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15 Common Google Pixel 3 Problems & How to Fix Them

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If you’re dealing with Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL problems we’ll help you fix them. While Google’s phones have plenty to offer and a lot to love, they’re not perfect. Several updates fixed small problems over the last year, but a few remain. So, here are the most common Pixel 3 problems and how to quickly get rid of them.

Whether you’re dealing with audio issues, phone call problems, performance issues, a laggy camera, need to fix bad Pixel 3 battery life or the phone is frozen, this is a great place to start. We’ll help you with multiple issues along with improving your overall device experience.

Every month Google releases new software to fix any potential security exploits. And lately, those monthly “security patches” have bug fixes and improvements. The January monthly update had some important tweaks, the March Android Pie update fixed performance and the camera lag we keep hearing about, and April solved a major screen glitch.

However, we continue to hear about freezing issues, random reboots or crashes, Bluetooth (again), charging problems, fingerprint scanner issues, audio recording, the camera not saving photos and other camera problems, RAM or memory issues and more. Keep in mind that these are small and isolated incidents. Don’t let this list sway you away from an otherwise excellent Android phone.

How to Fix Pixel 3 XL Apps That Aren’t Fullscreen

The big Samsung OLED on the Pixel 3 XL is one of its best features. However, the taller and skinny screen might cause a few problems. This is nothing new, but some apps won’t take up the entire screen. Especially with that notch.

Pixel 3 XL 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. Even the latest Android 9 Pie 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 yet. Google updated the YouTube Android app, and pinch-to-zoom will switch the app to fullscreen mode. Other apps don’t have this luxury. That said, most apps along with Android 9 are built to handle different screen sizes, so this is a problem most shouldn’t face.

Google Pixel 3 WiFi Problems

Just like we see with almost every smartphone release on Android or iOS, many users are complaining about Pixel 3/XL WiFi. Whether that be speeds, drops or connectivity. This is more of a glitch than a real problem.

How to fix Pixel 3 WiFi Problems

  • First, Toggle WiFi Off/On
  • Try rebooting your phone
  • Reset your home router
  • Go to Settings > WiFi and forget your wireless network(s)
  • Then, connect 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 take more drastic measures.

How to Fix Pixel 3 Fingerprint Scanner Problems

Pixel Imprint is fast and accurate on the Pixel 3. 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. We saw similar complaints with the Pixel 2 XL last year. This is due to a variety of things.

First, delete any saved fingerprints and do them again and make sure the sensor and your hands are clean. This is especially true if you recently added a case. Don’t just tap in the same spot, even if the phone lets you. Move it around so the sensor gets as much data as possible.

Some users suggest saving the same main finger more than once, giving the Pixel twice as much data to unlock more accurately and faster.

How to Fix Pixel 3 Bluetooth Problems

Almost every Pixel or Android phone has an owner complaining about Bluetooth. And while we’re already seeing Pixel 3 Bluetooth complaints, it’s just the nature of the game. There are thousands of accessories and products, tons of different phones, and sometimes they don’t communicate with each other that great.

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. Google claims Android 8.1 Oreo finally fixed Bluetooth problems, but they might have to address a few in upcoming Android 9 Pie updates too. Just redo your connections for now. Plus, the March update specifically mentions “Bluetooth stability & reliability” got “fixed”.

Pixel 3 Memory (RAM) Problems

Perhaps the biggest problem so far is the memory issues plaguing almost everyone with a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL. Whether you call it RAM problems, memory leaking, or just multi-tasking or performance problems, it’s all the same. More specifically, where the Pixel 3 won’t keep apps in the background. Even apps like YouTube Music or Spotify randomly close, as apps aren’t staying open in the background.

Essentially, Google’s 4GB of RAM isn’t quite enough and the software closes apps running in the background to keep new apps and other processes fast and smooth. This should 100% not be happening, and Google released a fix with the December 3rd update. More information is available here.

Apparently, some software tweaks finally fixed this once and for all, so get the latest software and hopefully this goes away. Furthermore, the March 2019 update added more changes to improve storage and camera performance, load times and more.

That all said, some people are still experiencing overall performance problems where the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XL are just laggy. A huge thread on Reddit recently surfaced suggesting that Google’s own Digital Wellbeing app is the culprit. Here’s another forum post where users claim substantially better Pixel performance once they disable wellbeing. However, Google promises that Digital Wellbeing isn’t the problem, but something else was, and it’ll get fixed in the June monthly update.

How to Fix Pixel 3 and 3XL Display Issues & Colors

This year the Pixel 3 XL has a beautiful Samsung OLED display that’s one of the best on the market. That said, it isn’t perfect either. The colors weren’t as vibrant as some wanted, and we saw reports of a weird flashing from the always-on display. Here’s how to fix both.

