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15 Common Google Pixel Problems & How to Fix Them

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The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are two great phones with a lot to offer. That said, these phones aren’t perfect, and being over two years old are starting to show signs of aging. In fact, problems continue to plague users around the world, even after the update to Android 9 Pie. As a result, we’ll go over some of those problems and offer tips on how to fix them.

Read: 20 Best Google Pixel Cases

Recent updates have fixed a slew of problems, including a massive December Android Pie bug-fixing update, but it also added new issues. Like Bluetooth glitches, or the Pixel XL not charging properly in Android Pie. We’ll address that and more below.

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Some users are facing WiFi issues, microphone problems, and Bluetooth is still a complaint even after Android 9. There are complaints about lens flare or pink colors and a halo in photos from the 12.3 megapixel camera. Not to mention overheating, slow charging, XL not charging at all, poor GPS and more. There are even some random reports about the battery running out before it says its empty, or phones that stop working completely. If so, try this fix or read on for more details about any and all problems.

Google Pixel WiFi Problems

Just like we see with almost every smartphone 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 that is easily fixed.

pixel-xl-display

If you’re having issues with WiFi our first suggestion would be to turn it completely off, then 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 to Settings > WiFi and forget your wireless network. Then search again and reconnect, put in the password, and try it again. Android 8.1 had a lot of changes to WiFi, Google’s most recent Android Pie update has even more.

Pixel Bluetooth Problems

With so many different devices, brands, accessories and car makers we always see Bluetooth complaints. Personally, my Pixel never had a single issue until I updated to Android 8.0 Oreo. After it, we started seeing widespread complaints on Nexus and Pixel devices.

Some are reporting Bluetooth drops randomly, which has been a problem in the past. The biggest thing we’re seeing is connectivity in cars. Some just don’t want to keep the connection, or it turns itself off. We recommend deleting all Bluetooth pairings and starting over, for the best experience.

The official Android 8.0 Oreo update, then the January Android 8.1 Oreo update finally fixed Bluetooth once and for all. At least, that’s what Google said. We saw a slew of changes to Bluetooth, and most of the big complaints are gone. Google further refined that with Android Pie, so you shouldn’t have any major issues anymore. Try re-pairing all of your devices, and check for software updates on 3rd party stereos from Sony or Pioneer.

Pixel Camera Problems

Aside from the newer Pixel 2, the original Pixel has one of the best smartphone cameras around. It received high scores from independent reviews, and most owners love it. Sadly, there is a small hardware issue with ALL Pixel phones, but early on Google made changes to fix it. Basically, this is a non-issue.

We’re talking about lens flare, which happens on 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.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-12-39-36-pm

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. I’ve yet to notice it since.

If photos are blurry make sure to enable HDR+ and try wiping the camera lens free of any fingerprints. Google released an update in 2016 that fixed the camera, and most don’t have this issue anymore.

Another problem is international models in poor signal areas (no 4G LTE) have a weird camera glitch or artifacts on the display. The Google Support forum has multiple complaints about the camera freezing, artifacts, and blocks on the screen or even pink and purple colors appearing and ruining photos. This is a small limited problem that only happened in specific scenarios. Read all about Google’s fix at the Google product forum.

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. In fact, if your microphone stops working Google will likely replace your phone.

We 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.

While not the microphone, there is another problem with sound. Multiple owners have confirmed at loud volumes the speaker gets scratchy and there’s some sort of audio problems. Some have even received replacement devices as a result. We have good news, the Android 7.1.2 update fixes Pixel audio problems. Google confirmed this was one of many fixes too. They made further adjustments to audio in Android 8.1 for the original Pixel, and the new Pixel 2 XL.

Pixel Overheating

Every smartphone gets hot while charging, especially using the fast rapid charging technology with USB Type-C. Because of the issues Samsung faced recently, all users are getting worried about a hot phone, when they shouldn’t. There is nothing to worry about with your Pixel.

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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 although the phone may get a little hot while charging. Especially if you are gaming or using navigation at the same time.

We 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 to Settings > Battery > and see if anything suspicious is at the top of the list. If so, uninstall it and contact the developer.

