If you use Google Messages on Android, it might be silently stealing away battery life from your phone. And while Google has fixed the issue, the patch might not hit your device for some time. Until then, there are steps you can take to stop the app from putting an unnecessary drain on your battery.
How Google Messages is draining your battery
Google Messages, like many chat apps, has a shortcut for snapping a quick photo or video in a message thread to send away. This feature lets you take a photo from a small live feed for faster access, or you can tap on the live feed to expand it to get a better look at what you’re shooting.
But while the feature is certainly convenient, a bug is causing it to put a strain on your Android’s battery life. Normally, once you stop using the feature, Google Messages stops accessing your camera; however, this bug keeps the camera active in Google Messages without any feedback from the app itself. Affected users knew where the fault lay, however, since Android 12 outs any app that uses the camera.
Keeping the camera open for extended periods of time has a huge impact on your battery, as anyone who’s accidentally activated their camera in their pocket can attest. That, coupled with the security implications of an app using the camera without your knowledge, let alone a Google app, makes this bug one of concern.
It looks like this bug isn’t anything new, either. A Reddit thread from Feb. 15 discusses the issue, meaning Google Messages might have been putting a drain on users’ batteries for months at this point.
How to stop the Google Messages bug from draining your battery
Fortunately, Google is now rolling out a patch for the bug. Google communications manager Scott Westover confirmed to The Verge that the company had fixed the issue and was issuing the patch to users. However, there’s no current timeframe for that implementation, so until the patch hits your phone, you might need to take a step or two to prevent the bug from draining your battery.
If you want to passively tackle the problem, make sure to close Google Messages from the Recents view any time Android tells you the app is using your camera. For a more permanent solution until the patch rolls out to your device, you can remove Google Messages’ permissions to use your camera. This only works well if you never use the in-app camera feature anyway. You’ll find this option in Google Messages’ settings, under Permission > Camera > Don’t Allow.
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