Moto X 1st Gen Camera will not start/restart

Occasionally in the past (every 30 or 40 uses of the camera), I would get a “Camera busy…try to restart” type of message and I would restart and the camera would be fine. However, 2 days ago I got the same “Camera busy” message and no matter if I Power Down and Up, or go into Safe Mode, or erase the Camera’s cache, or Force Stop the Camera app, I would still get the “Camera busy” message. I have also downloaded and installed another camera app from the Google Play store and still get the “Camera busy” error.

I’ve tried all of the steps in the very helpful “Do It Yourself Self-service for your Motorola” YouTube video series put out by the Moto Agent Team, save for the Factory Reset nuclear option.

I haven’t done a Factory Reset yet since I haven’t transferred my Photos off the phone yet. Any other ideas to try before having to do the scorched-earth Factory Reset? Thanks.

Using the Photos app all of your photos will be transferred here:

Google Photos - All your photos organized and easy to find

I think a factory reset, your only hope at this time, isn’t likely to fix this considering the other steps you have tried. Let us know how this turns out.

Thanks for the reply, billg.

When I read it this morning, I was afraid that was the advice I would get, but just for grins I decided to power off my phone once more and put it into Safe mode.

Well, surprise of surprises, after it was in Safe mode, I gave it the ol’ wrist-twist to wake up the camera and I was totally shocked to see a live image come up on my screen instead of the “Camera busy - please restart” error message that I’ve been seeing the past few days. I was about to reply and say you must have the “magic discussion forum reply touch.”

To confirm the Moto X camera was still working, I took a picture with it and reviewed it - it was there! Then I got out camera mode and then tried starting it up by touching the camera icon on my home screen instead of using the wrist-twist. The camera came up with a live image and I successfully snapped and reviewed another photo.

I then powered off the phone and powered it back on, letting it start in regular mode instead of Safe mode. I checked the camera once again (wrist-twist activation as well as icon-touch-on-home-screen) and it was still working fine.

I was about to post my surprise findings here this morning but then – 15-20 minutes later, the camera would not start again and the same “Camera busy…” error message came up again. Back to square one.

Well, I didn’t do anything different with the phone since yesterday so I have no good explanation or theories on how it “fixed itself” this morning. But then also, I have no idea what caused the camera to again go dead (“busy”).

HOWEVER, JUST NOW, the camera has once again started to respond to a simple wrist-twist and start up (I’m in regular mode and did not restart the phone).

So, given all of the developments today, I really can’t discern an explainable pattern or cause since it did recover a couple of times. I’m thinking now - maybe an intermittent hardware/wire or component connection issue? (I didn’t drop my phone any more than usual over the last few days, so I don’t see any cause-effect relationships there.)

Curiouser and curiouser…

It could be an intermittent hardware issue. There have been flawed updates to native apps that have caused problems but if that was the case we would be seeing a lot of complaints. I only mention that because you did have the problem the first time you tried Safe Mode.

If you google “android camera busy” you will get a lot of hits on this problem. I didn’t read them all. In one case the problem was solved by resetting the phone, in another it was solved by replacing the phone.

I can advise that resetting does not fix this problem. My wife and I’s old Moto X 1st gens have quite a few glitches between the two of them nowadays. The camera issue being one of those, probably 50% of the time when I shake the phone to activate the camera I have an error similar to yours.

The solution? We are purchasing the Huawei Ascend for $129 with free service as soon as we are able!

Hmm, not encouraging news to hear that this may be “typical” of the Moto X after a few years…

Hey, I wonder now if that Motorola twist-to-turn-on motion might have anything to do with eventual intermittent hardware issues - as in that specific twisting motion would result in some component connection developing a lose connection over time (thought I doubt it, given so much integrated chip and surface mount hardware these days).

What was especially ironic was receiving the Republic marketing email this morning about the special sale offer on the Moto X Play and the special next week on the Huawei (here’s a link posted today showing the specs: Does anyone know anything about the Huawei Ascend 5W? ).

Looking at the dimensions, the Huawei is almost a whole inch longer/taller than the Moto X 1st Gen so it might not fit as well in a pocket, but given the $120 service credit, that makes the phone virtually free. The Huawei stats (on paper at least) are better than my 3 year old Moto X (what is especially nice is the Huawei’s 3000 mAh battery, which is 36% more capacity than the Moto X’s 2210 mAh battery).

BTW, my flaky camera is now WORKING again, as of this evening. However, don’t know what to expect in the next hour, or tomorrow, or… The Huawei phone offer is starting to look more and more enticing. The big drawback though is that going to a new RW phone means going to their “3.0” service plans, so that would mean no more rebate-at-the-end-of-the-month for me then… But for someone new coming to Republic, that is a great deal - a pretty good phone (on paper at least) for $129 and then you get $120 in service credits = just about a free phone.

