The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are two great phones with a lot to offer. That said, these phones aren’t perfect. In fact, now that they’re more than a few years old problems continue to plague users, even after the update to Android 10. So, here we’ll go over those Pixel problems and offer tips on how to fix them.
Recent updates fixed a slew of problems, including a few important ones this summer, but as these phones approach being 3 years old new issues are starting to emerge. Like Bluetooth glitches, gesture control problems, or the Pixel XL not charging properly. We’ll address that, Android 10 problems and more below.
Some users are facing WiFi issues, microphone problems, and Bluetooth is a constant complaint. There are comments 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.
Pixel Android 10 Problems
In March of 2019, Google released its first Android Q beta which officially arrived as Android 10 in September of 2019. Your Pixel should already have the update and got a few quick maintenance updates to improve the Android 10 experience.
Unfortunately, even after a long beta, we’re still seeing reports about silly Pixel Android 10 problems. Mainly sensors tap-to-wake, gestures, screen brightness issues, in-call display sensors and even frustrating things like auto-rotate aren’t working. So, we’ve put together a generic Android 10 problems guide to help you out. Start there, or keep reading for other common issues.
Furthermore, make sure you’ve received the latest October Pixel Android 10 update. Google made some big changes to stabilize and improve Android 10, and most of those small bugs should go away.
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.
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 last few monthly Android Pie updates in 2019 did too. If you’re having problems, even with Android 10, try redoing and resetting your network settings.
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 3, the original Pixel still 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.
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. At this point, if you’re having mic issues you might need a new phone.
Every smartphone gets hot while charging, especially using the fast rapid charging technology with USB Type-C. There is nothing to worry about with your Pixel.
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.
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 pretty good battery life, even if it’s over 2 years old. Pair the 5.5-inch screen with its big 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 Pie 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 pretty old too, so battery degradation could also be a factor.
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 2018 fixed a few potential charging problems. Then, the latest Android 10 release has all of Google’s battery-saving measures in place, so it should be lasting longer than ever before.
However, keep in mind that when a phone starts to get this old the battery cell is old too. That means it may not charge to 100%, or you’ll drop down to 85-90 really fast, and battery life just isn’t as good as it was 30-months ago. That’s simply how the technology works, so maybe it’s time to get that new Pixel 4 XL.
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. Then, change the angle, pressure, and direction of your finger often during the learning phase, so it gets the best reading possible.
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. We left this information in this post, as not everyone updates right away. We recommend you always run the latest software, which right now is Android 10, but if you’re running an old Android Pie release, you could be dealing with some odd issues that simply go away with up-to-date software.
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 Android Pie, and again with 10. Shesh. Are you experiencing any freezing? If so, make sure you’re running the latest October Android 10 release for your phone. Then, look out for the November 4th 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.
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. Maybe try a new texting app.
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.
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 10 Q update later this year. If your Pixel is really old, consider getting the Pixel 3a or 3aXL, or even the Pixel 4 in October.
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 updates to Android 10 that will address any new bugs or issues we’re seeing. Google’s latest software isn’t perfect, but now that more people are using it they’ll have more information to gather and rapidly deploy bug fixes. This October Pixel Android 10 update is a big one, and Novembers will be too.
Last but not least, make sure you’re always on the latest software, always. The first Monday of every month is when new security and bug-fixing patches arrive, and it’ll stay that way for the long haul. So, just make sure you’ve checked for updates lately. In closing, at this point, the phone is getting a little old and you may want to consider getting the Pixel 4 or OnePlus 7T in the near future.
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