In this guide we’ll go over a list of the most common Google Pixel 3 problems and offer tips on how to fix them. Google’s phones have plenty to offer and a lot to love, but they’re not perfect. The latest Android 10 release fixed most of the issues, but you still might face a few pesky problems.
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 experience each day.
Every month Google releases new software to fix potential security exploits. And lately, those monthly “security patches” have big bug fixes. The March 2019 Android Pie update fixed performance and the camera lag we kept hearing about, and April solved a major screen glitch. Then, we saw more fixes from the November 2019 Android 10 release and a pretty big list of fixes from the February 2020 Android 10 update.
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 poor battery life even after Android 10. Keep in mind that these are small and isolated incidents. Don’t let this list sway you away from an otherwise excellent Android phone.
Pixel 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 you could still face an issue or two. If so, we’ve put together a generic Android 10 problems guide to help you out. Start there. And if the December Android 10 update made your app icons randomly disappear, try this fix.
Additionally, the first monthly Android 10 update in October fixed a few things, and we’re seeing even more improvements here in 2020 from the January and February updates. Google fixed missing notifications, heads-up notifications, WiFi stability, memory leaks slowing down the software, the Pixel 3 bottom speaker, and improved gesture navigation, to name a few. Make sure you’re on the latest release.
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, Android 10 and almost all Android apps were built to handle different screen sizes, so this is a problem you shouldn’t face.
Google Pixel 3 WiFi Problems
Just like we see with almost every smartphone released 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 and buy a better new router. It’s worth noting the August Pixel 3 Android Pie update had several tweaks to improve WiFi performance and connectivity, Android 10 had some, and the October update specifically mentions WiFi for the Pixel 2, Pixel 3, and Pixel 3a family.
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, they added more in the Android 9 Pie debut, and we saw a few small changes to Bluetooth as a whole in Android 10. Are you still dealing with BT issues?
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 and August 2019 updates 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 wasn’t the problem and they’ve since fixed it, but, we saw another “memory” fix in the October 2019 Android 10 release, so they’re still working on things.
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’ve at least received the April update. It specifically addressed this bug. To that point, you should also be on Android 10 and well past the April release from earlier this year.
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 a software glitch that 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.
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 those monthly patches have done a darn good job at fixing bugs each month that users report on. So keep giving Google feedback, and they’ll keep making things better.
How to Fix Pixel 3 Camera Problems
As expected, 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.
Furthermore, 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 to where it crashes every time they try to open it. Sadly, we’re not seeing a fix for that yet.
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. We were hopeful the February 2020 update would address the camera, but it didn’t.
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 the latest Android 10 release. 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.
Now that Google released Android 10 developers need to catch up. Check the app store for updates, and reboot your phone after. Then, 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 workday. It’s also what makes it get hot during the recharge process. This is nothing to worry about.
Pixel 3 Missing Text Messages Problem
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 with your text messages. 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)
We always hear complaints about phones freezing, rebooting or acting funny. And now, the same problem has emerged for the Pixel 3a along with the Pixel 3. 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. I reboot mine once a week. 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 close them all and reboot your phone. We see this daily.
Press and hold the power button and select reboot.
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 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 Google finally fixed it with the July security release. Plus, we’ve seen improvements focusing on the Pixel 3a in each monthly update the last few months.
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 reboot, and it works even if the phone is completely frozen or the screen is off. This does not delete anything.
A hard reboot is a quick and easy fix that basically forces the phone to reboot. Then, doing a factory data reset is actually your last resort, and it should be your last resort. 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. Now that Android 10 is here I’ll probably do a factory reset on my personal device. Again, this erases everything on the phone, so be careful. 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 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 Monday of EVERY month. These are monthly security patches and bug-fixing updates. You’ll want to accept and install these. The first January 2020 update might not come until the second Monday, just keep that in mind.
What’s next though? Well, now that Android 10 is official and on almost all Pixel devices, the next logical step is to improve the overall experience. Even after a long 6-month beta program, now that millions of people are running Android 10 Google will find new issues, bugs, or small problems they’ll need to fix. Then, after that, we’ll get our first Android 11 or Android R beta in March, followed by several betas and a global release of Android 11 in August 2020.
We’ll keep an eye out for bug fixes in each monthly release, fixes from around the web, or new problems that surface as the phones get older. As we see and learn more we’ll share all the details right here.