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How A Single App Can Kill Your Phone

Up until few weeks ago I had a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone. While I was waiting patiently for Samsung to upgrade the Android OS 4.1 to a newer version, I got sick and tired of waiting and bought a shiny new Nexus 5 phone.

I got my new phone and was amazed of how fast and responsive it is. I installed all my favorite apps and was very content. However there was one problem with the phone. The battery life was poor and I had to charge it after 6-8 hours. At first I didn’t pay any special attention to it, since I was reading that battery life on Nexus 5 was poor. Then one day I notice that the battery drained after only 4 hours and I got suspicious.

Looking at the battery statistics I notice that the service mostly used the battery was mm-qcamera-daemon. Googling the issue I found many posts saying mm-qcamera-daemon drains the battery if you have Yahoo Messenger Video plugin, which online forums suggest to un-install. The problem is that I did not install this app. I was still lost.

After some more un-successful attempts for information searching, I started to think that if mm-qcamera-daemon is related to camera usage then what apps do I have that use the camera. Finally a light bulb over my head appeared and I solved the riddle.

One of the first apps I installed was “SmartStay +” . This app leaves the screen on if it identify you are looking at the screen using the front facing camera and face detection API. I then removed this app and WOW, no more mm-qcamera-daemon in the battery statistics, and battery now lasts for a whole day without charging.

Update Google has officially acknowledged the Nexus 5 bug on its Android issue tracker website and promised that a fix is in the works. However there is no timeline as far as when the fix might be issued, and Google would only say that it will be implemented in a future Android software update. In the bug track issue, Google noted that Skype is among the more popular apps that trigger the bug and recommend you uninstall Skype or reboot your device every time mm-qcamera-daemon is miss-behaving.


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