Head to Settings > Display > Advanced > Colors > and choose Boosted or Saturated. Google gives owners a few different profiles to choose from.

Then, if you’re still having always-on display flashes of light, glitches, or weird screen issues while unlocking the phone make sure you get the April update. It specifically addressed this bug.

How to Hide the Pixel 3 XL Notch

We know it’s a question people will ask, and we’re here to help. If you want to hide the big notch in the Pixel 3 XL screen here’s how. There are a few hoops to jump through, like turning on developer options, so follow the steps exactly as outlined.

  • Go to Settings > System > About Phone > Scroll down and tap on Build Number 8 times
  • Once you see a popup that says “You Are Now a Developer” hit Back
  • In Settings > System > Advanced you’ll see a new choice for Developer Options near the bottom, click that
  • Scroll down until you see Drawing > tap on Display Cutout and choose Hide.
  • You’re welcome!

Pixel 3 XL Two Notch Problem

Another problem we’re seeing is the Android 9 Pie software actually adds a second notch to the Pixel 3 XL screen. One is bad enough, but two is a deal-breaker. This is nothing more than a software glitch, but we’re seeing multiple reports of it happening.

Welcome to Notch City!

Follow our steps in the last section to unlock the developer options menu, then take control over the notch on your phone. You can also reboot the device to get rid of it. If this keeps happening at random, which it is for some, stay tuned for an upcoming software release. Google is aware of it, so expect a bug-fix within the next few weeks at the latest.

How to Fix Pixel 3 Audio Problems While Recording

At launch, the Pixel 2 had a lot of issues with the quality of audio during a recording. Unfortunately, we’re seeing similar complaints about the new Pixel 3 and 3 XL. It’s like Google didn’t learn its lesson. 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.

We have some good news though. The January 7th 2019 Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL update fixed it. Each month owners can expect new software with the latest security and patches, and this month they fixed the sound complaints we’ve heard for the last few months. Get the update, record a video, and let us know how it sounds.

How to Fix Pixel 3 Camera Problems

As expected, the Pixel 3 has one of the best cameras on the market. It does some truly amazing things while you’re taking photos. That said, what’s the point of a great camera if it doesn’t save your photo? Yes, a lot of people are reporting photos simply don’t save after being shot.

If your Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL isn’t saving photos we have a potential fix. Go to Settings > Search for Doze > and turn off any battery optimizations or Doze controls on the camera app. Disable anything messing with the actual camera application. Apparently, some of Google’s aggressive battery-saving features aren’t playing nice with the camera. This is a temporary fix.

It looks like an update on October 22-23rd fixed the photos not saving problem. Not just for the Pixel 3, but the Pixel 1 and 2 also.

However, we’ve still continued to hear complaints about the camera crashing, struggling to take portrait photos, or force closing when people switch to the selfie cam. Not to mention people everywhere are reporting the camera is slow, laggy, and can take upwards of 4-5 seconds to open sometimes, and they miss photos completely. If so, the March Pixel 3 Android Pie update should finally fix your camera problems. Make sure you’re on the latest software.

How to Fix Bad Pixel 3 Battery Life Problems

Surprise, surprise, like every other phone on the market, we’re seeing complaints about battery life. This could be due to a lot of things but is likely an app that isn’t working right with Android 9 Pie. 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 3 battery life, so start there.

However, the best route is to head into settings and make sure something isn’t wrong, and that an app isn’t draining more battery than it should. 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.

How to Fix Pixel 3 Charging Issues (Overheating, etc)

Every smartphone gets hot while charging, especially using the fast rapid charging technology with USB Type-C. If your Pixel 3 is getting hot when it’s charging, don’t worry about it. If you’re actually experiencing charging problems, that’s something else completely.

Fast charging allows your Pixel to charge from 0-50% in about 20 minutes and gives the Pixel 3 enough juice for the rest of the night or a busy work day. It’s also what makes it get hot during the recharge process. This is nothing to worry about.

Pixel 3 Missing Text Messages Problem

The update to Android 9 Pie caused a few problems. One of those is missing text messages on everything from the original Pixel to the new Pixel 3 XL. It’s odd, and we’re not 100% sure the cause.

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 download a different text message app or try turning off WiFi calling. We heard that fixes the problem for some.

Pixel 3 Freezing or Acting Funny (How to Reboot A Frozen Phone)

Another problem we’ll hear plenty over the next year or two is the Pixel 3 XL freezing, rebooting, or acting funny. And now, the same problem has emerged for the Pixel 3a. People need to remember that smartphones are computers, and if you haven’t rebooted your phone in 6 months it’ll probably be laggy. Hard crashes and reboots try to save stuff to memory too, so it’ll often reboot to the same laggy state.

