I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 (the blue one just to help set the scene) running Android version 4.4.2

My phone was sleeping beside me peacefully on my desk in standby mode (or whatever you call it when it's just a blank screen not being used).

Suddenly, the screen lights up and to my surprise the camera is active - with no human intervention whatsoever. There were also no notifications of any kind at this point that might have had a hand in it.

What could be the possible causes for this to happen? Are there any conditions is which this might be expected? Is it a bug? Or maybe worse, could it be a malicious application trying to "catch me in the act"?

Additional information that might be useful:

  • When the camera started it was the main camera that was active, rather than the front camera
  • Looking through the phone and camera settings, there is nothing enabled (or even available) that might explain this happening. For example, there is no quick start camera gesture or voice command
  • Maybe you have a broken camera button? Did your phone every have a bad fall?
    – geffchang
    Jun 20, 2014 at 14:08
  • @geffchang: Nope, I have been very careful with this one and I have only had it just over a month. There doesn't appear to be a hardware shortcut for the camera anyway. There is a lockscreen software shortcut that requires you to slide an icon, but there was no contact with the phone at the time to manage this (of course there may be a bug that thought is was activated)
    – musefan
    Jun 20, 2014 at 14:20
  • When you say "the camera is active", do you mean the camera app is visible on screen? A malicious app wouldn't use the camera app, it would just take pictures with nothing on screen.
    – Dan Hulme
    Jun 20, 2014 at 16:59
  • Could this be the photo unlock?
    – JC Hulce
    Jun 20, 2014 at 23:01
  • The NSA. Just had to poke that one :-) Seriously, though, maybe the OS has a gesture that turns on the camera automatically, and the detection's off. May be worth a trip through the settings to confirm.
    – ctt
    Jun 22, 2014 at 18:30

3 Answers 3


Not exactly a solution, but this seems to be part of the problem:

Launch Camera directly from lock screen

Time is often of the essence when trying to capture the perfect picture. The Galaxy S5 lets you bypass the lock screen to snap a picture. Simply swipe the camera icon up (in the lower right hand corner) and you’ll launch directly into the camera app! If this feature isn’t turned on you can do so by:

Go to Settings > Lock Screen Check “Camera Shortcut” You’re done! Even if you have a pattern or password lock set up this will let you take pictures without unlocking your phone.

How this is being enabled is anyones guess.

  • Yeah I did think this could be the most likely cause, somehow it thought that it had been triggered. If it is this, then it definitely a bug, I guess it's hard to know for sure what the cause was
    – musefan
    Jun 23, 2014 at 10:24
  • Faulty touchscreen? Perhaps it is detecting phantom touches where the camera app icon is on the lockscreen?
    – Husman
    Jun 23, 2014 at 10:36
  • No reason to suspects faulty touchscreen, I haven't noticed any issues with it. Also, the camera unlock doesn't work unless the lock screen is visible. If I try and to the unlock while the screen is black then it doesn't work, so even with physical screen interaction it doesn't unlock, which I believe rules out the phone thinking it's being touched. But still leaves the potential for the camera unlock widget to falsely assume it has been activated.
    – musefan
    Jun 23, 2014 at 10:51
  • Well to activate the camera, the phone has to wake up, then the lock icon has to be tapped. Could these actions be the result of faulty hardware? It would require 2 coincidences - wake up action (either software (possible caused by an app) or hardware related) and then the camera app is activated too. Seems a long shot.
    – Husman
    Jun 23, 2014 at 10:58
  • Since the phone is relatively new, perhaps its best to try a hardware reset now (as opposed to 6 months later, when you have lots of data on it). Then try it for a few days without installing too many apps off the market. If it does this weird behaviour in its factory reset state, then send it back to samsung and get a replacement.
    – Husman
    Jun 23, 2014 at 10:59

I have an s6 and my phone got sprayed with a little (just a little) water and later the camera and google app were launching randomly on their own. Both the camera and the google app have shortcut launch options via the home button. It went on for about fifteen minutes before stopping. My guess is a drop or so went in and activated the button sensors. It's still popping up randomly as I type. Turning off the quick launch for the camera made sure that it's only the google app that's launching itself now.

  • Your home button still worked when you pressed it to go to the home-screen? You didn't specifically mention it. Mar 20, 2016 at 6:13
  • It was a long time ago now, and the problem didn't stay around too long. At this point I am putting it down to a bug in the OS that was quickly patched
    – musefan
    Mar 21, 2016 at 9:13
  • I've got the same happening after use in water. The camera randomly turns on both from lock screen with the phone on the table and when in use.
    – James EJ
    Apr 2, 2023 at 7:46
  • For me disabling the power button double click gesture didn't work, but in the camera settings there was another setting for the Sony Xperia camera button and disabling that resolved the issue.
    – James EJ
    Apr 2, 2023 at 18:36

could it be an app that you downloaded and gave permission to use camera, along with other things on phone, we have to give up alot of privacy when we hit the accept button with out paying attention to what they want to have access to

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