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15 annoying problems with the Nexus 7, and how to fix them

The undisputed king of the hill when it comes to small Android tablets is Google’s Nexus 7, manufactured by Asus. It has been selling well since its July 2012 release and estimates suggest that Google shifted between 5 and 8 million units last year with over 1 million Nexus 7 sales in December alone. Google updated the line with a new version – the Nexus 7 (2013) in July 2013. It has a much higher resolution display, a faster processor, more RAM, and a camera, but Google has already acknowledged problems with multi-touch and GPS, which we deal with below.

While the diminutive tablet has been well received by critics and consumers alike, no product is perfect. That’s why we’ve dug up a list of Nexus 7 problems and tried to find potential solutions and workarounds for anyone suffering. On this page we’ll deal with the latest 2013 version, so if you have the older 2012 model then skip to page two. Be sure to check out our Nexus 7 tips and tricks, as well.

Updated on 6-17-2014 by Simon Hill: Tidied up and added stuck on Google logo, new solution for weak Wi-Fi, and speaker buzzing problem.

Nexus 7 (2013) Issues and Bugs

Problem: Nexus 7 won’t go past Google logo screen

A lot of people have reported an issue when they turn the Nexus 7 on. They hold down the power button until it starts up, and it gets as far as the Google logo screen or maybe the colored X, but won’t go any further; it just freezes on that screen.

Potential fixes:

  • First, try holding down the power button for 30 seconds, ignore the pop-up options and wait until the device reboots.
  • If that doesn’t work, try a factory reset (but note that you will use all data on the device).

Here are the steps to do it without the screen:

  1. If your tablet is on, power it off.
  2. Press and hold the Power button until the device powers on, then immediately press and hold Volume Down (while still pressing Power). You will see the word Start with an arrow drawn around it.
  3. Press Volume Down twice to designate Recovery mode.
  4. Press Power to restart into Recovery mode. You will see an image of an Android robot with a red exclamation mark.
  5. While holding down Power, press Volume Up.
  6. Use the volume keys to scroll to “wipe data/factory reset” and press Power to select it.
  7. Scroll down to “Yes – erase all user data” and press Power to select it.

Problem: Speaker buzzing or static

A number of Nexus 7 owners have been complaining about a buzzing or static sound that is especially apparent at low volumes. For some people the noise is still there even if they mute the speaker.

Workarounds:

  • Use headphones instead and you shouldn’t have any problem. You can also plug headphones in just to stop any sound coming through the speakers when muted.
  • Use a portable Bluetooth speaker instead.

Potential fixes:

  • For some people this seems to be related to the brightness settings on the tablet. It’s worth dragging down the notification shade and tapping Brightness to decrease it and see if it makes any difference.
  • Google did release a fix for this problem, so make sure that you have the latest update in Settings > About tablet > System updates.

Problem: Random reboots

A lot of people have encountered issues with the new Nexus 7 (2013) randomly restarting. This was a common problem on the old Nexus 7 as well. With the new model, many people report that the reboots are occurring when using Chrome, but the issue doesn’t seem to be limited to that.

Potential solutions:

  1. An update could solve this. You should automatically get updates (this is a Nexus device, after all), but you can also go to Settings > About tablet and check your Android version. You can tap System updates and then Check now to see if a new update is available.
  2. Make sure that all of your apps are up to date. The easiest way is to load up the Play Store and tap the Menu button, then choose My apps. You’ll see an Update all option at the top right. The problem could be an app that hasn’t been optimized for Android 4.3, so if you notice the problem relates to a specific app, send a message to the developer and try to use an alternative until they bring out an update. You can check if an app is the culprit by booting into safe mode. Press and hold the power button then touch and hold the Power off option that pops up on screen and then touch OK in the next box that pops up to boot into safe mode. If the problem is gone then an app is likely to be the cause. Restart the device to get out of safe mode and hunt for the app responsible.
  3. Try a soft reset next by holding down the power button for 30 seconds, ignore the pop-up options and wait until the device reboots.
  4. If you’re still having random restart problems then it’s time to try a factory reset. Make sure you back up all your content (your Google account will back up a lot of data so you can restore it afterwards). Tap the Menu button and choose Settings > Backup & reset > Factory data reset > Reset tablet and then enter your pattern, PIN, or password if prompted. Finally tap Erase everything.
  5. If none of the above has worked,then you should take the device back to the retailer where you bought it, or contact Google about a replacement.

