The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are two of the best Android smartphones available in 2016, but they aren’t perfect. As more users get Google’s new phone additional reports about problems are starting to surface. With that in mind below are some common Google Pixel problems and how to fix them.
On October 4th Google unveiled its own smartphones. Two devices made inside and out by Google. Aiming to take on Samsung or Apple with a refined top-tier device. We gave it high praise in our review, and we weren’t the only ones.
Following Black Friday and now that millions own the device and it has been available for two months, more issues are being found. Most aren’t anything major, and some will be fixed with an upcoming update. Either way, owners will want to read on for some helpful tips and suggestions.
Overall most Google Pixel owners are reporting an excellent experience. From a world-class camera, stunning battery life better than most Android devices, to a beautiful screen and more. Running on Android 7.1 Nougat refined by Google it’s one of the best Android experiences on the market.
However, not everything is bright and happy in Google land. Some users are facing WiFi issues, microphone problems, and Bluetooth seems to be messed up in Android 7.1 again. There are complaints about lens flare and a halo in photos from the 12.3 megapixel camera, overheating, slow charging and more. Not to mention the bigger Pixel XL is sold out and out of stock virtually everywhere. Still, in December.
That aside, the release has been very smooth for Google. It’s available from Verizon in stores and online, at Best Buy, and unlocked for everyone on the Google Play Store. Reports suggest it was the most popular smartphone during Black Friday.
Google’s Pixel has been available for nearly two months, and these are the problems we know about right now. Here’s what we’re hearing, what we know, and a few potential fixes for any problems.
Google Pixel WiFi Problems
Just like we see with virtually every smartphone release on Android or iOS, a lot of users are complaining about WiFi. Whether that be speeds, drops or connectivity. Typically this is just a little glitch and will be fixed in a matter of seconds.
If you’re having issues with WiFi our first suggestion would be to toggle it off and back on. Slide down the notification bar and tap the WiFi quick setting tile at the top. Then turn it back on and try to connect. If this still doesn’t help a quick reboot usually solves the problem.
That said, if you’re still experiencing Pixel WiFi problems it’s always a good idea to reset any home routers or modem. Another option is to head into settings > WiFi and forget your wireless network. Then search again and reconnect, put in the password, and it should be better.
Pixel Bluetooth Problems
With so many different devices, brands, accessories and car makers we always see Bluetooth complaints. Personally my Pixel connects to my headphones with ease, blasts music on my UE Megaboom consistently, and works great with Android Auto in my Toyota Tacoma.
Some are reporting Bluetooth drops randomly, which was a big problem in Android 6.0 that Google eventually fixed. The biggest thing we’re seeing is connectivity in cars. Some just don’t want to keep the connection. We’d recommend deleting all bluetooth pairings and starting over, for the best experience.
Users with Android 7.1 on Nexus devices are having the same problems, and Google confirmed they’re working on a fix. If Bluetooth is a mess for you, hang in there. A recent update rolled out at the end of November with fixes, so it’s worth trying Bluetooth again in December.
Pixel Camera Problems
Google claims the Pixel and XL have the best smartphone camera on the planet. It received the highest score ever from independent reviews, and so far most owners absolutely love it. Sadly, there does seem to be a hardware issue with ALL Pixel phones, but Google can and will fix it with a software update in the coming weeks.
We’re talking about lens flare, which happens on virtually all cameras. Especially expensive DSLR’s. That’s why big lenses come with hoods to block out reflecting light. Some users are seeing a flare of light in photos, or a ring. Many use this for artistic purposes, but it’s happening more than it should on Pixel.
This is due to a variety of reasons, and Google promises that it’s nothing to worry about. Personally, out of over 300 photos only two of mine experienced this in just the right situation.
Either way, an update in the near future from Google will make software changes that will “fix” this on the fly, in photo processing on the device, and remove (or reduce) lens flare. If photos are blurry make sure HDR+ is enabled, and try wiping the camera lens free of any fingerprints.
Another thing appears to be international models in poor signal areas (no 4G LTE) have a weird artifact problem. The Google Support forum has multiple complaints of the camera freezing, artifacts and blocks on the screen, or even pink and purple colors appearing and ruining photos. This appears to be a small limited problem only happening in specific scenarios, and Google is already working on a fix. More details can be found here.
Pixel Microphone Problems
Our microphone on two Pixel XL devices work just fine, but this Reddit thread is full of complaints. Apparently sometimes the microphone just stops working or acts funny. This is an issue we’re not hearing too much about, but some have received replacements over the situation.
