Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
So you’re having a few problems with your new Google Pixel? There’s no need to panic. All smartphones, especially new ones, have their fair share of issues, bugs, and glitches, from the unique to the familiar. Of course, if you’ve just spent a large sum of money to acquire Google’s phone, there’s no doubt you want it to be in perfect, working condition. We can help with that.
Below, we’ve detailed multiple problems that Google Pixel owners have experienced, as well as as a few potential solutions and workarounds to deal with them. If you’re having a Pixel problem, this list will help you get your smartphone back in working order.
Problem: Pixel won’t charge or isn’t charging correctly
Some Pixel owners on Google’s product forums have reportedly been unable to charge their Pixel phones. In other cases, the phone does begin charging, but it’s not as responsive or quick as it should be.
- Try a different wall outlet, the one you’ve been using may be faulty.
- Try your charger with another device. If it doesn’t charge the other device, the charger may be faulty and you’ll need a replacement.
- Restart your Google Pixel.
- Clean the Pixel’s charging port.
- Connect your phone to power and wait about a minute:
- If you see a battery icon, your phone is currently off, but is charging. You can restart it.
- If there’s a red light, the battery is fully discharged. Charge your phone for at least 30 minutes before restarting it.
- Press and hold the Volume down and Power buttons for about 20 seconds. If you see the Android mascot and the word “Start” with an arrow around it, press and hold the Volume down button until you see “Power Off.” Use the Power button to select it, then charge your device for 30 mins. Restart your Pixel.
- If none of the above solves your issue, reach out to Google.
Issue: Poor Wi-Fi connection or no connection
Another common problem with smartphones is being unable to get, or maintain, an internet connection. There are several threads on Google’s product forums full of people having this problem. Fortunately, the solutions for other devices can also be applied to the Google Pixel, and Google Support also has some suggestions.
- Restart your device.
- Go to Settings > Wi-Fi and toggle the feature off and on.
- Make sure Airplane mode is turned off. If it’s already off, turn it on, then off again.
- Remove the network you’re trying to connect to by going to Settings > Wi-Fi, then select the network. Tap Forget to remove it. Re-add it and try connecting once again.
- Reset your network settings: Settings > More (Under Wireless & Networks) > Network settings reset > Reset settings.
- Restart your router and modem.
- An app could be causing the problem. To check you need to boot your phone into Safe mode. Start by pressing and holding the Power button, after a moment, a box should appear, touch and hold Power off. You’ll see the message “Reboot to safe mode.” Tap OK and your device will start in safe mode. The words “Safe mode” should be seen in a box at the bottom. While in safe mode, attempt to connect to Wi-Fi again. If it works, restart your phone to exit safe mode, then uninstall any recently installed apps one at a time, checking your connection after every uninstall, until Wi-Fi works. After finding the app causing the problem, you can reinstall the other apps you removed.
Issue: Unable to send or receive texts or messages from contacts
- As always, try restarting your phone.
- Makes sure none of the contacts you’re trying to message are blocked. Have your contacts unblock you as well. To check your blocked contacts, open your Messenger app, then tap More (the three horizontal dots) > Blocked Contacts. If the Blocked Contacts option isn’t there, you haven’t blocked anyone.
- If your previous smartphone was an iPhone, you’ll need to turn off iMessage before you can send and receive messages on your new Pixel. If you still have your old iPhone, turn it on, then go to Settings > Messages and toggle iMessage off. If you no longer have that iPhone, you can ask Apple to deregister the number associated with iMessage.
Annoyance: Pixel restarts, freezes, or crashes constantly
Uncontrollable restarts, freezes, and crashes are something you definitely don’t want to happen while in the middle of using your smartphone., as supported by this 500+ post thread, and these other threads. There are a number of things you can try to resolve the situation, from simple restarts and software updates, to revisiting safe mode.
- Check for a software update: Settings > About phone > System updates.
- Update your apps: Open the Google Play Store app, then tap Menu (in the top left corner) > My apps & games. Apps that can be updated will be labeled Update. Tap Update for a single app or Update All for all apps.
- Your device could start having more issues if you have less than 10 percent storage space. Check how much storage you have by going to Settings > Storage & USB. Consider deleting older apps, photos, music, and other media to free up space.
- Force close apps you’re not currently using by going to Settings > Apps, then choose an app and tap Force stop.
