The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are exciting phones with a lot to offer, but they aren’t perfect. In fact, more and more problems both big and small continue to surface. With that in mind, here are some common Google Pixel 2 problems and how to fix them. These apply to the Pixel 2 XL also, including display color fixes.
With our help, you can fix some of the Pixel 2 issues without calling your carrier or heading to a store for support. We’ll continuously update this post with more information as it becomes available.
Whether you need to fix bad Pixel 2 battery life or the phone is frozen, these are the steps you’ll need to take. We’ll help you with multiple issues and offer resources to address them, along with improving the overall phone experience. We’ll also cover recent issues from the Android 8.1 Oreo release.
Google’s Pixel 2 release didn’t go quite as smooth as they hoped, but it still sold extremely well. Millions bought one over the Christmas holiday shopping season. As a result, we’re hearing about all sorts of problems, many of which will get fixed by an upcoming software update. Some of these include freezing, reboots, Bluetooth issues, display problems, display responsiveness, poor color reproduction, audio issues while recording, to clicking noises and sounds coming from the smaller Pixel 2.
How to Fix Pixel 2 Clicking Noises and High Pitch Sounds
An odd problem that’s gaining steam with the smaller Pixel 2, and in some cases the Pixel 2 XL, are clicking, whining, and high-pitch noises coming from the device. This is happening when the screen is on, during phone calls, and other usage scenarios.
After actively looking into this problem, Google released an update on November 6th. This is your typical monthly Android Oreo security update, but they fixed some bugs at the same time. Did these sounds go away for you? If not, head into Settings > Connections > and turn off NFC. This is what you use for Android Pay, but for some reason, it stops the noises.
Several comments at the official Google product forum confirm that turning NFC off fixes the problem. However, we now know the update only fixed the clicking noises, and not the high-pitched whine coming from handsets. There’s also an audio problem while recording inside apps like WhatsApp, and Google’s actively investigating those.
Google Pixel 2 XL Apps That Aren’t Fullscreen
A big part of the new Pixel 2 XL is the massive 6-inch OLED display and small bezels. Google’s using a taller yet skinny design to keep the phone physically small and easy to hold. We’ve seen this from Samsung, LG, Apple, and other manufacturers.
However, there’s a problem with this new 18:9 aspect ratio — apps don’t use the entire display. Pixel 2 owners are complaining about black bars at the top and bottom of apps, in videos, on YouTube and more. Samsung and LG combat this with “app scaling” or fullscreen mode, that stretches apps to use the entire display. However, since the Pixel 2 runs stock Android, no such option exists in settings. Resulting in a similar problem as “widescreen” video a few years ago.
Sadly, we don’t have a fix for this on the Pixel 2 XL. Google updated the YouTube Android app, and pinch-to-zoom will switch the app to fullscreen mode. Other apps don’t have this luxury, and Google didn’t add any changes to the November patch. We’ve reached out to Google and will report back if we hear anything further.
Google Pixel 2 WiFi Problems
Just like we see with almost every smartphone release on Android or iOS, many users are complaining about WiFi. Whether that be speeds, drops or connectivity. This is more of a glitch than a real problem.
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 2 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. Sometimes the restore process from transferring phones messes with the connection.
How to Fix Pixel 2 Display Problems
Perhaps the biggest problem with the Pixel 2 XL is the display. It’s simply not the best screen on the market, even if it’s a nice new OLED screen. We’re seeing reports of blue color shifts, black smear, burn-in, and poor color reproduction or unsaturated colors.
The screen is a brand new 6-inch OLED panel from LG’s display division. Some of the viewing angles and blue color shifts simply can’t be fixed. Google looked into the problems and didn’t find anything we don’t see on any other LED screen on the market. Basically, there’s nothing to worry about.
Google’s simply using sRGB color for the most accurate color reproduction, so the Pixel 2 XL isn’t as bright and vivid as, say, the Galaxy Note 8. The November update added screen color calibration, although it’s only three presets. We still can’t choose completely, but the “Saturated mode” makes the Pixel 2 XL look like a Pixel XL, or the Galaxy S8. Basically, the colors are beautiful again.
Head to Settings > Display > Advanced > Colors > and choose Boosted or Saturated to enjoy a better experience on the Pixel 2 XL. Although, the saturated mode is a little oversaturated in our opinion.