Bootloops After Update

If your phone is rebooting over and over again following a recent update, we have a potential fix. This can happen for several different reasons, especially if you don’t have enough battery for it to finish the process. If you’re dealing with bootloops turn off the phone or wait for it to reboot. Once it does, press and hold the power button and when you see the Android logo press and hold volume down.

You’ll see a notification to “boot into safe mode” and you’ll want to press ok. You should see safe mode at the bottom. From here make sure everything works and that apps aren’t crashing. A specific app could be part of your problem. Uninstall any new apps, look for updates again, and reboot your phone.

If you still can’t get the bootloops to stop boot back into safe mode. Now, go to Settings > Backup & Reset > Factory Data Reset and erase your phone. It’s a bummer, but starting over and erasing everything is better than having a phone that doesn’t work at all. This usually fixes whatever caused the random reboots.

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 received a lot of questions about why the Pixel doesn’t have one.

Google's Pixel has a notification LED. It's just disabled out of the box

Google disabled the Pixel Notification LED out of the box, but we can turn it back on.

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 still has some of the best battery life, even if they’re over a year old. 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 the Android Oreo update. We recommend customizing location settings, turning the screen brightness down to around 40% or automatic, and closing big apps you no longer need. The phone is almost 2 years old, so battery degradation could also be a factor.

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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. Typically Android system, Android OS, or the screen is at the top. 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.

We also recommend setting up Battery Saver modes when you’re in a pinch and need extra juice.

Furthermore, a big update in May of this year fixed a few potential charging problems. If you were on the Android P beta you missed those. That said, they’re in the final Android 9 update so you shouldn’t be experiencing anything anymore.

Fingerprint Scanner Problems

The Google Pixel has one of the fastest, most accurate, and easiest to use fingerprint scanners. 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.

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 could be slightly different, so again we 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 is picked up. So you don’t have to constantly tap the scanner on the back. This was left out of the Pixel software at launch but Google added it in recent software updates. Find this under display settings.

Pixel XL Android Pie Charging Problems

For whatever reason Google continues to face problems with charging on the Pixel and XL. Now that the Pixel XL has Android 9 Pie we’re seeing reports about quick charging, and how it doesn’t work. Basically, this is what lets the phone go from 0-50% in around 25-30 minutes.

After Android Pie users are no longer seeing “Charging Rapidly” no matter what charger or device they’re using. Even the official USB Type-C with Power Delivery charger that came in the box. Sometimes phones charge at full speed, other times it’s extremely slow.

We have good news. The October 1st Pixel update will reportedly fix charging issues once and for all. Google is sending out the latest October security patch to multiple devices and it specifically mentions charging. So, check for updates and hopefully you get that battery full faster than before.

Pixel Android 9 Pie Problems & Fixes

Our list of fixes will help you with just about any situation. That said, if you’re looking for information specific to Android 9 Pie on the Pixel or Pixel XL click here. We put together a guide on Android 9 problems and fixes. While you’re at it, this comparison will show you everything that’s new in the latest software for your phone.

At the beginning of each month Google releases software updates. In December 2018 Pixel owners received a slew of bug fixes, and we’re expecting even more in January and February as the launch of Android Q nears.

General Bugs & Problems

Another problem is the Pixel and Pixel XL keep freezing for users. The June Android Nougat update fixed it, according to Google. That said, we started seeing this complaint pop up again after the update to Android 8.1 Oreo in December, followed by more with Android Pie. Are you experiencing any freezing? If so, make sure you’re running the latest August Android 9 update for your phone. Then, look out for the October patch with more stability.

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 are often solved by a reboot.

Owners can easily reboot the phone by long-pressing the power button, and hit “restart”. It will quickly turn off and restart back to how it was before the problems. You shouldn’t need to do this often.

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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 it reboots. This will fix any issue with a frozen or unresponsive device, then make sure you’re running the latest Android release.

Pixel Missing Text Messages Problem

Another common complaint for Pixel owners is the missing text messages thing. For whatever reason SMS messages fail, don’t send, or don’t come in like they should. Having text message problems is extremely frustrating. And now, we’re seeing Gboard typing problems on top of that.

For more information on this problem and what to expect click here. The December 8.1 release added a fix for the KRACK exploit, solved the missing text bug, and overall text reliability. Basically, you shouldn’t be dealing with this anymore. If so, it’s likely something else causing it.

Pixel Factory Data Reset

Last but not least is a factory data reset. This is the 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 major 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.