Basically, to improve stability, performance, crashes and freezing try rebooting your phone. Also, go into Google Chrome and look for a number in a box near the top right corner. That’s how many Google Chrome web browser tabs you have open. If you have like 30, you should reboot your phone. We see this daily.

Press and hold the power button and select reboot. Do this at least once a week for the best results.

How to Fix Pixel 3 Wet Speaker Problems

Google’s Pixel 3 and 3 XL have an IP68 dust and water-resistant rating. Good for around 30 minutes under 5+ feet of water. However, the speaker grills still get wet and might sound funny for a few minutes until they’re dry. This shouldn’t cause any permanent damage, so don’t worry.

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 3 Android Q Problems

In March of 2019, Google released its first Android Q beta which will likely arrive as Android 10 in just over a month, in August. For now, this is beta software and you should know that it has problems. That’s expected when you download early “beta” software that isn’t finished. Even the latest 4th beta has a few bugs.

That said, we still put together a quick Android Q beta problems and fixes guide for those experiencing anything. As the beta program progresses they’ll fix these bugs, so hang tight. Otherwise, you can revert back to Android 9 Pie or wait for the 5th beta in early July.

Pixel 3a & Pixel 3a XL Problems

While they’re technically completely different devices, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL are very similar to the original models. They have the same software, same camera, and similar internals. Basically, most of these fixes can help you fix Pixel 3a problems.

For now, the biggest issue we’re seeing is the Pixel 3a keeps shutting off or restarting on owners, sometimes up to three times a day. That’s frustrating, to say the least. So far we have no answer to this problem, although we heard turning off WiFi prevents the reboots. We saw something similar on the Pixel 3, also related to WiFi, which Google quickly fixed. Basically, hold on and Google will fix this in the next update on Monday, July 1st.

Pixel 3 Reboot & Factory Data Reset

Last but not least we have two other potential fixes for any problem you experience. The first one is to hard reboot your phone if it’s completely frozen. If the device is not only struggling but completely unresponsive, try this. 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 last resort to fix 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 3 back to the way it was the day you bought it.

This is the best route to take for any big problems, and actually something I do once a year after major platform software updates. So, like when the Pixel 3 gets official Android Q later this year. 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.

What Next?

After trying some of these fixes are you still having problems? If so, make sure you received the latest monthly Android 9 Pie update from Google. Head to Settings > system > system updates > and tap check for updates. You’ll get an update or two the day you get the Pixel 3, and another during the first week of EVERY month. These are monthly security patches and bug-fixing updates. You’ll want to accept and install these.

What’s next though? That of course, is the jump straight to Android Q or Android 10. And while you can try the beta, we recommend waiting until the 5th beta in July before trying it on your daily device. For those wondering, here’s what to expect from Android Q.

We’ll keep an eye out for bug fixes in each monthly release, fixes from around the web, or new problems that surface as more people get the phone. As we see and learn more we’ll share all the details right here.

If you’re experiencing a different problem let us know what it is in the comment section below. Before you go, buy a Pixel 3 XL screen protector and then enjoy all the cool things this phone can do.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Mukund Giri

    11/19/2018 at 4:46 am

    Spend a lot of money to invite a lot of problems to solve!

    • Brian Scofield

      12/24/2018 at 8:15 pm

      The Pixel 3 XL is garbage, it freezes and becomes unresponsive about 5 times a day, and I need to hold the power button till it reboots. I had a Pixel 2 XL and had 0 problems with it, I gave my Pixel 2 XL to my wife when I got my Pixel 3 XL. People say the freezing problem is because it only has 4gb ram, same as my Pixel 2 XL that had, and still has, never had a problem…

      • Richard Kerns

        01/19/2019 at 9:11 am

        Same problem here. 3 times today before 10am. 1st one was Alarm Clock at 5:30am but I think it froze last night because the charge % was the same this morning as it was last night. Next 2 times was Whats App. The phone was off, came on when I got a message to a small message screen and locked. As normal I had to shut off then back on, then ok. About 1 time in 10 I have power off and restart. Getting annoying but doesn’t take much time to recover.

        • Cylenthia

          04/01/2019 at 8:34 pm

          Same for me! I have to restart my Pixel3 XL regularly because it just stops connecting to the internet. It does not matter whether I am running on mobile date or WiFi. It just stops/freezes and will not connect! It is truly aggravating. However, I was having the same problem with my Pixel 2 XL, which is one of the reasons I upgraded. Now, I am just doubly frustrated! In addition, I had continuous problems with my Bluetooth in my truck with my old phone and with the 3XL. Now, I ahve a brand new truck and the problem seemed resolved at first, but in the past few days, it is back! ARGH!!!!!!!

