Google has a temporary fix for the recent storage issues on Pixel devices

Google Pixel 8 review
(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google first acknowledged a bug causing storage issues and other problems for Pixel owners more than a week ago.
  • The company now has a temporary fix that requires users to run developer tools with a computer. 
  • A more permanent fix is still on the way, but there is no timeline for when the patch might be released.

More than a week after initially acknowledging a bug creating storage issues for Pixel device owners, Google now has a temporary fix. The company detailed the makeshift solution in a community post, which involves running developer tools like the Android Debug Bridge. 

Pixel owners who applied the January 2024 Google Play System update earlier this month were met with a myriad of issues. Some were unable to access their phone's internal storage, experienced camera crashes, or found their phones generally buggy. 

The problems affected a large group of Pixel devices, and the issues were spotted on devices as old as the Pixel 5 or as new as the Pixel 8 series. 

Google says that a proper patch, one that could possibly include a rollback of the update or a fix at the root level, is still on the way. Until then, users who are "comfortable installing and using some developer tools" can take advantage of the current solution, according to the company. 

Google provided more clarity on the issues on Wednesday. "If your device was impacted, you might notice multiple apps crashing, screenshots not saving, and external storage working inconsistently," the post read. "This issue is more prevalent in devices with multiple user accounts and/or work profiles."

The Porcelain Google Pixel 8 Pro on the basement stairs

The fix for the Pixel storage issues is a fairly involved process. First, you need to enable developer options and USB debugging on your smartphone. This involves finding the build number in your phone's About settings page and tapping it seven times. Then, you need to go to Settings > System > Developer options and enable the USB debugging setting. 

You'll also need a Windows, MacOS, or Linux system to connect your Pixel device to. Using the Android Debug Bridge, Google advises users to run the following commands:

  • “./adb uninstall” 
  • “./adb uninstall” 

After running the commands, restarting your Pixel phone will fix the issues with no data loss, according to Google. Users can view the step-by-step guidance from Google or reach out to Google Support if they need more help.

However, users who aren't familiar with running command prompts or using developer modes should probably wait for a more complete fix from Google. Alternatively, resetting your phone might fix the problem, but it will result in data loss. If you have a backup of your phone from before the January 2024 Google Play System update was applied, that might be good to try as well.

This latest storage issue plaguing Pixel devices echoes one from October of last year. The same conditions were met in the prior bug, with Pixel devices running multiple user accounts or profiles suffering the worst. Although Google fixed that issue last November, it's back, at least for the time being. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.

    It wouldn't be a Pixel without *insert major issue here*
  • edubfromktown
    Duuuuh... like if it was on OTHER devices, it would be one thing. Screwing up only their mobile phones is an even more cringeworthy debacle.

    Hey Google:

    How about growing up and developing modern QA/QC and release management processes like all of your competitors (except maybe Adobe who still stumbles almost as badly as always)?

    They've mucked up Android and ChromeOS a handful of times each if not more over the past ~3 years. "Best one" was: if a hapless user installed a certain ChromeOS update before Big-G pulled the plug, only way out was hard reset of the device. Google of course, denied there were any issues then magically killed the update *POOF* lol