Glitch: Multi-touch and typing erratic

A few owners have had problems with their new Nexus 7 (2013) registering multiple touches on the screen and skipping around erratically. There have also been reports of single taps on the touchscreen keyboard being registered as double or triple taps. If you’re uncertain whether you have a genuine problem with your touchscreen then try installing an app like Yet Another MultiTouch Test and you can see visually whether it is registering touches correctly.

Potential solutions:

  1. If you have a screen protector then it could be impacting on the touch sensitivity. Or it’s possible you are used to a less sensitive touchscreen and you’re pressing too hard or for too long. Try adjusting the way you use it and see if the problem clears up.
  2. It could be a software issue caused by a specific app. Try booting into safe mode by holding down the power button and then touch and hold Power off and tap OK in the next pop-up. If it works better in safe mode then you should restart and try to remove apps until you find the one responsible.
  3. It could come down to faulty hardware. If you see erratic behavior when using the Yet Another MultiTouch Test app then you should return it to the retailer or Google and get a replacement. Google has acknowledged this issue and an investigation is apparently underway.

Problem: GPS not working or dropping

It seems that quite a few Nexus 7 (2013) owners are reporting problems with the GPS. For most people it seems to connect fine initially, but after a few minutes, or when switching apps, the GPS drops and won’t reconnect.

Workarounds:

  • A lot of people are encountering this issue when they use more than one app that wants to connect to GPS. If you just use Google Maps, for example, it should work, but if you also use something like Ingress, Waze, or a weather app, then it might start dropping out. You could limit your Nexus 7 to one GPS app.
  • If you simply reboot the device by holding down the power button until it restarts (ignore the pop-up) then you should find the GPS will work again.

Potential solutions:

  • Wait for a software update. Google is working on a solution. This is likely to be fixed by an update so keep an eye out for updates the system via Settings > About tablet > System updates and make sure your apps are up to date in Play Store via Settings > My apps > Update all.
  • You could try exchanging your device at the retailer or via Google on the off-chance that it’s a hardware fault, but this doesn’t seem likely.

Problem: Screen flickering

A few people have noticed that the screen of their Nexus 7 (2013) is prone to flickering. This is particularly noticeable on lower brightness settings.

Workaround:

  • Turn auto-brightness off and make sure that the screen brightness is set to brighter than 40 percent by pulling down the notification shade from the top right and selecting Brightness then sliding it up.

Potential solution:

  • This could be a hardware bug. You may even find that the screen turns off completely if you put the brightness down too low. In that case you have to go to Google or your retailer and request a replacement device. Some people who encountered this issue exchanged the device and report that it isn’t present on the new one.

Problem: Won’t recharge or rapid battery drain

Some owners have reported that their Nexus 7 (2013) will not charge up at all when plugged in. Others have found that the battery is discharging much faster than expected.

Workaround:

  • If you find the battery is draining much faster than expected then it may be due to a specific app that isn’t optimized for Android 4.3, a lot of people report problems with Netflix. You could avoid using the app until an update is released.

Potential solution:

  • If your Nexus 7 (2013) refuses to charge when you plug it into a power socket, using the cable and charger that shipped with the tablet, then you should go to your retailer or Google and request a replacement. You could test it with a different charger first, just to make sure the charger is not faulty.

That’s all of our Nexus 7 (2013) problems and fixes for now, but please post a comment if you have a solution that isn’t mentioned or if you’ve encountered a different issue that isn’t listed. You can move on to page two for some Nexus 7 (2012) problems and potential solutions.

Updated on 8/01/2013 by Simon Hill: Added page one to deal with the new Nexus 7 (2013) model and split old Nexus 7 problems onto page two. 

Updated on 8/14/2013 by Simon Hill: Tweaked intro and added the news that Google is investigating GPS and multi-touch issues.

Next Page: Nexus 7 (2012) Problems