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Here's why some apps flip the camera upside down on Google's Nexus 5X

Here's why some apps flip the camera upside down on Google's Nexus 5X

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If you've got a Google Nexus 5X and have noticed issues with the camera in some apps, it's not your brand new smartphone that's to blame. A Google engineer has responded to a Reddit thread with a curious fact; the orientation of the Nexus 5X's image sensor is somewhat unconventional, and it's causing some problems within apps that are using Google's old (and now deprecated) camera API. It's not a hard problem to spot, since it results in the viewfinder preview you see being flipped upside down.

"Image sensors on a compliant Android device can be mounted in one of two ways," wrote Eino-Ville Talvala, the tech lead for Android's camera framework. "Most devices use one way, so a lot of camera apps have never been tested on devices that pick the other way." Last year, Google chose the "reverse landscape" orientation for the front-facing selfie cam in the Nexus 6, and I definitely remember a few apps flipping everything upside down when accessing that camera. But now it's the main rear shooter that's positioned this way, so it's more likely to be noticed by users. "Far fewer apps support the front-facing camera than the back-facing one, so it was less of an issue than it is for Nexus 5X," Talvala wrote.

To be clear, this isn't anything resembling a crisis. Maybe you haven't even noticed it if you've already got a 5X. All the heavyweights like Instagram, Flickr should work the way you expect, but if an app hasn't been updated in some time, it may still be relying on that outdated API. Some banking apps that let you scan checks have been confirmed as having the problem. To minimize the level of consumer frustration that could result, Google is encouraging users to let developers know if their apps are affected by the issue. The company's Android developer relations team is also working alongside LG to locate these apps and help ensure the Nexus 5X's (phenomenal) camera always works the way owners expect.