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Google has a software fix for the Pixel 2 speaker 'clicking' problem

One of the stranger (and more innocuous) issues with the Pixel 2 has been an inconsistently bothersome "clicking" or "hissing" noise when holding the phone up to your ear for a phone call. Some people have it, others don't, and those who do often don't hear it consistently. Well, now Google has identified the actual issue and said a fix is on the way.

The issue, it turns out, is simple: it's the NFC radio in the phone. A fix will roll out via a software update in a few weeks, addressing the problem on a system level. But Google says that in the meantime, turning off NFC will get rid of the issue. Annoying for sure, but great to know there's something we can do right away to stop it before the full fix hits phones.

This surely isn't a software change on the level of the Pixel 2 XL's display, but it sure is something that's annoying if you're experiencing it and great to see Google addressing it quickly.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Good to hear
  • *not hear
  • I see what you did there
  • I'm trying to imagine how software can fix the lack of shielding a speaker normally has to protect it from NFC signals.
  • Probably turn off the NFC radio when in handset mode.
  • That sounds like a workable solution.
  • Software update for Bluetooth issues, software update for audio issues, update for screen issues, did Google forget to hire QC?
  • Good question. You'd think after all these years there would be a pretty solid set of test cases for the standard features of any phone.
  • I think it's pretty obvious at this point that after massive production delays with the og Pixel, this year quantity definitely won out over quality (control).
  • And yet they are still have delays actually. My wife ordered Pixel 2 (was free), black one is delayed by 1-2 weeks and white one is backordered
  • They asked Nadella what he used!
  • This is not true for the hiss.. I have the hiss/coil whine sound and it doesn't matter if NFC is on or off, I still get that. I do not have the clicking sound even with NFC on. The his sounds like it's something not shielded or grounded correctly. Turning on the flashlight or touching the screen while it's on and hissing causes the hissing to stop. The fact that touching your finger on the screen makes me believe even more it's a grounding/shielding issue. The hissing and the clicking are two separate issues.
  • Sounds like RMA time.
  • It's probably a lack of shielding, which is why it picks up the clicks from NFC, too. You can't fix that in software. You have to open up the phone and add shielding.
  • Awful QC, makes this phone really unattractive, good we have many more choices.
  • I never heard it on my 2.. What does bother me is in the last couple days whenever I go to read anything here, there is a pop up ad that loads in. Stop it. Stop it now.
  • Just did a Google search for 'ticking sound phone' and there have been so many phones afflicted - including the iPhone 4 and the HTC One. Interesting. Looking forward to the software fix. In the meantime I've installed NFC Widget which gives me an icon on my home screen which shows red when NFC is off and green when it's on. Pressing it takes you straight to the NFC toggle in settings. Apparently NFC can only be toggled from settings unless the phone is rooted. An acceptable workaround for now.
  • These are old phones. Don't you think they should have learnt by now?
  • Absolutely. It's like the 2 XL and screen burn. Other devices with panels susceptible to burn in move the display elements by a couple of pixels every so often. Even my quite old TV does this. Apparently Google didn't implement this most basic safeguard.
  • Yes sir- we have brought in the finest duct tape to repair your brand new BMW sir- enjoy!