- An app could be causing the problem.
- To check, you need to boot your phone into Safe mode. Start by pressing and holding the Power button. After a moment, a box should appear, touch and hold Power off. You’ll see the message “Reboot to safe mode.” Tap OK and your device will start in safe mode. The words “Safe mode” should be seen in a box at the bottom.
- If you experience no crashes, restart your phone to exit Safe mode, then uninstall any recently installed apps one at a time. After finding the app causing the problem, reinstall the other apps you removed.
- Reset your phone to the factory default settings:
- Before you actually reset your phone, back up your important data and files.
- To perform the factory reset, go to Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset > Reset phone > Erase everything. Choose to restart your device once everything has been erased, and restore it using the back up you made. Note: You’ll need to input your pattern, PIN, or password to start this process, so make sure you know it beforehand.
Issue: Phone gets hot or unusually warm
There are multiple threads here with people reporting the Google Pixel becomes hot or warm during use. This is pretty common if you’re doing something demanding, but it shouldn’t happen during normal use. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent your Pixel from overheating, without going through a complete overhaul to change how you use your phone.
- Lower your display’s brightness by going to Settings > Display.
- Consider going without your phone while it’s charging. Heavy usage while charging can lead to an uncomfortably hot phone.
- Download fewer things over Wi-Fi or using your cellular connection such as 3G/4G.
- Close apps that aren’t in use, such as games or other resource-heavy features or apps.
- Reduce how often you use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot or for tethering.
- Boot your phone into safe mode. If it doesn’t get hot, the problem could be with a recently installed app.
- Reach out to Google if you’ve tried all of the above and the problem persists. It could be a hardware issue.
Problem: Various Bluetooth issues
Similar to the Wi-Fi problems described above, Bluetooth is a feature that users often run into problems with, regardless of the smartphone. The Google Pixel doesn’t break this particular streak, but there are several things you can try to fix or improve your connection to your headphones, car, etc.
- The first, and easiest, thing you should try is restarting your phone, as well as whatever device you’re trying to connect to.
- Check for a software update. Back in October, Google said they’re aware of the issues and a solution rolled out in February’s update. Check in Settings > About phone > System updates.
- Go to Settings > Bluetooth (under “Wireless & networks”) and make sure Bluetooth is on. On this screen, you can also pair/unpair devices, touch the Settings icon to configure a paired Bluetooth device, or tap Menu (three vertical dots) > Refresh to refresh the current Bluetooth devices list.
- On your phone and, if possible, the device you’re attempting to connect to, delete any previous Bluetooth profiles that may be interfering. This includes new ones made when trying to pair the Pixel.
- Boot your Pixel into Safe mode and try pairing again. If it works as expected, an app may be causing the problem. Restart your phone, then proceed to delete any recently installed apps until your Bluetooth connection works.
Problem: Fingerprint scanner not working
The Google Pixel, like other smartphones, has a fingerprint scanner that can be used as an additional way to secure your device. Unfortunately, there are some cases where the scanner doesn’t read a fingerprint correctly, or at all. It’s not as widespread of a problem as others explained here, but it has sparked threads on Google’s product forums and the Android Central forums.
- As always, try restarting your Pixel, then using the scanner again.
- If you’re using a phone case, remove it and try the scanner again.
- Go to your settings and delete previously made fingerprints, then redo the fingerprint setup process again. Consider registering the same finger multiple times, but at different angles. If you have a phone case, remove it before scanning your finger, as the case may interfere with the angle of your scan.
- Check the scanner itself and clean the area around it. Considering cleaning your own hands as well. Dirt, dust, and other debris can keep the scanner from working as intended.
- Boot your phone into Safe mode. If you’ve been unable to register a fingerprint, you should be able to do so in Safe mode.
- If the problem still persists, reach out to Google Support. It may be a hardware issue.
Problem: Poor battery life
Some people are noticing their Google Pixel battery draining much faster than it should be, even when the phone isn’t being used extensively. In some cases, the battery indicator has gone from 25 percent or 30 percent to 0 percent, resulting in an abrupt shutdown.
- To see which apps are using your battery the most, head to Settings > Battery and you’ll see a list of apps and other services, with the percentage of your battery that each app has used next to it. Tap an app or service to get further details and change options to, hopefully, save some battery life.
