Google's Pixels have some of the best cameras around in our opinion, but there's one avenue in which that pixel-peeping photo performance can still fall short: Once in a while, that snapshot you remember taking won't be saved. And, so far as we can tell, it's still an issue on Google's new Pixel 3 and 3 XL.
I don't have music apps stopping randomly on my Pixel 2 XL, but the whole photos not saving happens all the damn time.
The Pixel 3 suffers from the same issue? Absolutely unacceptable. https://t.co/IFpjYEH8nY
— Artem Russakovskii (@ArtemR) October 16, 2018
Over the last couple of days, there's been a flurry of discussion on Twitter among the Android-reporting blogosphere as impressions and perspectives on Google's latest phones have been hurriedly swapped. One point most people seem to agree on is that this new batch of Pixels continues to suffer the same problem previous iterations had, where photos that are taken are not always saved.
Has happened to me several times. This is the kind of thing that happens on $199 phones. Truly ridiculous that Google still has random hiccups in its camera app like this. https://t.co/52HRC85Lj7
— Andrew Martonik (@andrewmartonik) October 18, 2018
Android Police's Artem posted his account of the issue to Reddit's /r/Android community (where it's been gilded twice in the last 24 hours) and /r/GooglePixel, and comments there and elsewhere on Twitter seem to indicate that it may not be exclusively a Pixel problem, having happened on older Nexus devices as well as other phones made to run the Google Camera app. There are even some reports of similar behavior on entirely third-party hardware and software from OEMs such as Samsung, Essential, LG, and Nokia. So it's possible, if not likely, to be a symptom of an underlying Android issue.
I have had multiple photos taken on my 3XL review unit not save. Thought I was just going crazy
— David Imel (@DurvidImel) October 18, 2018
Whatever devices may be affected and whatever the precise cause may be, it's an issue that is still present on Google's latest phones, and visitors to the Google Product Forum post on the subject have come up with a method that more consistently triggers the problem: If a phone is locked or leaves the camera app while HDR+ processing is taking place, the photo being processed is unlikely to have saved. (I'm unable to reproduce the behavior on my Pixel phones with those instructions, even though I've run into the issue in the past, so it isn't an entirely reliable trigger.)
Based on the method of this alleged trigger, some speculate it's because the Camera app stops running before it has finished processing the photo in question. According to XDA Developer's editor in chief and noted API tinkerer Mishaal Rahman, the Google Camera app is supposed to be "pinned" to memory, meaning it shouldn't actually be exiting/killing the app when focus changes. Some have speculated that Google Photos could be responsible for the issue — it powers the gallery in the Google Camera app and starts/stops on its own in the background.
I've said this before and I'll say it again - This has been happening since the Nexus 5X/6P generation. The 5X used to do it LOADS. I lost important photos to it, it's terrible that it's still not been fixed!
— Kieron Quinn 👻 (@Quinny898) October 18, 2018
Whatever the actual cause may be, a workaround that prevents photos from being lost has been discovered. According to reports on the Product Forums, disabling Doze/battery optimization for the camera app fixes the issue.
We reached out to Google about this story a day ago, but at the time of publication had yet to receive a response, and we'll update our coverage if one is forthcoming. In the meantime, those who've experienced the issue should probably try to remember to leave the camera app open until photos have finished processing, or consider tweaking some power optimization settings.