The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are powerful phones with plenty of cool features, but they aren’t perfect. In fact, multiple small but frustrating problems continue to plague owners. Even after monthly software updates. With that in mind, we’ll walk you through some common Google Pixel 2 problems and how to fix them. These apply to the Pixel 2 XL also, including how to adjust the display colors.
With our help, you can fix some of these Pixel 2 problems without calling your carrier or heading to a store for support. You can do most of these fixes at home in a matter of minutes. Then, we’ll continuously update this post with more info 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 or 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, and fixes from the big April Android 8.1 update.
Now that Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are about six months old and received a few updates, we’re hearing about all sorts of little problems. M0st are easy to fix or will get fixed in upcoming software updates from Google if they didn’t fix them already. Some of these problems include freezing, reboots, Bluetooth issues, display problems, display responsiveness, fingerprint scanner problems, poor color reproduction, audio issues while recording, to clicking noises and sounds coming from the smaller Pixel 2.
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’re seeing a lot of reports that it isn’t working as expected. Additionally, a slew of reports and complaints surfaced after the Android 8.1 update in December.
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.
However, those are typical recommendations for your average fingerprint scanner problems. If you recently started having trouble after the Android 8.1 Oreo update, we have a solution.
The latest March 2018 Android 8.1 Oreo update for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL specifically fixed this problem. In fact, you’ll want the most recent software, because these are the three main Pixel 2 bug fixes that were included.
As you can see, Google fixed some issues with unlocking the phone and using the fingerprint scanner. This includes the speed and overall performance. The April update took this even further and improved speed and latency while unlocking and opening your phone. Then, you’ll also notice two other extremely important changes, one of which we’ll talk about more below. Head to Settings > System > System Update > Check for updates to get the latest software right now.
Google Pixel 2 XL Apps That Aren’t Fullscreen
One of the best aspects of the 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 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, Google doesn’t have a similar control or customization option in settings on the Pixel 2. Even the latest Android 8.1 update doesn’t include one. Resulting in a problem like “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. We’ve reached out to Google and will report back if we hear anything further. Otherwise, email your favorite app developer and ask them to support the new aspect ratio.
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. However, complaints are on the rise after the February Oreo update.
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. As in, turn your phone off and then back on.
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. Most of the complaints over the screen went away after the first month or two, as Google improved the production supply chain. If you’re still not happy with the colors, keep reading.
The screen is a 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 confirms the screen performs like similar AMOLED panels. 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. Google fixed this in December, but then added another problem at the same time.
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 still, so expect more information soon. We’re hoping the improvements to unlocking the device in the March update took these complaints into consideration. If not, you’ll have to wait for the April release.
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 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 April Android 8.1 Oreo security update had a few patches specifically for the Pixel and Pixel 2 camera. Make sure you’re running the latest software.
How to Fix Pixel 2 Audio Problems While Recording
We still 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 on.
Google is already aware of these audio problems during video recording and fixed some in November, then the rest with the March 8.1 Oreo update. That’s one of three key bug fixes from the March software. If you’re still experiencing issues head to Settings > Connected Devices > and turn off NFC. That gets rid of some of these sounds. Are you having problems while recording video on the Pixel 2? Let us know in the comments below.
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 Android 8.1 Oreo. 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. And finally, make sure you’re running the April Android 8.1 update for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Google specifically improved performance, battery life, and stability. Some users on Twitter are reporting substantially better battery life.
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 Freezing or Acting Funny
As we wind down, we want to talk about one more problem that we’re seeing a lot of complaints about. That’s random reboots, freezing, and just funny behavior in general. Both the original Pixel XL and the newer Pixel 2 had a lot of freezing issues in January and February, likely from Google’s 8.1 release.
Don’t worry though, because Google addressed this specifically in April. The changelog mentions improved stability, performance, crashes, and crash reporting. If your phone keeps rebooting it’s either an app misbehaving, you’re not on the latest stable software, or something else is going on.
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, doing a factory data reset is the final straw, the last resort for fixing problems. 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 monthly Android 8.1 Oreo update from Google. Head to Settings > system > system updates > and tap check for updates. You’ll get Android 8.1 from April, May, or whatever month it is. And yes, the check for updates button actually works now.
What’s next though? That of course, is Android P which is only available as an unstable early developer preview beta. Get it by clicking here. We’re expecting a more stable 2nd version in May at Google I/O next month though. Then, Google will slowly release updates until it’s 100% ready in August or September. This is either Android 8.2 P or Android 9.0, but we’re not sure which. The beta only just started, so expect to learn more throughout 2018.
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, bug fixes, and P. So, if you’re still facing problems you might be on your own. We do have some Android 8.1 fixes you can try, too. If we learn more about another update we’ll share the details here. Again, we’ll continuously monitor the Pixel 2 and update this post as needed.