Common Google Pixel problems and the solutions to deal with them

Kyree Leary
Digital Trends
google pixel problems xl
google pixel problems xl

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 newfangled phone, there’s no doubt you want it to be in perfect, working condition. We can help with that.

More: Learn the ins and outs of your Google Pixel with these helpful tips

Below, we’ve detailed multiple problems that new 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 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.

Potential solutions:

  • 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.
  • 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. Fortunately, the solutions for other devices can also be applied to the Google Pixel.

Potential solutions:

  • 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

After upgrading or migrating to the Google Pixel, some owners have realized that they’re unable to send or receive texts or messages of any kind from their contacts.

Potential solutions:

  • 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 or crashes constantly

Uncontrollable restarts and crashes are something you definitely don’t want to happen while in the middle of using your smartphone. There are a number of things you can try to resolve the situation, from simple restarts and software updates, to revisiting safe mode.

Potential solutions:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

In some cases, the Google Pixel has been said to become 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.

Potential solutions:

  • 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.

Potential solutions:

  • 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. Earlier this month, Google said they’re aware of the issues and are working on a solution.
  • 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.

Potential solutions:

  • 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. 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.

Annoyance: Screen doesn’t rotate

Depending on the orientation of the Pixel, the screen is supposed to rotate to better fit whatever is currently on the display. For some, however, the screen has stopped rotating automatically, making it harder to view what’s on the screen.

Potential solutions:

  • Restart your phone.
  • Open Quick Settings (swipe down from top of the screen) and make sure Auto-Rotate has been enabled. Alternatively, go to your accessibility settings and enable the feature there.
  • Go to Settings > Display and adjust the “When device is rotated” Visibility setting. Note: This option will be unavailable if Auto-Rotate is off.
  • Go to Settings > Developer Options (under “System”) and toggle it off. If this option isn’t there, you don’t have it enabled.
  • Test your phone in Safe mode. If it works as intended, an app may be the cause of the problem.
  • Consider performing a factory reset. Back up everything first, then go to Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset > Reset phone > Erase everything.
  • If the problem continues, contact Google.

Issue: Unable to update software

The Google Pixel and its apps need occasional updates to perform better, introduce new features, and be more secure. Some Pixel owners have reported being unable to update the software on their devices, because the update either fails or doesn’t appear for download.

Potential solutions:

  • Restart your phone, as it has been known to fix many smaller problems.
  • If an update fails, there’s really no need to try triggering it again. According to Google, your smartphone will “automatically try again over the next few days.”
  • Go to Settings > About Phone > System Updates to check for a new software update for your Google Pixel. You can also go to Settings > About Phone and scroll to Android version to see which version of Android you’re using. You may not see an update because you already have the latest one.
  • The update may not install because you need more space. When this is the case, you should get a notification saying, “not enough space available.” Go to Settings > Storage > Manage Storage > Free up space now. Tap the empty boxes to the right of your content to select it for deletion, then tap Free Up at the bottom to delete everything you selected.
    • You can also set your phone to delete things automatically. Go to Settings > Storage > Manage Storage and turn Smart Storage on.
    • You can free up even more space by tapping Remove backed-up photos & videos.
  • You can also set your phone to delete things automatically. Go to Settings > Storage > Manage Storage and turn Smart Storage on.
  • You can free up even more space by tapping Remove backed-up photos & videos.

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.

Potential solutions:

  • 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.