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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.

Expect more changes and bug fixes to arrive with each monthly update, or with the big Android P release later this summer.

What Next?

After trying some of these fixes are you still having problems? Let us know in the comment section below.

So what’s next? That of course, is the first few big bug-fixing updates to Android 9 Pie in January or February. Google released Android 9 in early August after a long beta period. And while they had plenty of time to test things, once millions of people got the update more issues emerged. Now that they have, Google will quickly address any and all of them. Like the charging fix in the October patch, and the WiFi issues in the December patch.

Additionally, if there are too many problems we could see Google release Android 9.0.1 or even Android 9.1, but we don’t expect to see that until early 2019, if at all. Stay tuned for more details and good luck.

10 Best Google Pixel Screen Protectors

InvisibleShield Glass for Pixel XL

InvisibleShield Glass for Pixel XL

 Zagg is a pioneer when it comes to screen protectors. Being one of the first years ago to offer durable and safe protection for our phones. And they continue to do so in 2016. This is an InvisibleShield Glass screen protector made of hardened, re-inforced and strengthened glass just like what comes on the phone. From the company behind Zagg. 

It's extremely resistant to scratches and damage just like the stock Gorilla Glass on the Pizel, and will act as a second layer of protection. If for whatever reason it gets a scratch, chip or crack, remove it and the phone is as good as new. Zagg is one of a few brands we always turn to for screen protection.

Reviews suggest it doesn't cover the entire screen, which is by design as the glass has a slight curve on the edges. This is to prevent the "halo" effect many see on iPhones. It also makes the screen protector case friendly so it doesn't get pulled up and wasted. Keep that in mind before ordering. 

Buy it Now from Verizon for $39.99

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Brennon

    11/27/2016 at 3:33 pm

    I am having some pretty serious issues. My pixel is only 3 weeks old and it constantly restarts by itself. The manager at verizon restarted in safe mode and it still messed up. It started acting up first when during phone calls, I couldn’t hear them and they couldn’t hear me. The “phone” app also started freezing and that prompt would pop up that you get when apps crash and become unresponsive. I am getting a replacement but fear it will do the same as this phone has snowballed into a catastrophe for me.

  2. Max Power

    12/02/2016 at 1:13 pm

    I love the swipe option using the fingerprint reader. It’s disabled out of the box, but can be turned on by going to Settings > Moves > turn on “Swipe for notifications”.

  3. Vipul

    12/10/2016 at 3:50 am

    Why SHAREit is not played in Google pixel

  4. JOE WARREN

    12/12/2016 at 3:26 pm

    not to poo poo your article but come on…if you’re spending a ton of money on this phone the wifi should work out of the box! i mean in today’s world wifi is kinda the most important part of the things aside from making calls…having to do these small tips is stupid in my opinion. if you’re watching a movie or other and have to constantly reset, safe mode, toggle, etc…thats a cop out. google needs to figure this out plain and simple. its embarrassing. i just returned my pixel as google themselves said that we should wait 48 hours to see if it works itself out…this coming from google? dumb. there is an issue with the radio…samsung sgs6 works great, why cant google, or better yet htc make the radio work correctly? this is a cop out in the 1st order…and what about the headphone jack? the damn thing doesn’t connect flush to the phone and pops out. really???

  5. ammy96429

    01/02/2017 at 3:43 pm

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  6. Jaedon

    01/08/2017 at 2:53 am

    Has anyone else had the problem where when connected to a wifi router (ADSL Broadband), that it causes severe drops in internet speed for the phone and other devices?

  7. SB

    01/22/2017 at 10:25 am

    We are experiencing freezing, mic and audio completely out and overheating at the same time. Any help? Thanks!

  8. CS

    01/30/2017 at 9:31 pm

    Microphone issues! I’m on my 2nd Pixel, and this one has the same problem. I think everything is fine until the person I’m talking to starts asking if I’m still there. It’s so hit and miss that Verizon or Google could not get it to duplicate, so neither really wants to believe me. This would be a great phone if it worked all the time. One solution Verizon offered was to use a Bluetooth headset when talking. WHY would I need another gadget to use a $700 phone?