We’d recommend starting a phone call to voicemail and turning speakerphone on and back off. That should toggle the microphone and fix any issues. Another idea is to perform a factory data reset, although that will erase everything from your device. Those with microphone problems may want to get a replacement. Are you facing problems with this? Let us know.
The Galaxy Note 7 got so hot while charging and had a faulty battery that some exploded and caught fire. That will not happen to your Pixel. Every smartphone gets hot while charging, especially using the fast rapid charging technology with USB Type-C. Because of Samsung issues all users are getting worried about a hot phone, when they shouldn’t.
It’s what allows our phone to charge from 0-50% in about 20 minutes, and gives the Pixel amazing battery life. Fast charging is a great feature most owners love, but it does mean the phone may get a little hot while charging. Especially if its being used for gaming or navigation at the same time.
We’d recommend just using one of the great cases we linked to at the top of the page, and you won’t feel the charging heat. At the same time there could be an app misbehaving that is causing the device to stay awake. Thus using too much power and heating things up. Head into Settings > Battery > and see if anything suspicious is at the top of the list. If so, uninstall it and contact the developer.
Pixel Notification LED Light Missing
Most Android smartphones have a notification LED light near the top that blinks for incoming calls, texts or notifications. It’s something many Samsung users love. We’ve been getting a lot of questions about why the Pixel doesn’t have a notification LED.
It does though, it’s just disabled by default. Follow this guide to enable the notification LED, and customize it with an app called Light Flow for the best experience. The phone uses a feature called Ambient Display, but some users prefer the old style. Carry on.
Pixel Battery Life Problems
In our testing the Google Pixel XL has some of the best battery life of any Android smartphone on the market. Pair the 5.5-inch screen with its huge 3,450 mAh battery and it should last everyone an entire day if not more.
As with every phone because everyone uses them differently, some are having problems with poor battery life. This could be due to a lot of things, but is likely an app that isn’t working right with Android 7.1 Nougat. We’d recommend customizing location settings, turning screen brightness down to around 40% or automatic, and closing big apps you no longer need.
However, the best route is to head into settings and make sure an app isn’t draining your juice. Head to Settings > Battery and see what’s at the top of the list. It should be Android system, Android OS, or the screen. If there’s an app at the top, something isn’t right. Uninstall it, disable the app, or tap on it and hit “Force Close” to kill an app that’s draining the battery. Another idea is to setup and use Battery Saver mode for when you’re in a pinch.
Fingerprint Scanner Problems
The Google Pixel has one of the fastest, most accurate, and easiest to setup and use fingerprint scanners around. That said, if you didn’t set it up right or saved a print before adding a case, it might not work 100% of the time.
For the most part you shouldn’t have any fingerprint scanner problems. If so, try going into settings and deleting any saved fingerprints and redoing the process to set it up. If you’ve installed a case the angle may be slightly different, so again we’d recommend redoing the entire process. Make sure the scanner is clean and free of dirt, and same goes for your fingertips.
On a semi-related note, previous Nexus devices had a feature where the screen would turn on when the device was picked up. So we didn’t have to constantly tap the scanner on back. This was left out of the Pixel software, and should be included in the next software update to improve the user experience. The more you know.
General Bugs & Problems
Of course some users may have other small problems here and there. Like screen glitches or rotation, lag, app crashes, or other minor things that can often be solved by a simple reboot. Actually, most problems I get asked about daily can be solved by rebooting the phone.
Owners can easily reboot the phone by long-pressing the power button, and hitting “restart”. It will quickly turn off and restart back to how it was, and most issues should be fixed. The Pixel is fast and smooth so this shouldn’t be something you’ll do often, if ever.
If the Pixel is completely frozen, do a hard reset. Simply press and hold both power and volume up at the same time, and hold for about 10 seconds until the device is forced to reboot. This will fix any issue with a frozen or unresponsive device.
Pixel Factory Data Reset
Last but not least is a factory data reset. This is a last resort, as it will erase all user data, apps, messages, and content from the phone. This typically fixes any major issues, software problems and more. It will revert the Pixel back to the stock out of the box state.
This is the best route to take for any big problems, and actually something I do after every big software update for a fresh start. Keep in mind it erases everything on the phone. Backup all data using many of the tools available, then follow the steps below wipe out your phone.
Head into Settings by pulling down the notification bar and hitting the gear-shaped icon near the top. In settings scroll down to Backup & reset and then tap Factory Data Reset. The phone will reboot a few times, erase everything, and boot up fresh and ready to go.
Google’s new Pixel phone has only been available for a few weeks. Any small little problems, bugs or issues will be fixed with the first software update which should arrive in early November. If we learn about anything else or when the update is coming we’ll confirm the details right here, so stay tuned.