Adding one more problem to the list for the Pixel 2 XL screen is responsiveness. The Google Pixel product forums are filling up with new reports that the right side of the display doesn’t register touches as it should. This is just of more complaint to add to the list. We’re hearing a fix is coming soon, a software fix, from Google. Are you experiencing anything similar? Let us know in the comments below.
Additionally, several reports confirm that after the update to Android 8.1 in December, the touchscreen struggles with taps and swipes. Swiping notifications on the lock screen, home screen, notification bar, quick settings and more aren’t registering. Even swiping up to unlock the phone doesn’t always work for some. We’re seeing a lot of complaints about this here in January, so expect a fix in the near future.
Pixel 2 Bluetooth Problems
With so many devices, brands, accessories and car makers we always see Bluetooth complaints. The original Pixel had a huge problem with Bluetooth, and Google’s still releasing fix after fix with no success. However, we’re hearing android 8.1 Oreo finally fixed it once and for all.
We do have good news though, the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have much better Bluetooth performance. So far I’ve experienced great connectivity, but I’m not the only one with a Pixel 2. 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. Then, try seeing if your car stereo has a firmware update. A lot changed in Oreo, and manufacturers are still catching up. The November update had a bunch of fixes for Bluetooth, as did Android 8.1 Oreo. Are you still facing BT problems?
Pixel 2 Camera Problems
A bright spot for the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL is the camera. These phones take great photos in any situation. So far we’re not seeing any huge issues with the camera, or lens flare like the original Pixel from 2016, but that doesn’t mean some aren’t experiencing problems.
For one, we’re hearing some complaints about the camera app crashing while trying to take portrait photos. Google’s new photo mode that takes beautiful portrait shots with one camera, instead of using two like the iPhone X or Galaxy Note 8. However, a lot of owners can’t take portrait photos with the front-facing camera. Yes, this works on both the front and the back, as long as there’s actually a button to switch to the front camera.
If the Pixel 2 camera app crashes, simply start it up again and keep taking photos. If you turn on portrait mode there is a button to switch to the front camera, for portrait selfies. This works great for some, the switch button is missing for others, and in some cases, it’s what causes the phone to crash. Basically, portrait mode doesn’t always work. This is a software issue. Google can rapidly update the camera on the Google Store, and we’re expecting an update any day now. Additionally, the November update mentions Portrait mode changes too, so that might be fixed too.
How to Fix Pixel 2 Audio Problems While Recording
Over the last week or so we’ve started to see complaints about the audio quality on the Pixel 2 and 2 XL while recording. The phone records amazing video with two different types of stabilization, but the audio isn’t on par with the video quality. From artifacts in the sound file to just poor audio in general. Some users claim the sound will go from great to poor during the same recording. Where it sounds fine, then sounds like a tin-can later.
Google is already aware of potential audio problems during video recording, and have a fix coming with the early November software update. We’re unsure if this first November security patch is it, or if another one is coming soon. Meaning you just need to sit tight for a little longer until the first round of bug fixes arrive. However, we’re hearing you can turn off NFC to fix some of this. Head to Settings > Connected Devices > and turn off NFC. Are you having problems while recording video on the Pixel 2? Let us know in the comments below.
How to Fix Pixel 2 Fingerprint Scanner Problems
Pixel Imprint is fast and accurate on the Pixel 2. Allowing owners to unlock the phone in seconds with a fingerprint. However, we are seeing a few people mention that it isn’t working as expected. If you rushed the registration of your print, had dirty fingers, or put a case on after, you might experience problems.
We recommend owners delete any saved prints and redo them, especially if you installed a case after. Follow the directions during setup and change angles, directions and using the tip of your finger will give you the best results. Don’t just tap in the same space, even if the phone lets you. Save more than one finger, or even the same finger twice for a better success rate when unlocking the phone.
How to Fix Pixel 2 Battery Life Problems
Again, like every phone, we’re getting reports about problems with battery life. This could be due to a lot of things but is likely an app that isn’t working right with the new 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. We’ve put together a guide to get better Pixel 2 battery life, start there.
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, Pixel Launcher, or the Display is at the top. If there’s an app using too much, 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.
