Here we go again with another Chrome OS update problem. After hearing from several readers that their Chromebook cameras stopped working after a Chrome OS software update, I did a little digging. The reported problem has spawned at least three Chrome OS bug reports that I know of. (Update: Make it four as there’s this one from February 8, first noticed in Chrome OS 97)
Based on the reports, nearly all of the affected Chromebooks use an ARM processor.
From one of the bug reports, it appears the Camera app opens but doesn’t actually capture an image:
Regardless of the application using it, after updating to Chrome OS 99/100, the camera has cease to function. Each time the camera is accessed by an app, it simply does not work. Instead, the white indicator light turns on and flashes while the Chromebook makes a clicking sound, almost like a shutter.
So far, these are the reported Chrome OS devices where the Camera has stopped working:
- Acer Chromebook 14
- HP Chromebook x2 11
- Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook 5
- Lenovo 10e Chromebook
- Google Pixelbook Go
- Acer Chromebook Spin 13
The Acer is an odd one in the group because it uses an Intel Celeron processor. And it only appears in one report, while the others are mentioned several times. These all use ARM chipsets from either Qualcomm or MediaTek.
Six comments in one of the reports all mention the Lenovo Duet 5 Chromebook, including one person who has deployed 15 of them at work. They all share the same Camera issue.
Powerwashing the devices or upgrading to the Chrome OS 101 Beta Channel hasn’t resolved the problem as of yet for anyone.
The good news is that Google has not only seen the bug reports but also chimed in on a Chrome OS Reddit thread as people were posting their issues there as well.
Here’s the official response from yesterday:
Hello Chromebook Community, Thank you again for taking time to bring this to our attention and apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing. Our team anticipates that the fix will be available later this week with a software update and is not related to your device. We will share an update on this thread once the fix has rolled out. We appreciate your patience as we work on resolving this. Best, Alisha – On behalf of Chrome OS
If all goes well then, this problem is expected to be resolved within a few days.
However, it still speaks to a bigger issue that’s becoming a recurring theme: Bugs, sometimes critical, are getting past Chrome OS testing efforts.
And that’s not something I expect to be resolved any time soon. I’d really like to hear from Google about some process changes in the testing phase to beef up the software quality assurance effort.
Updated on April 6 at 5:50 pm ET, adding the Pixelbook Go (due to an open bug report from February 8) and Acer Chromebook Spin 13 from Twitter.