering will not be very happy about being forced to use the stock app. Additionally, the “ACTION_IMAGE_CAPTURE” intent in question, called by an app for opening the camera, might crash the app completely if users have disabled Google Camera from settings.
The change does not, in any way, stop users from setting third-party camera apps as default. Other apps like Instagram and Facebook that use their own cameras from within the app will also not be affected. However, developers will not be able to let users select from a list of solutions when the app relies on the OS’ in-built camera apps. Google does not explicitly mention what security benefits prompted this change.
While there is one workaround for developers listed in a developer document here (spotted by CommonsWare), it only lets developers choose their preferred camera app, instead of providing the option to select between multiple providers.
It is not yet clear if the changes will be enforced on Android 11 by default, limiting OEMs from changing the behavior. It will be interesting to see how the search giant implements the change further – fixing the crash bug when Google Camera is disabled – and if it mandates this change for the OS. It is unlikely that the change will be reverted, considering that the platform behavior is already finalized