Pixel problems? Here are the most common problems and how to fix them.

The Google Pixel is one of our favorite devices, but it has its share of problems. The good news is that because Google updates its phones directly, and issues monthly patches, there's a good chance your problem has been solved through software.

Updated, April 2017: This post has been updated with the latest information and fixes that came with Android 7.1.2.

What is the actual problem?

Like every story based on extremes, the reality is somewhere in the middle.

It's a phone. The interoperability of hardware and software is very complicated, and even though it now has much greater control over both, Google is still unable to check for every conflict before it ships.

The important thing to know is that not everyone is experiencing problems. The issues with the Pixel appear to be isolated and not endemic of the entire product lineup.

Let's go through each one to see where we stand.

Band 4 LTE issues

Early on, it became apparent that the Pixel was having trouble connecting to LTE networks that relied on Band 4 (AWS) in certain countries, specifically Canada, Chile, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Ecuador and others in the region. The phone, though compatible with Band 4 LTE, was staying on HSPA+.

That changed when Google issued the Android 7.1.1 update in early December, with many people finding their LTE connections upon booting up.

  • Best fix: Update to Android 7.1.2
  • Status: Solved

Audio distortion issues

Some Pixel owners found themselves dealing with audio distortion from the speaker at max volume — in fact, it was one of the most prevalent problems with the Pixel, largely because it is easy to reproduce. You either have the problem or you don't.

The issue stems from using particular apps, or playing back movies and music at high volumes; anything above a certain point — usually 80% to maximum — causes the audio to clip.

Google claims that the March security patch that was sent out with Android 7.1.1 fixed the problem for most people, and the wider Android 7.1.2 update fixed it for the rest. You should be good now.

  • Best fix: Update to Android 7.1.2
  • Status: Solved

Boot loops

Android phones falling into boot loops are not uncommon, and some manufacturers (ahem, LG) seem to have higher rates than others.

But shortly after the Pixel was released, and timed more frequently with monthly security updates, people began reporting instances where the phone would fall into an endless boot loop — failing to start up and rebooting when the process failed — forcing a factory reset through the Recovery menu.

On Google's product forums, a dozen threads with myriad entries each tell the story of frustration, especially since many of the Pixel and Pixel XL users were forced to perform hard resets, losing data in the process. Google's official word is to seek individual service through the Pixel's 24/7 customer support feature, but there are no permanent solutions just yet.

  • Best fix: Factory reset and, failing that, replace your Pixel
  • Status: Ongoing

Pixel shutting off at close to 40% battery

People have reported that the Pixel sometimes shuts down at 30% battery. Likely exacerbated by the cold weather in the northern hemisphere, the issue, according to Reddit user bal00, has less to do with software than with the state of batteries themselves.

If you've got a battery with a high internal resistance and a power-hungry load like the camera demanding a lot of current, other devices like the processor will see their supply voltage drop, and if it drops low enough, the phone will shut off. That's what's going on when a phone turns off with 40% battery left. There's plenty of water in the tank, but all the build-up inside the valve restricts the flow so much that the pressure takes a nosedive.

The strange part is that unlike the Nexus 6P, which has been in the market for over a year, the Pixel is new, as are the batteries inside them. Google says it has solved the problem with Android 7.1.2, adjusting the way the software deals with these drops in voltage.

  • Best fix: Update to Android 7.1.2
  • Status: Solved

Bluetooth shutting off unexpectedly

When Google updated the Pixel with the February 2017 security patch, people began reporting that the Bluetooth radio would randomly shut down without prompting. Google quickly identified the problem and rolled out a fix in Android 7.1.2.

  • Best fix: Update to Android 7.1.2
  • Status: Solved

So what can you do?

First thing's first: Google's Pixel is, like all other phones, not perfect. That its hardware and software are overseen by Google doesn't preclude it from having problems. Despite the numerous issues noted above, the Pixel is not disproportionately problematic compared to other Android phones.

You have three options if you have a severe issue with your Pixel:

  • Seek out counsel from Google through the Pixel Support feature: Google may be able to walk you through a temporary or permanent fix.
  • Update or revert your software: The issue(s) you're experiencing are likely software-based and an update could be the answer.
  • Replace your phone: If nothing works, or you're stuck in a permanent boot loop and a restore doesn't seem to be doing the trick, seek a replacement from Google or your carrier. The Pixel is still under warranty, and unless you dunked it in water or threw it onto cement, you shouldn't have an issue getting a new one.

What issues are you facing?

Are you facing issues with your Pixel? If so, any from the list above? If not, has it been flawless or still prone to derping every once in a while?

The good news is that Google will likely fix the majority of the Pixel's major issues with software updates, and faster than usual given its ability to push out updates directly.