How to fix “Camera Failed” error on Samsung Galaxy S II (or other Samsung Android devices)

If you are reading this, you’ve probably had your Samsung Galaxy S II (or other Samsung device) display the apparently fairly common “Camera Failed” message.  Over the past month I too have had this annoyance pop up on my Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket several times.  Googling the problem yields suggestions ranging from uninstalling flashlight apps to returning phones.  While certainly there must be people who are in fact having hardware problems with the camera, I think most of us are having a software issue.  This issue totally feels like some system resources not properly releasing the camera, keeping it locked and preventing the camera app and other apps from accessing the camera hardware.

After a bunch of trial and error, I think I have figured out a consistent way to quickly and easily fix this problem when it does occur, releasing the camera hardware for use by any app.

First, go into Settings, and choose Applications.

How to fix camera failed, step 1

From the Applications menu, choose Running Services.

How to fix camera failed, step 2

When shown the list of Running services, press the Menu key to show the option Show cached processes.  Select Show cached processes.

How to fix camera failed, step 3

Scrolling through the list of cached processes look for the Camera app and select it.

How to fix camera failed, step 4

When you select the Camera process you will have the option to Stop it.  Choosing Stop should successfully release the camera hardware.

How to fix camera failed, step 5

After stopping the cached camera process, return to your home screen and try relaunching the camera app or whatever other app you were trying to run when you ran into the “Camera Failed” error message.  It should now successfully start with access to the camera.

19 Responses to “How to fix “Camera Failed” error on Samsung Galaxy S II (or other Samsung Android devices)”

  • Patrick Jaques Says:

    Excellent post. I agree this appears to be a system resource issue. In my case, rebooting my Galaxy SII phone resolved the problem. Your solution is a lot better. This problem seems to occur after leaving the camera app running and turn off the screen.

    Have you reported this to Samsung?

  • LaQuisah Says:

    Thanks so much! I’ve looked and looked for a solution and it didn’t work. Now it does and I thank you for this post. Have a great day!

  • Ali Says:

    I followed the instructions and my camera worked.Thanks a million.

  • MANDY Says:

    Thanks for the info – has worked after also following this info and then rebooting my phone.This was a great help – thanks

  • julie Says:

    thank you so much….out of no where it wasn’t working and you telling the step by step saved the day!!!!

  • godiex Says:

    THANKS! đŸ˜‰

  • asdfghjkl Says:


  • Sim Says:

    Thanks this is great!

  • bimercatracho Says:

    great !!!thanks it works

  • Jennifer Says:

    This worked like a charm on my first gen Galaxy S. Just stopped allt he programs associated with the camera (for me, it was the video player and the galary – I didn’t have “camera” listed), and then relaunched it, and viola!


  • Martin Says:

    Has same problem and found INSTAGRAM the culprit. Uninstalled the app and camera works every time.

  • abby Says:

    This was totally helpful, got my camera working again. In seconds and was so easy to follow the directions. Thank You!!!

  • David Says:

    My front camera always showed “Camera Failed.” With the Jelly Bean update when I tried the front camera it says “Camera Failed.” I use to just close and re-open the camera app but now it seems to remember my setting to open my front camera – thus says camera failed. I used the above to go to all processes –> camera –> force stop –> clear all data. It then forgot it was on front camera mode and works again. Thanks for the ideas!!

  • Vladimir Says:

    It works 100%.
    Important: after you stop the camera cashed process, immediatly restart your phone by pressing right power button.

  • Tim Says:

    followed your instructions and camera up and working again Thankyooooooooue!!!!!

  • Jacqui Says:

    AWESOME,followed your instructions & then did a restart & the camera came back! very cool, thankyou so much :)

  • sarah Says:

    Wow it worked, thank you so much for taking the time to explain how to fix it, many many thanks x

  • ije Says:

    I’ve had this problem for a while now. This is the only immediate solution I’ve ever gotten. Thumbs up. Thanks so much. Did not even need to restart my phone. My awesome s5 900fd camera is back. Yay!

  • German Busenbark Says:

    Thanks! You’ve saved my phone! The reset to factory defaults worked, and my photos were still there. :-)

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