I (x1) and my SO (on an X2) both have problems with error messages and crashes with the Moto Camera app. Not always, but frequently. The Google camera app works reliably for us, but I don’t think there’s any way to set that up for the wrist twist trick.

I, too, have a Moto X 1st Gen. I have the same ‘Busy’ issues with the camera you have when opening via the twist-twist motion, however, I can start it with the app launcher just fine 100% of the time. I did a factory reset on the phone a few weeks ago and it didn’t help the issue. I’m settling on a new Moto Z Play with the $100 discount ($50 after shipping and taxes) and 6mo of 1Gb service to replace the Moto X. I’m choosing this instead of the Ascend 5W mainly for the Moto features; the always listening, Active Display, better camera, mods… granted, I’ll be paying over $200 more, but for me it’s worth it.

FYI - I made a trip to Best Buy last night and played with the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. The 5.5" screen certainly makes single-hand operation difficult and isn’t my preferred screen size (I would love to get a 5" Pixel phone, but can’t stomach the $300 increase), but, it’s not really all that bad either. Most of my tapping was in the reachable areas with a single hand; the only time I needed two hands was when flipping through the settings bar or trying to reach that ‘x’ to exit a page.

I really appreciate you posting your own Moto X camera experiences and your very recent “firsthand” (pun certainly intended) experience with the Moto Z Play.

The difference with my recent Moto X camera woes was that when the camera was “busy,” even the app launcher icon wouldn’t work at all - same busy error message. If the app launcher had worked 100% of the time for the camera, I could live with that (especially since the wrist-twist feature was about 50% hit-or-miss for me even on the best days).

I researched online tech-site and individual user reviews about the Moto Z Play a good bit last night and the gist of it was that the Z Play was a pretty good mid-range phone with spectacular battery life, not-so-spectacular camera, adequate performance for non-gamers, good screen, and an interesting expansion feature with the Moto Mods attachments. For me, the battery life would be most welcome (since my 3-yr old Moto X’s battery is showing signs of less-than-full-day usage), a better camera would be nice but not a dealbreaker as long as it’s as good as my Moto X’s now (or better), processor performance is not a priority for me, a brighter/larger screen would be a benefit, and I doubt I would buy any Moto Mods.

Being a frugal RW 1.0 service plan and then RW 2.0 service plan adopter, one of the psychological hurdles to move to any new phone now is being “forced” into the new RW 3.0 service plans, which are a shade of the Big Cell Carriers’ set-price plans I left 3 years ago. Still though, based on my approximate 0.5 GB data monthly usage, the net effective cost difference would be about $5 more per month for me under RW 3.0 vs. RW 2.0, where I would get a refund each month. I can afford the additional $5/month wallet hit, but it’s the “principle of the thing,” y’know?..

The other two psychological hurdles are springing for $390.50 ($449 with $100 discount, but added taxes, surcharges, and shipping back in) this morning for the phone, and then later dealing with the larger-than-Moto-X size of the Z Play. I guess I will get used to the size, but in hindsight, the sleek size of the X was always a nice feel in the hand, pants pocket, and the occasional shirt pocket.

In the end, I did bite the bullet this morning and ordered a Moto Z Play - if it wasn’t for the recent sustained problems with my camera, and hearing about other Moto Xers whose cameras got worse and not better, I wouldn’t have even considered buying a new phone. But given the age of my X and the short time window for what seems to be an incredible overall deal for the Z Play, I figured it would be better to buy the Z Play now than pass on the deal only to have my X’s camera completely lock up in 1, 2, or 3 more weeks when the deals would be gone.

As for the net effective out-of-pocket cost of $390.50 today, I rationalize that down to around $270.50 after the first 6 months’ worth of $120 total in service credits, and so $270.50 may not be “that much” to pay for a highly-regarded mid-range phone that hopefully will last 3 or so years. (Plus, if my camera continues to show steady signs of working again, maybe it will be worth something in the secondary used market for someone who wants to be able to qualify for a RW 2.0 rebate service plan and needs a Moto X to do so. That will knock my $270.50 net upgrade cost down a little more, depending on how much a 3-year old Moto X is worth these days… ;->)

p.s.- I look forward to also having 50% more RAM (from 2GB to 3 GB), and twice the built-in user storage memory (to 32 GB), along with the ability to add a microSD memory storage card up to 2 TB; no more worries about always having to transfer off photos to make more room for future photos!

