Last month we reported that the Pixel 3 and 3 XL had an intermittent problem with third-party apps when using the camera. Those that ran into the issue would get a "fatal error" or similar warning as the camera failed to work in the app, a problem that would then persist in those apps even across reboots. Although not everyone was affected, we've seen reports that the issue has been resolved for many with the recent December patches.
For a bit of context, this particular issue cropped up when using the camera via a third-party app on a Pixel 3 or 3 XL (and potentially some older Pixel devices). For example, if you tried to take a photo in Snapchat or Instagram, you'd be greeted by a black screen and some variation of a "can't connect to the camera" or "the camera device encountered a fatal error" message. Rebooting would allow the camera to work again in the Google Camera app, but third-party apps, once affected, would consistently trigger the behavior.
A handful of folks on the primary support thread for the issue claim that the issue is ongoing, but there are many more reports of the problem being resolved. None of our original tipsters who experienced the issue have been able to confirm a fix for themselves yet, but there was a slightly ambiguous and potentially applicable patch in the December Pixel security bulletin:
It's a tenuous link, but in the absence of any official confirmation — Google remains stubbornly and confusingly silent recently when it comes to most Pixel 3-related problems — we're left in a Pixel patch limbo. Based on the volume of anecdotal reports, it seems to have been fixed, but we can't be certain.
Sideloaded on mine and my wife's. Confirmed fixed: memory issue closing apps, speakers sounding like shit on low volume.
She was also affected by the bug where the camera would just stop working randomly in a third-party app. That was also fixed with Dec OTA.
— Alex Paluzzi (@alexpaluzzi) December 3, 2018
We've reached out to Google for confirmation or comment, but have yet to receive any response at the time of publication. Typically we avoid making blogspam-style requests for comment from our readers, but with so many of you being Pixel owners, we'd like to ask: If you experienced the "fatal error" camera problem on a Pixel device, was it fixed for you with the recent update?