Turning off Digital Wellbeing may solve Pixel 3 and 3 XL performance issues

Digital Wellbeing app on a Pixel 3 XL
Digital Wellbeing app on a Pixel 3 XL (Image credit: Android Central)

Digital Wellbeing is designed to curb phone addiction, with the feature offering tools to measure and limit the amount of time you spend in an app. It gives you detailed insights into how much time you've spent in each app, number of times you unlocked your phone over the course of a day, and notifications received. It's a great new addition to Android, and one that has the potential to affect real change.

That said, it looks like Digital Wellbeing could be causing performance issues on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. For several months after their debut, Pixel 3 owners have complained about the interface being laggy and the performance in general not being on par with other flagships. If a thread on the Google Pixel sub-reddit is to be believed, the issue is down to Digital Wellbeing.

As noted by user Trueray17, disabling Digital Wellbeing dramatically improves performance on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL:

So, I have literally spent months trying different methods in attempts of fixing the Pixel 3 sluggishness and stuttering issues. I tried reboots, uninstalling unwanted apps, clearing the cache, full system wipes, etc but no matter what the performance issues would return. A few days ago I stared at my pixel 3 just confused why is performance so terrible, I personally don't believe it's the lack of ram but software related. I asked myself what is the last big feature that Google added to Android Pie?! Just maybe that is the culprit.Then, Digital Wellbeing came in to mind. So I went in to my settings clicked on Digital Wellbeing, clicked the 3 dots on the top right and turned off usage access. Disabling digital Wellbeing from tracking apps and data. After that, my phone has been butter smooth not one stutter or lag. Switching between apps is a breeze now, no more text input lag just speedy performance throughout the whole UI.Also, if you reduce animations in developer options it's a whole new experience (blazing fast). I highly recommend everyone who is experiencing performance issues (sluggishness, lag, stutters) throughout the UI to disable digital Wellbeing. Let us know if it fixed the performance issues and spread the word.

Judging by the dozens of replies to the thread, it looks like switching off Digital Wellbeing actually made a difference to several users. I disabled the feature on my primary Pixel 3 XL several months ago, but I also have a Pixel 3 unit running Pie that has Digital Wellbeing turned on from day one and it doesn't have any performance issues.

If your Pixel 3 or 3 XL is laggy and you're looking for a fix, it doesn't hurt to disable Digital Wellbeing to see if that makes a difference. Here's how you can disable the feature on your Pixel 3/3 XL: head to Settings, navigate to Digital Wellbeing, select the action menu (three vertical dots on the top right corner), and hit Turn off usage access. In the Usage access window, go to Digital Wellbeing and toggle the permit usage access to off.

Are you seeing performance issues on your Pixel 3 or 3 XL? Did turning off Digital Wellbeing solve the problem? Let us know in the comments.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.