Thanks for giving your final thoughts - regarding the performance of the Z Play, I wouldn’t sweat it that much. Going from a Moto X (1st Gen), it’s going to be crazy fast. Also, I watched a couple review videos on YouTube where they were playing the full-on 3D games with no issues like the specs sheet would suggest and the camera photo examples were great where you would normally use it. Hopefully, you are pleased with the purchase… I think I may wait and see what the Moto X 2017 holds; there’s a leak online of the new one having a smaller screen and what appears to be a fingerprint scanner on the front. However, I may be swayed into buying the Z Play before the deal ends… who knows… I’m not a very decisive person.

You’re “not a very decisive person”??

I got the distinct impression from your original post that you had “settled” on the Z Play and went down to Best Buy last night just to see its Z twins in person before pulling the trigger on the RW Z Play special offer! ;->

I didn’t realize that there would even be a 2017 X, but it’s kind of like “one in the hand, or two in the bush.” What kind of pushed me off the fence was the RW $120 service credit offer. That final net price really made this a bona fide legitimate deal since the Moto Z Play is currently still selling for $449 at every other retailer.

(Actually, I was pretty surprised that RW didn’t sell out of the $349 Z Plays overnight, but then again, RW doesn’t have a lot of mainstream advertising or presence so the word may not be way out there yet… better jump on it soon if you’re going to jump. Good luck - and serious thanks for your input.)

(I also noticed that the last line of my next-to-last paragraph before the p.s. in my last post had gotten erased by accident, so I added it back in just now. It explains what finally got me off the fence.)

The trip to Best Buy was originally intended to research remote starter/alarm systems for my wife’s car. Then, a trip to the ‘open box’ section to see if there were any good deals to be had. Then, the lazy walk over to the phone area as I was sadly leaving (I could spend hours in that place if I didn’t have ‘grown up’ obligations). I was sad that they had 20 of the same Samsung device out for people to play with, but none of the Pixel phones, even though they are a linked ‘seller’ on the page.

You make a great argument - when I do decide to get a new phone, I will likely be buying an upper-mid to higher end phone and would probably be paying just as much, if not more than the current offer on the Z Play (all-in price). Plus, if the 2017 Moto X comes out and I decide to try it, I can always sell the Z Play for $350-400.

Bringing this discussion back to life, since I just started getting the “Camera Busy” error now when I launch the camera app. I read about it all night after Google searching “android camera busy”. Then I decided to do a factory reset this morning. It fixed the issue briefly, but now I’m back to getting the “Camera Busy” error again. I also tried Safe Mode and that didn’t work either. Does anyone have any new insight into this? It’s very annoying. I love the phone, a Moto G 3rd Gen. I’m on the 2.0 plan, which I love. I’d hate to have to get a new phone just to use the camera…

Hi @charlesm.rk6lcl,

When “camera busy” survives a factory reset, it’s likely the camera hardware in your phone has failed. How old is your Moto G3? If less than a year, you have a potential warranty claim with Motorola. Here’s where to start a conversation with them:

It’s not under warranty any longer. I found an app called Permission Explorer. It tells you what apps have permissions for some of the hardware, like the camera. So I started disabling apps that use the camera. When I disabled Trusted Face and CQATest the camera started working again! So, I have my fingers crossed. The camera is working longer today than it has in a week!


The latest news… Republic Anywhere may be involved too. The camera was working great until I re-installed Anywhere. Then I got the Camera Busy error again. As soon as I disabled Anywhere the camera was back to working. Not sure what all this means. But, I feel like I’m making progress.

I’m happy to hear the situation is improved for you. I still fear your camera hardware is in the process of failing (it’s not uncommon for Moto X1s as they age) but would certainly be happy to be wrong about that. For what it’s worth, I have Anywhere installed on five household Republic phones with no camera busy errors on any nor have I seen other reports in Community.

Nevertheless, I’m a bottom line guy. If you’re satisfied you’re making progress, that’s the bottom line. :slight_smile:

That’s cool Ronald. Now I’m trying to figure out if I should be using Google Messaging or Google Messenger for texting. I can’t send pictures with Textra, which I like better than all of them.

Textra is a great app but won’t work on a Moto X1 or any other legacy Republic phone (Moto E1, E2, G1, G3, X1, X2) due to the modified Android operating systems in use on those phones. Either AOSP Messaging (the app bundled with your X1) or Google’s Android Messages should work. A link to Android Messages follows:

Well, the camera is back to giving me the “Camera Busy” error. My current camera is the Moto G 3rd Gen. What’s a good step up from there? Moto G 5 plus? But, that means Plan 3.0 :frowning:

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