    • Shivam Patel

      02/06/2018 at 11:50 am

      My mic has also not been working. Super frustrating and the support line didn’t really offer good support

  9. RegretsHisPixel

    02/14/2017 at 2:08 pm

    This phone sucks. I wish I could have a windows phone instead. I gave it a chance…everyone said: This is the single best phone on the market, give it a month. Well I did. And I regret it.
    1) notifications do not sort.
    2) most of the time, no notification sound when I get a new text (sometimes I DO get a notification, but no sound)
    3) DND mode gets turned on by the most random things: in a call, turn on speaker phone, ok. now turn it off. Oops you are not in DND mode and won’t go away when the call ends. Hope you noticed your phone doing this, or else: doom on you!
    4) My screen just turned on. But I don’t have a new notification.
    5) Where is my wireless charging? How is this not standard?
    6) Can I customize something? Anything? I could customize EVERYTHING on winphone. Even changing it to working with google products (except for drive). Oh, but then GOOGLE disabled support for winphones and blamed windows. Hackers used change logs to prove it was google’s active decision (not just an accident). No one cared. No one brought google up on anti-trust.
    7) Slower than my Nokia 928 when it comes to actually doing anything.
    8) Plenty of bars, other person on the call can’t hear me – can’t hear anything. I’ve been muted. Muting and unmuting does not fix it. Going in and out of speaker phone does not fix it. I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone in a 911 call.

    There are two good things about this phone:
    1) The number of apps (And yet, the apps I switched to android for, no support for pixel…yes, it was a baby tracking thing) – however, back in phone land, I had all the apps I needed. No app I’ve found makes me more productive, or feel like the phone is mine. But I’ve found endless time wasting games. If I cared just about apps, any samsung phone has more available apps (at least, when I search for an app, my wife on her samsung can always get it, but me on my pixel only about 2/3 of the time).
    2) Super Rapid charging. It is the best feature on this phone. I refuse to call it lightning charging. Lightning implies near instant. This is just super fast! But this in no way makes up for the lack of wireless charging.

  10. Steve Metzke

    02/26/2017 at 8:35 pm

    I am frequently muted during calls. I can hear them, but they can’t hear me. Finally had to go back to another phone. Please fix this. I am on Verizon and have had Verizon send me new sim cards…. still mutes.

  11. Jeanne BilleciJr

    03/09/2017 at 7:08 am

    yes I’m one of the many Pixel owners having mic problems. I switched out the phone in January and the new phone has the same problem. Pixels team is trying to figure out our but if they don’t soon they’ll need to own up to the problem and replace it again. During a call the phone mic at any time can stop working and the people on the other end cant hear me. Google asst can’t hear me half the time.

  12. Susan L. Flowers

    03/13/2017 at 2:01 pm

    I am having problems with my keyboard not typing correct letters and then putting another word in. My “a” won’t work half the time. I have tried just about everything. I have already sent my “brand new Pixel” back and they sent me a used one (that made me mad) but now my keyboard doesn’t work.
    I am ready to get my Samsung back!!

  13. Susan Flowers

    03/13/2017 at 2:08 pm

    I am having problems with my keyboard not typing correct letters and then putting another word in. My “a” won’t work half the time. I have tried just about everything. I have already sent my “brand new Pixel” back and they sent me a used one (that made me mad) but now my keyboard doesn’t work.
    I am ready to get my Samsung back!!

  14. S. Flowers

    03/13/2017 at 2:08 pm

    I am having problems with my keyboard not typing correct letters and then putting another word in. My “a” won’t work half the time. I have tried just about everything. I have already sent my “brand new Pixel” back and they sent me a used one (that made me mad) but now my keyboard doesn’t work.
    I am ready to get my Samsung back!!

  15. Rps

    04/03/2017 at 8:26 am

    I bought my Pixel phone in October 2016, had a protective screen put on by Verizon (where I purchased the phone). One month​ later a bubble showed up at top left hand corner, went back and Verizon replaced it. It’s been 5 months and I’ve had to replace my screen protector on average every month. I’ve had 5 different screen protectors​ including 3 of the highly recommend Zagg screen protectors. Why is so difficult to keep a scree protector on this phone? I’ve tried everything!!! Is anyone else having this issue?

