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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 is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

10 Comments
  • Digital Wellbeing doesn't seem to affect performance of my P2XL.
    Glad someone discovered a workaround for the P3/XL. Also glad I didn't buy that dumpster fire of a phone.
  • I disabled Digital Wellbeing and the performance of my Pixel 3 XL immediately shot through the roof.
  • Yeps this did it for me.
    Turned it off and the phone is very smooth now.
  • Disabled it Day 1 and my Pixel 3 has worked perfectly since launch... I figured it may bog down parts of the OS operation
  • I didn't have many problems but it did help with memory management. Got about an extra half hour of battery life over a full cycle for my troubles
  • Just disabled it on mine and does seem snappier already. Makes sense if it's monitoring everything you do in the background.
  • Ditto! Back in business!
  • Wow, just tried it and now my camera starts up instantly. It's been slower and slower over the last few months, up to 4 seconds to start, and this solved it! Thank you for this article!!!!
  • It's only been 24 hours but so far appears to have significantly improved performance and battery life. Quite a shame that I've been running in this handicapped mode for almost the entire time I've owned the phone. Thanks digital well-being
  • I know one person said it didn't affect his 2xl, but I turned it off, cause my 2xl had been getting laggy and battery life had decreased a lot recently with no difference in usage. I just thought it was a 2 year old phone, but this seemed to make it a lot snappier. I hope battery is very too.