As we push away from the Android 8.1 release date we continue to hear and see complaints from Nexus and Pixel users running the latest version of Android Oreo. Some of these issues have carried over from the previous versions, some of the problems are brand new.
Google’s latest Android 8.1 build, the March security update, is a small upgrade, but it’s also causing problems for some Nexus and Pixel users.
With that in mind we want to take a look at the most important things to know about the Android 8.1 problems plaguing the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL.
This walkthrough takes you through the current list of Android 8.1 problems, some resources that might come in handy should you run into issues with Android 8.1, and a quick look at what’s next from Google.
Prepare for Android 8.1
It’s tempting to install a new Android update the second it appears for your device. However, some of you (read: non-power users) would be wise to do some prep work before you start the download process.
A little prep work will go a long way toward preventing Android 8.1 issues.
You can’t predict how Android 8.1 will perform on your device. Some of you might see a performance boost, others might run into a host of bugs. This is precisely why you should prepare for this version of Android 8.1 and the new builds Google will release throughout 2018.
We recently put together a guide that will take you through the pre-installation process we use before we install Android software on our Nexus and Pixel devices. We got through the latest Android 8.1 upgrade without any major issues.
If you don’t have a ton of time to spend prepping your device, just be sure all of your files are backed up before proceeding with the current Android 8.1 update build.
Pixel & Nexus Android 8.1 Problems
Some Nexus and Pixel owners are running into problems installing the software. If you’re experiencing issues with the installation process, take a look at our guide. It will walk you through it all.
Installation issues aren’t the only problems popping up for Nexus and Pixel users. We’re also hearing about issues with sound, problems with first and third-party apps, reboots, lag, lockups, severe battery drain, issues with the Camera, fingerprint sensor problems, and various Enterprise issues.
— dKnight (@kabzzy) February 11, 2018
@Android how do I revert to an older OS android 8.1.0 on nexus 6P is eating my battery like crazy! please fix!
— Mary McGloin (@marymcgloin) January 31, 2018
— Paul Whittington (@paulwhittington) January 8, 2018
There’s also a potentially dangerous charging bug lurking on the Pixel XL. While charging, the Pixel XL might try to pull up to 40% more current from the charger. If you’ve noticed your Pixel XL going back and forth between charging and not charging, your charger is shutting off to prevent overcharging.
Fortunately, Google is aware of the issue and it says it’ll roll out a fix to Pixel XL owners in the future. The company did not provide a timeline:
Thank you for submitting information on this bug. Our engineering team has verified a fix that will be rolling out in the coming weeks to prevent this from occurring.
Tests run by our safety engineers have also confirmed that even if a momentary overcurrent draw of the kind described were to occur in normal-use conditions, it would not pose a safety hazard. In addition, Pixel XL was designed with multiple layers of safety protections to further prevent overheating:
- the phone input circuit is designed to carry more than the observed level of current;
- both the battery and the phone have multiple layers of protection to avoid battery and phone overheating and overcharging;
- the in-box charger, as well as any third party chargers that meet safety industry standards (UL and similar), have overcurrent protection.
Head of Safety and Compliance Engineering for Google Consumer Hardware
For now, Google Pixel XL users should stuck to using chargers with good over-current protection. The stock charger is a solid choice so track that down if you can.
We expect to see additional issues popup in the near future as the current Android 8.1 roll out expands.
Where to Find Feedback
Current and prospective Android 8.1 users should keep an eye on feedback as we push away from the release date.
We’re starting to see feedback emerge on social media sites like Twitter and we expect to see Nexus and Pixel users share their thoughts on Android 8.1’s performance on YouTube.
Short-term feedback is useful, but make sure keep an eye out for long-term feedback from Android 8.1 users.
We’ve put together our impressions of the Nexus 5X Android 8.1 update and the Pixel Android 8.1 update, and they’re worth a look if you’re feeling leery about the move from Android 8.0 to Android 8.1 or one Android 8.1 build to another.
How to Fix Nexus Android 8.1 Problems
If you run into Android 8.1 problems on your Nexus or Pixel your first instinct might be to get in contact with Google. That’s certainly an option, but you should try and fix the problem on your own before getting in contact with customer service.
We’ve put together a list of fixes for the most common Android Oreo issues. Our list includes fixes for Wi-Fi issues, Bluetooth bugs, and abnormal battery drain and it’s worth a look if you don’t have any fixes of your own.
If our list doesn’t have the fix you’re looking for, head on over to Google’s official Nexus Help Forums or Google’s Pixel Help forums. There are a ton of knowledgable users over there and you might be able to track a fix down within minutes.
If you haven’t do so already, make sure you get familiar with Android’s downgrade process. Downgrading to an older version of Android could help improve your device’s performance.
At this point, you can’t rely on Google to fix your issues. The company hasn’t confirmed Android 8.1.1 or Android 8.2 so it could be weeks before we see another maintenance release. If we see one.
At this point, the only updates on our radar are the company’s monthly security patches. These updates often deliver bug fixes, but there’s no guarantee.
We expect the next patch, the April security update, to touch down for Nexus devices, the Pixel, and the Pixel 2 sometime early next month. Google typically rolls its security updates out on the first Monday of the month.
The company’s also released an Android P update (dubbed Pistachio Ice Cream internally) for Pixel devices, and it delivers new features, enhancements, and tweaks to the Pixel and Pixel 2.
Unfortunately, it’t not a viable alternative to Android 8.1. Android P is plagued with its own set of bugs and performance problems and those dealing with issues on Android 8.1 are advised to stay away from the beta. For now.
March Nexus 5X Android 8.1 Oreo Impressions
Before we get into an early look at the update's performance on the Nexus 5X, a few notes about the installation process.
If you're currently running the Android 8.1, and we assume most of you are, it shouldn't take you too long to transition from an older Android 8.1 build to this one.
It took us just a few minutes to download and sideload the software onto our Nexus 5X.
We've been using the March Android 8.1 Oreo on the Nexus 5X for a few days now and the update is performing well in key areas including battery life, connectivity, and UI speed.
Battery drain is a common Android problem, but we haven't noticed anything on our Nexus 5X. Battery life is about the same as it was on the last build.
If you do start to encounter battery life issues, take a look at our guide to fixing bad Android Oreo battery life.
We've been able to connect the Nexus 5X to multiple routers including eero mesh Wi-Fi. Speeds are fast and reliable. We've also successfully connected the Nexus 5X to several Bluetooth devices including headphones and speakers.
The Nexus 5X feels snappy with the new Android 8.1 build on board. It's still early, but animations and transitions are smooth and we haven't experienced any lag or general sluggishness.
So far so good. That said, if you're feeling leery, you probably should wait for the OTA. If you're feeling especially nervous, wait for long-term feedback to arrive.