Your Galaxy S21 Ultra’s battery may be draining just by walking around
A handful of Samsung smartphones may be suffering from a strange bug that drains the battery whenever you’re walking around. The cause is unconfirmed, but as spotted on our forums, it could be caused by a camera wakelock that stops the phone’s camera sensors from rattling when the phone is in motion. My colleague Zachary Wander investigated whether or not this was the cause of his own battery drain problems on his Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but many more users are reporting the battery drain issue is happening on the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The stop() method, on the other hand, is never called. It’s just not used. It seems like Samsung developers may have wanted to put an option in to disable CameraServiceWorker, but it never got implemented. pic.twitter.com/L3KTo1gzsy
— Zachary Wander (@Wander1236) June 15, 2021
Optical image stabilization is used for taking photos, particularly in low light, to prevent the phone camera’s sensors from shaking too much and to gather light consistently. OIS moves the camera around inside of the camera housing, which means that nearly every phone with OIS will rattle when the phone is shaking. It seems that, as part of shake detection for OIS use, the camera app may be waking up the device whenever it detects motion (via SamMobile). As Zachary Wander notes in his Twitter thread, it seems that Samsung isn’t releasing the wakelock that holds the camera sensor in place when the device is in motion, leading to background battery drain.
Some of the possibly affected phones include the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but others may also be affected. It’s also possible that this issue actually has nothing to do with the camera being stabilized when in motion and that there is an entirely different cause behind the battery drain problem.
What that cause may be is unknown, and the only way we’ve seen to avoid this battery drain if you’re affected is to move your phone around as little as possible. Leaving it on a table when walking around your house seems to be the best way to avoid unnecessary battery drainage, which obviously isn’t an ideal solution for pretty much anyone. Hopefully, Samsung can address this issue with a fix soon, as it’s not the first time that the company has introduced problems with a software update.
We’ve reached out to Samsung to see if they’re aware of the issue and will update this article if we hear back. If you want to find out whether your phone is affected, you can look for the cameraservice_worker wakelock in apps like GSam Battery Monitor or BetterBatteryStats. This wakelock has resulted in battery drain of over 20% in 7 hours for some users, so if it’s affecting your device, it’ll probably be obvious. Sadly, there’s no way to toggle this service without root, but even if you can, it’s advised you don’t since it may have unexpected repercussions.
Featured image: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
This article was updated at 16:00 ET to add additional information about the wakelock held.