Cover phone camera
October 6, 2019 9:32 PM   Subscribe

I used to put paper tape on my phone camera but it looks ugly and is annoying when I want easy camera access (tape gets dirty and needs to be replaced a lot). What low-profile solutions exist for covering the front and rear camera on my Pixel 3a phone?

I have tried 3m webcam covers but the glass front and phone back are too slick. I have looked for a case but I would prefer not to use a case, and all the cases I did see have completely open gaps in front of the cameras that don't look like they can be closed temporarily. Is there a case option I'm missing?

I can't be the only person that doesn't want a little camera eye looking at me every time I'm looking at my phone screen, but I do still want to be able to use the camera on occasion. The front camera is more important to me than the back camera, but ideally I would like both of them to be covered. I am not planning on getting a new phone at this time and really want a solution that works with this phone. Happy to DIY something.
posted by k8lin to Technology (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
These things?
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:09 PM on October 6, 2019

Ack I posted too soon and see you’ve tried them. Sorry!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:10 PM on October 6, 2019

Best answer: There are 3d-printed cases for the pixel 3a, such as this one. If you have access to a 3D printer, you could probably print an altered version which fills in the gap that normally exposes the back camera. If that's out of your skill range, or you lack access to a printer, or both, then I gather it's not hard to hire that sort of thing. Etsy is also probably a good place to start for one-off non-commercial prints.

Likewise, another alteration of the model might allow you to have a little flange that reaches over the top of the camera and covers the front camera. Since such a flange would be difficult to get in and out of, you'd probably want to remove some other part of the design in order to allow the camera to be slid into place. Removing the bottom would be simplest, but removing the side might make more sense in terms of easy removal.

Another option would be to add the case in 2 pieces, one of them being the bottom, say, 80% (in any event, from the bottom up to somewhere near but below the back camera), plus a top portion, with custom front-camera coverage, that could be slid on and off when camera access is desired. That way you get full 4-corner protection, plus you can easily access the cameras.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:39 AM on October 7, 2019

Best answer: When you say you've tried webcam covers I can't tell if you mean this kind (flat stickers rather than sliding covers) or not. My experience has been that they stay on well, are easy to remove and stick back (I just stick them elsewhere on the phone when I need the front camera), and rarely need replacement. Probably less convenient to remove each time on the back camera, though.
posted by trig at 6:54 AM on October 7, 2019

Best answer: Also if the phone is too slick you could consider using a screen protector (the clear kind you stick on the screen to protect it) which would at least increase the ability to attach things to the front of the screen. They usually have little cut-outs for the camera, but the webcam covers are usually larger and just attach to the screen protector itself. Not sure about the Pixel, but sometimes those kinds of protectors are made for the backs of phones as well.
posted by trig at 7:06 AM on October 7, 2019

Vinyl stickers won't leave residue, are meant to adhere to glass, and can be decorative.
posted by domo at 12:02 PM on October 7, 2019

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