  2. Stacy Sehnert

    02/20/2019 at 9:14 pm

    I recently upgraded to the Google Pixel 3 from the 2XL due to a sudden charging port failure…not even 2 months after warranty is void. My issue with new phone is a notification of Android 9 update…4 days in a row, 1-2 times a day!! How many times do I have to restart my phone…

  3. Al

    03/06/2019 at 6:54 am

    Waste of money, Pixel 3 camera is constantly closing and can’t take pictures, there’s no talk about it neither support from Google :( even with the March update.

  4. francis

    04/02/2019 at 8:12 am

    Have a Pixel 3 that was purchased directly from Google in late November 2018. Phone continues to have the following problems regardless of updates or fixes 1) bright flash occurring e.g., incoming emails, 2) dropped calls regardless if it`s being used in the house (WiFi) or outside on Mobile Data 3) tinny sound. Phone is running on version 9 and only has two apps loaded in addition to My Verizon, carrier is Verizon.

    The bottom line is IT`S.A.PHONE, first and foremost the phone function needs to work 100%. Who cares about the camera when phone calls are being dropped and there`s not a clear solution being provided.

    If I had realized I was going to be having this many problems, I don`t think I would have bought the phone.

  5. Bryan Cooper

    04/22/2019 at 12:11 am

    My Pixel 3 XL just deleted hundreds of photos from my phone with no prompt or warning. I’m on a family vacation and had not backed up hundreds of photos. They’re just gone. And I’m not the only one having this problem. https://support.google.com/photos/thread/1528048?hl=en
    Google support was kind but completely unhelpful. They just blamed 3rd party apps, and took no responsibility for the phone allowing such actions. This is a major bug. As many people are buying this phone for it’s camera, Google should take issues like these more seriously.

  6. Dave Oehmke

    05/01/2019 at 6:47 am

    My Google phone just died again and I can’t get it to power back up. This is the second one to do this in the last several months. Is there some issue or a solution to fix this? I will take this phone back to Verizon and they will mail it back and have them send me a new one. I’m concerned that there is a quality issue that needs to be addressed.

  7. T Mase

    05/02/2019 at 1:22 am

    My Pixel 3 is overheating without any heat at all, just lying around. It shuts off and I’ve been getting the same warning each time it boots up. It will not stay on longer than a minute.

  8. Evelyn

    05/03/2019 at 12:21 pm

    Pixel 3 screen sensitivity is driving me crazy. Have to press multiple times or have to completely restart the phone in order for it to work properly.

  9. Nicholas

    05/21/2019 at 7:54 am

    Pixel 3XL is the best phone I have ever owned overall. I am not happy about smaller battery than I thought it should have but it lasts much longer than expected. Phone is quick, snappy and is almost everything a premium phone should be. Photos are excellent. There are some small wishes I think they should have done but I’ve had many phones and this has been the best so far.

  10. Carol

    05/21/2019 at 7:14 pm

    I only have this one issue with my Pixel 3..I’ll be talking to someone and all of a sudden they will say, “ Are you there, I can’t hear you.” So, I can still hear them but they can’t hear me. This happens a lot. Brand new phone and Verizon just replaced it for me..it’s still happening. My son says that it’s a firmware issue that should be corrected with an update or whatever you it’s called. I’ve done all updates. Help!! I’m fed up and sorry I switched from Iphone to google.

  11. Greg McDevitt

    06/06/2019 at 5:34 am

    I am the sometimes proud owner of the Google Pixel 3 XL. Here’s what happened to me- I’m working on my computer at home and suddenly my phone goes dark! Wouldn’t respond to ANYTHING! Took it to the local Verizon counter to no avail. Their solution was to order me a new phone that I would receive the next day. Now, that’s great if I were a teenager. But I’m not! My phone, like most of you, is my lifeline to business, social, etc. Without it I’m cutoff. With frustration, I accepted the ordered new phone and went home. This morning my “Dark” Google Pixel magically came to life! It’s now working fine. I can not have that happen again!

  12. Sara

    06/15/2019 at 7:16 am

    I have one problem with my google pixel 3A phone that is,the crazy pop ups!! It will play advertisement full volume when I have all sound off very very annoying. I was told I could do a trial basis and return my phone if I did not like it, I went back to the store and said I did not like it because of pop ups. Then I was told if I wanted a different phone I would have to pay extra cuz it had no deals going on for the phone that I wanted back which was and iPhone.

  13. Jamie

    07/07/2019 at 6:49 am

    HELP! The Pixel 3 camera when trying to record video is constantly and rapidly zooming in and out now. The video appears massively shaky even when it’s on a tripod. What can I do? I’ve seen others complain about this and yet no real answers that I can tell yet. Thanks!

  14. Mary Fletcher

    07/08/2019 at 3:10 pm

    I purchased Google pixel 3 in February. I have a 30 second delay when calling or receiving a call. Did the restart,spoke to tech guy. No help. Still hearing”Are you there? Hello?” I would like a new phone. This one is still under warranty.

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