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My phone is a Samsung Galaxy Note. When one app is using a camera in the background, is it possible to use another camera app at the same time? Some people say it depends on how the applications are coded.

Also, the app “Sound Assistant” makes 2 music apps using a speaker at the same time. And there are apps that use front and back cameras simultaneously. Does it mean that access to the camera by 2 apps at the same time can be possible?

I want to know if the phone is rooted or if an app has root permission, there would be a change in the answer. I wonder if I use custom ROM or kernel, this can be possible. Btw, I am talking about Android version 5.0-6.0 which was released in 2015-2016.

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  • Cross-posted from Stack Overflow with additional context: stackoverflow.com/q/74419327/2821954
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 13:14
  • I am sorry i “ll delete it. Btw do you have an answer in this question? Thanks
    – Ummm
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 21:17

1 Answer 1

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There are a number of questions here and I'll start for the non-root/stock ROM:

Q1: Can app A use the camera at the same time as app B?

A1: No.

From https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/media/camera.html#release-camera

Caution: If your application does not properly release the camera, all subsequent attempts to access the camera, including those by your own application, will fail and may cause your or other applications to be shut down.

Q2: What about apps that use the front and back camera at the same time.

A2: Older devices were hardware/software limited regarding being able to use both at the same time. Device variation made supporting camera difficult. Developers had to check if both were able to be used and the original Camera API was being replaced by the newer Camera2 API. While API improvements have been made, Cameras have always had manufacturer/device specific "cool features" only enabled for manufacturer camera apps and unavailable to third-party app developers both then and now. Android 5.0 was when the newer Camera2 APIs were introduced but that didn't mean all features from the older Camera APIs were supported.

Q3: What about mixing audio from two different apps?

A3: The general concept is called "audio ducking" or "audio focus" and is allowed on Android. I don't know if the app you are referring to is doing more perhaps with legacy Samsung SDK APIs.

Q4: Okay does anything change with root?

Root just gives superuser access to all apps and allows for a level of customization. Unless the ROM is modified the Android framework APIs are still the same. You can see that the low level Camera framework is quite involved and I doubt just having root will allow for multiple apps using the camera at the same time. Realize that Custom ROM builders have to spend time probing the stock ROM to enable standard framework features for upgrading Android OS versions. Any access to "hidden APIs" would be bonus.

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  • Thank you morrison. I appreciate. In Q2, there were galaxy s4 (maybe note4)that had a double shot feature which allowed to use front and back camera at the same time . And their version was lower than android 5.0 i guess. is it just an exception? And Q4, you think rooting phone cannot make make multiple apps use camera at sametime. But in custom ROM , it could be possible anyway..? Sorry my english is bad so hard to understand precisely. thanks for reply again
    – Ummm
    Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 23:09
  • Regarding the S4, probably regarding the 'double shot'. Flagship/high end phones generally get more features. Honestly to get the feature of 2 camera apps at the same time you are breaking intentional design of Android (in the past that camera app took up a lot of processing power and now generally to prevent spy apps), so while I won't say it is impossible, unlikely unless working closely with hardware manufacturer. Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 23:52
  • Thanks . so you mean the feature “2apps using camera at sametime” can be possible through rooting or custom ROM but seems quite difficult to be performed - did i understand right?
    – Ummm
    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 1:52
  • "2 apps using cameras at same time", not possible just with root, maybe possible if you are a Samsung firmware engineer. Note that any Custom ROM you find in XDA or elsewhere isn't written by anyone working for Samsung. So realistically not possible. Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 2:42
  • Oh i understand now thanks alot:) so root cannot make this possible and Even if developers create custom ROMs , this is an untouchable part and only Samsung developers can modify it- did i understand correctly? But isnt it related to android developers? Not samsung developers. Cus samsung use android to their phones and this is related to android framework
    – Ummm
    Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 3:12

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