  16. Craig williams

    04/13/2017 at 8:10 am

    On my second Pixel XL. And again having mic problems. This one seems to be getting progressively worse. I’ll be talking to someone (us old dudes still do those kinds of things) and suddenly the person on the other end can no longer hear me. I can hear them just fine. It doesn’t matter if it’s on speaker or not and toggling doesn’t help. I have relatively few apps on my phone. I’ve done all of the fixes suggested and still get cut out of the conversation. It’s very annoying.

  17. Francesca

    10/31/2017 at 3:16 am

    My Pixel has been a disaster!
    Where do I start…
    – Constant restarts for no reason
    – My microphone cut out after a month or so, cannot make phone calls or record videos 99 times out of 100 (I have never dropped the phone in water)
    – I’ve had to factory reset it at least 3 times to try and sort out the issues with the microphone and phone calls
    – Phone locks itself and goes black when I ring anyone, the call does not connect
    – Apps always shutting down for no reason, including chrome, camera and snapchat
    – As for the camera, the lighting is always affected when the camera is on selfie mode, and I haven’t used it at all, as my skin and the image looks orangey and dimmer than it should.

    I have been into my phone store, and was told to have an online chat with a Google advisor, who suggested a factory reset, and software update (which I had done already).
    When this didn’t work I was told to take the phone BACK into store, and wait for a replacement, which could take up to four weeks.
    I can’t afford to be without my phone for 4 weeks so it’s a bit frustrating
    Hoping to just power through until the end of my 2 yr contract….

  18. Melissa

    12/14/2017 at 5:35 am

    Like some said above I am not getting text messages and my notification sounds are not working. Last night it wasn’t even ringing when people were calling me. This all seemed to start after the 8.1 update. It’s super frustrating cause it’s the purpose of having a phone. Anyone have any helpful tips?

  19. Terry

    12/17/2017 at 7:49 pm

    I’m having audio problems during calls…the other y party can hear me, but I can’t hear them. It’s a brand new phone (1 month old), and it’s not the volume. If I’m on Bluetooth in my car, using headphones, or on speaker phone, I can hear fine; the problem is only when I’m trying to have a “normal” call with the phone held up to my ear. I did a factory reset when it was only about a week old, which solved the problem, but now the same problem has occurred again. Otherwise, I love my Pixel 2 XL, so I’d prefer to get this resolved rather than have to replace the phone.

  20. Diedre MIKKELSON

    01/21/2018 at 4:25 pm

    Missing texts, freezes during texting, Google calendar app stops working, random notification of voice mails, can’t use it while charging, screen bounces around. I was really excited about this phone, but I’m feeling more & more frustrated

  21. Why

    03/02/2018 at 1:51 pm

    So my phone has an unknown app on it that keeps causing issues. Most common issue is after I dial one call and try to place a second call, there is a long delay until the call screen opens and the phone actually makes the call. Another issue is for incoming calls when using the phone for inter thins. The incoming call drop down is unresponsive but yet the rest of the screen is. Anyone else having these problems? Right now if I use the phone in safe mode it seems to be stable. I’ve deleted all apps I don’t use and every new app I’ve downloaded in the last year. Not sure which remains app is causing the issue. The thing that really sucks is that I want all remaining apps on the phone because I use them. And before anyone asks, the software and all the apes are up to date.

  22. Aaron in "THE D"

    08/27/2018 at 11:43 am

    My Pixel (2016) has been a mess since I performed Verizon’s OTA Android PI update. Major lag and crashing issues. Incoming calls will ring, but I will not see them for about 5 seconds. Screen will freeze if I try to answer. If I make a call, the app will stick on “calling” but the other person will pick up and will not be able to hear me, nor can I hear them. Microphone on Google assistant no longer works. I have done 2 factory resets with no luck. Verizon told me too bad and that I should have paid for the extended warranty. They just want me to buy a new phone. I explained that it was their push that caused the issue, but they don’t seem to care. I am going to make a last ditch effort tonight to call Google and beg for help.

  23. happy wheels

    10/02/2018 at 12:04 am

    15 Google Pixel issues that you say I often encounter. How to overcome them very well. Thank you for the great article.

  24. JOHN ALEXANDER

    12/01/2018 at 10:48 pm

    With the new updates to Pixle in the last couple weeks I’ve had issues with attaching pics to SMS or emails. It wont go to my main image folder and I cant seem to acess it. Why? it was fine before.

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