- Force close or uninstall apps that are using too much battery. To Force Close, go to Settings > Apps > Pick an app > Force stop > OK.
- Buy a battery pack.
- Consider adjusting your location settings, lowering screen brightness, and tethering less often.
- Turn on Battery Optimization, which will make apps less active when you’re not using your phone, or when you haven’t used the app for a few days. Turn this feature on at Settings > Battery > More (three vertical dots) > Battery Optimization. Tap the down arrow > Not Optimized to show all apps that haven’t been adjusted for battery saving. Tap an app to change > Optimize > Done.
- Enable Battery Saver Mode by going to Settings > Battery > Battery Saver. You can toggle the feature on/off, or have it turn on automatically when your battery is at 5 percent or 15 percent. Note: This particular mode limits Google Maps navigation, vibration, location services, most background data, email, messaging, and more until they’re opened.
- Perform a factory reset. Back up your precious files first, then go to Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset > Reset phone > Erase everything.
- Reach out to Google. You phone’s battery may be faulty.
Annoyance: Audio popping and clicking
People on this thread have reported audio popping when playing audio or video from various sources, such as YouTube, Chrome, Google Play Music, and other apps. Changing headphones, using Bluetooth, and playing audio directly from the speaker doesn’t address the issue, and the audio popping still persists.
- A security update released in early February contained a fix for the audio popping. Google is keeping an eye on the issue, but for the time being, update your Google Pixel and XL to apply the changes. To do so, check in Settings > About phone > System updates.
- Some have had success with removing the popping by not playing their audio and videos at max volume.
- If the app you’re using has equalizer settings, or a mixer, some have recommended setting it to Normal or turning it off. With Google Play Music, setting the streaming quality to Normal can also help.
- Reach out to Google Support for repairs or a replacement device.
Problem: Unable to make calls. No audio from caller or receiver
When answering an incoming call, the caller and receiver are unable to hear one another, and the phone app will occasionally lag when answering or ending a call. This robust thread on the issue was started in December, and people continue to run into this specific problem.
- Restarting the phone has fixed the issue for a time.
- Turn off Bluetooth by going to Settings > Bluetooth and toggling the setting off. Your phone may be connecting to a nearby device it has connected to in the recent past.
- If turning off Bluetooth isn’t enough, turn off Bluetooth scanning as well. You can adjust these settings by going to Settings > Personal > Location > Recent location requests. Disabling this feature will prevent your phone from constantly searching for nearby Bluetooth devices.
Problem: Camera freezes, grid lines, and unusual pink/purple colors appear
A number of people in this thread are having issues with the Pixel’s native camera app. The camera occasionally freezes during use, and can freeze the entire phone when taking screenshots. There are also times when very noticeable grid lines appear, as well as blocks of pink and purple. Force stopping the app, clearing the app’s cache, and deleting/reinstalling the app have all been attempted, with no success. Taking a picture or video while the camera is in this state can still result in an unaffected image, however.
- The Google Pixel Community manager has said that Google is working on a fix for this problem, so it’s likely that a future software update will address the issue. As of January 31, Google continues to work on it, as it has become a priority.
- Many users have resorted to using third-party camera apps, and have found success doing so. Apps like Open Camera are available for Android Devices and can basically replace the Pixel’s proprietary Camera app.
- If you have a lot of pictures and videos on your phone, you can try backing them up, then deleting them from your phone. Thread user Steven Hutchison said the problem went away after he did this, but it may have been a coincidence.
- Perform a factory reset and try the camera app again.
Problem: Microphone doesn’t work or has stopped working
Look no further than this thread on Google’s product forums for proof that quite a few people are without functioning microphones on their smartphones. For some, the microphone doesn’t work at all, while others have discovered that it only works when recording video or with certain apps, including Facebook Messenger and Snapchat.
- Like the aforementioned camera problem, Google is working on a fix for this particular problem. As of January 24, Google is still working on getting a fix out, but has suggested people reach out to Google Support to have their device repaired or replaced.
- Restarting the device has helped a few people, but only for a short amount of time.
- Turning off “OK, Google” has been said to temporarily fix the problem. Touch and hold the Home button, then tap More > Settings > “OK Google” Detection. Toggle off Say “Ok Google’”any time.
- A factory reset has helped some users. Try performing one then using the microphone again.