The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL still have plenty to offer for being over two years old, but they’re not perfect. In fact, a few small and frustrating problems continue to plague owners after or because of the Android 10 update. With that in mind, here are some common Google Pixel 2 problems and how to fix them.
With our help, you can fix most Pixel 2 problems right from home without calling Verizon or heading to a store for support. Whether you need to fix bad Pixel 2 battery life, your phone is frozen, or the camera is acting up, this is a great place to start.
While some people are having a great experience, others are dealing with a problem or two. Some of these issues include freezing, reboots, camera failure on Android 10, Bluetooth issues, display problems, display responsiveness, charging problems, fingerprint scanner glitches, poor color reproduction, audio issues while recording, to clicking noises and sounds coming from the device.
Don’t let this list scare you, as you might only have one problem or none. Plus, several of these were already fixed by Google. If you’re frustrated and want something new, consider the affordable Pixel 3a XL.
Pixel 2 Android 10 Problems
First things first, Google squashed a ton of bugs with the Android 10 update. After a long 6+ month beta period, it runs pretty great, but we are still seeing reports about silly Pixel Android 10 problems. Mainly sensors like the Active Edge (squeeze feature) not working, tap-to-wake and even frustrating things like auto-rotate struggles.
It’s now 2020 and Pixel 2 owners are still dealing with auto-rotate issues and the camera crashing on Android 10. We’re still getting monthly updates from Google, and the March 2020 update was supposed to fix the camera, but we’re still seeing complaints. We do have a generic Android 10 problems guide to help you out. Start there, then just wait for the next update which arrives on the first Monday of every month.
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 8.1 Oreo update. Google fixed it eventually, but you still might have other issues.
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.
July and August 2019 updates made a few changes specifically around the fingerprint scanner, too. Make sure you’re on the latest software. Head to Settings > System > System Update > Check for updates to check right now.
Google Pixel 2 XL Apps That Aren’t Fullscreen
One of the best aspects of the Pixel 2 XL is the big 6-inch screen and small bezels. Google’s using a tall and 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. 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 released iPhone’s included, many users are complaining about WiFi. Whether that be speeds, drops or connectivity. This is more of a glitch than a real problem.
Steps to Fix WiFi Issues on the Pixel 2
- First, Toggle WiFi Off/On
- Try rebooting your phone
- Reset your home router
- Go to Settings > WiFi and forget your wireless network
- Then, reconnect and re-enter the password for a fresh start.
These are a few of the steps we try and recommend first. Toggle it off and back on, maybe reboot your phone, reset your router, or even buy a new router. Typically WiFi problems are not the phone, but something else at your home or office. The October Android 10 update made several changes to WiFi in Android as a whole, we saw more with the early 2020 February update, which should have fixed WiFi issues.
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 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 about 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.
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 S9. 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.
Even swiping up to unlock the phone doesn’t always work for some. We’re seeing a lot of complaints about this still, even if Google fixed it last year. Just make sure you’re on the latest software available, otherwise, consider a replacement device.
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.
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, Google said they “finally fixed” Bluetooth issues in Pie, and we saw a few changes with the arrival of Android 10 as well.
Google delivered big improvements with the December Android update. Recent monthly updates have addressed audio quality, stability, connection, and even unlock performance while connected to BT accessories.
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. Initially, these phones didn’t have any camera problems, but the update to Android 10 caused some issues. More notably, the December 2019 Android 10 update wrecked the camera for a lot of Pixel 2 and some Pixel 3 owners.
We are still waiting on a fix from Google for the Pixel 2 Android 10 camera issues in March of 2020.
Next, we’re hearing some complaints about the camera app crashing while trying to take portrait photos. Google’s portrait photo mode takes beautiful shots with one camera, instead of using two like the iPhone Xs or Galaxy Note 9. 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. You can try going to settings > apps > camera and force-closing the camera app, or even clearing the camera app data and cache. This fixed the December problem for some people, but not for others.
Basically, we’re still waiting for more information from Google regarding the camera issue.
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.
At this point, you shouldn’t have audio issues, as Google fixed them all. If you’re still experiencing issues head to Settings > Connected Devices > and turn off NFC. That gets rid of some of these. Otherwise, you might need a replacement device.
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 10. 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 latest Android 10 update for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. 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.
We recommend just using one of the 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. Are you still dealing with slow charging speeds?
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 to 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 10 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. Whatever changed caused this, and we still see it being reported from time to time.
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.
Don’t worry though, because Google addressed this specifically in April and May. 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.
However, there is still a growing group of people complaining about overall performance with the Pixel 2 even on Android 10. Google’s looking into this and claims an update is coming soon.
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’re on the absolute latest software from Google. Head to Settings > system > system updates > and tap check for updates. Google sends new software out at the beginning of each month.
What’s next though? Well, now that Android 10 is official and on most Pixel devices, the next step is to improve 10 and squash bugs. Even after a long 6-month beta program, we’re seeing new problems arise now that millions of people have the update. Google’s first few big monthly updates fixed things, but expect more to keep coming. What’s actually next is Android 11 later this year, and you can try the early Android 11 Developer Preview now if you dare. It’s not meant for regular customers, not yet, but it’s there if you’re willing.
So, if you’re still facing problems you might be on your own until then, or consider a new device. Maybe snag the Pixel 4 XL or wait for the Pixel 4a. Or, consider one of these excellent budget phones. In closing, drop us a comment below with any other questions or concerns.
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