Pixel 2 Overheating (or Hot)
Every smartphone gets hot while charging, especially using the fast rapid charging technology with USB Type-C. If your Pixel 2 is getting hot when it’s charging, don’t worry about it.
Fast charging allows our phone to charge from 0-50% in about 20 minutes and gives the Pixel 2 amazing battery life. It’s also what makes it get hot during the recharge process. No, your phone isn’t going to explode like the Galaxy Note 7.
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. Similar to charging the phone while using Google Maps navigation. Head to Settings > Battery > and see if anything suspicious is at the top of the list. If so, uninstall it and contact the developer.
Speaking of charging, the Pixel 2 XL has another frustrating problem. Multiple reports all over the web confirm it isn’t actually using the “fast charging” everyone expected. Pixel phones use USB Type-C power delivery, not fast charging. And while the regular Pixel is super fast, the bigger XL 2 only uses 10w of the 18w of power from its wall plug. The end result is a phone that takes over two hours to recharge, instead of 80-90 minutes. Either something is wrong, or Google is being very conservative with charging to extend the life of the battery. This story is developing, so we don’t have any answers on the Pixel 2 XL fast charging until further notice.
Pixel 2 Notification LED Light Missing
Most Android smartphones have a notification LED light near the top that blinks for incoming calls, texts or notifications. You’ll be happy to know the Pixel 2 has one too, you just need to turn it on and enable it in settings.
We’ve put together a list of the first 10 things owners should do, and that’s one of them. Head to Settings > Search > and type Blink Light and turn it on. Yes, it’s hidden in settings, so just search for Blink Light.
Pixel 2 Missing Text Messages Problem
The update to Android 8.1 Oreo caused a few problems. One of those is missing text messages on the Pixel and Pixel XL from 2016. And sadly, we’re seeing something similar on the Pixel 2 XL. Only at a very small-scale.
For more information on this problem and what to expect click here. Basically, this is one more little bug that Google squashed with recent updates. If you aren’t on the latest firmware, you might experience problems.
Another option is to try a different text message program or try turning WiFi calling off. We’re hearing that worked for some.
How to Fix Pixel 2 Wet Speaker Problems
Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are water-resistant. They have an IP67 rating good for 3ft of water for 20-30 minutes. However, the speaker still gets wet and might sound funny for a few minutes until it dries out. This shouldn’t cause any permanent damage, so don’t worry. Why people test this out just to try it, I’ll never understand.
If your Pixel 2 gets wet and the speaker doesn’t sound right, just wait for it to dry. There is a small grill behind the speaker cutout, and surface tension keeps water out of the device. Gently tap it against your palm to get any leftover water out, let it dry, and you’ll be fine.
However, if the phone is underwater too long, or goes too deep, this water might cause problems. If so, try the old bag of rice trick and the speaker should hopefully work fine tomorrow.
Pixel 2 Reboot & Factory Data Reset
Last but not least we have two other potential fixes for any problem you experience. The first one is to simply reboot your phone. If the Pixel 2 is frozen or unresponsive, press and hold the power button for 8 seconds. This does a hard reset, and it works even if the phone is completely frozen or the screen is off.
Then, a last resort to other problems is doing a factory data reset. This will erase all user data, apps, messages, and content from the phone. A factory reset typically fixes any major issues, software problems and more. It will revert the Pixel 2 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. Again, this erases everything on the phone. Backup all data using many of the tools available, then follow the steps below wipe out your phone.
Head to Settings by pulling down the notification bar and hitting the gear-shaped icon near the top. In settings scroll down System, then find Reset tap Factory Data Reset. The phone will reboot a few times, erase everything, and boot up fresh and ready to go.
After trying some of these fixes are you still having problems? If so, make sure you received the latest Android 8.1 Oreo update from late December. Google had a long beta test, but some might still be waiting for the update. Head to settings > system > system updates > and tap check for updates. You’ll get Android 8.1 from December, or the new January monthly release. This has a slew of fixes and improvements that should improve your experience.
In closing, we don’t know if an Android 8.1.1 or Android 8.1.2 is coming. Right now Google is busy with monthly updates and bug fixes. So, if you’re still facing problems you might be on your own. If we learn more about another update we’ll update with all the details. Otherwise, get ready for Android P sometime in March or April. Again, we’ll continuously monitor the Pixel 2 and update this post as needed.