Common Google Pixel 3 problems, and how to fix them

Text messages are disappearing on Pixel 3s, but a fix is on the way

Google Pixel Buds
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are arguably among the best Android phones to date. They feature top-tier specs, stock Android software, and — of course — all the artificial intelligence Google can pack into them.

But these devices aren’t perfect. Since the launch of the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, a few issues related to the phones have popped up — and they are issues that you might be experiencing too.

In case you have run into any Pixel 3 problems, we’ve put together this guide. Here’s everything you need to know about the Pixel 3 line’s issues, and how to fix them.

Issue: Text messages vanishing

Have you noticed text messages on your Pixel device disappearing? You’re not going crazy. According to a report from Android Police, the latest Pixel 3 security update is causing some text messages to disappear on some devices.

Thankfully, Google has acknowledged the problem and says that a fix will be rolling out soon.

Fix: 

  • For now, you’re just going to have to deal with it but make sure to routinely check for updates on your phone and install then when they come in. The next one should contain a fix to this issue.

Glitch: Two notches

Here’s an odd problem that you don’t run into every day. Some Pixel 3 XL users are complaining that something has gone terribly wrong with their notch. The Pixel 3 XL is apparently happy to double-down on the large notch by, er, adding another notch. Reddit user u/jtmacnb and UrAvgConsumer both pointed out that their Pixel 3 XL had somehow grown an extra notch.

It seems this problem is linked to Google’s earlier confirmation that Android 9.0 Pie’s notch support extended to multiple notches. The reasons behind such support are questionable, and no one has taken Google up on this yet, but this could potentially be a sneak preview of that support.

Workaround:

  • Restart your phone. A full restart fixes the problem for a time, and makes the additional notch go away. Google is working on a fix, so don’t expect you’ll have to do this forever.

Bug: Slow wireless charging marked as ‘Charging Rapidly’

This is an issue that effects anyone charging with a non-Google-branded wireless charger. Because of the weird way Google has set up its wireless charging, it’s not possible to access fast 10W wireless charging on any pad that hasn’t been made by Google. However, the Pixel 3 still displays a “Charging Rapidly” message — even when charging using the slower 5W speeds. It’s not the biggest problem in the world, but it can be annoying if you don’t know about it.

Solution:

  • The weird approach to wireless charging aside, Google has pushed out a fix in the November patch, so if it’s bothering you, make sure you’re on the latest patch. Head to SettingsSystemSystem Update to make sure.

Problem: Photos aren’t saving

A number of users have reported that after taking a photo with the camera app, those photos aren’t saving — essentially meaning that the photo could be gone forever. That’s a pretty major problem, and one that seems to be pretty widespread too — a number of users on Reddit have reported running into it. The issue, in particular, seems to come up when you take a photo with the Google Camera app, then switch to another app or lock the phone immediately after taking the photo. In some situations, the photo will eventually appear again in the gallery, but that doesn’t seem to happen all the time.

The issue seems to be related to how the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL handle memory, and specifically quitting out before the HDR processing is finished. Thankfully, this means that it can be fixed with a software update. It wasn’t included in November’s patch, which is a shame, but it’s likely to arrive in December.

Potential solution:

  • For now, the only way to prevent losing a photo is to keep the camera app open after taking the photo until it saves.
  • Google has confirmed it is working on a software fix for the issue, and will release an Android update fixing the problem in the near future. To check for an update, head to SettingsSystemSystem Update, and make sure you have the latest version of Android.

Bug: Music app closes when you open the camera app

Some people have reported that opening the camera app while listening to music seems to cause the music app to close in the background, stopping the playback of the music. This is another bug that seems to be related to memory management on the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. We were able to replicate the problem, both with Spotify and with Google’s own YouTube Music.

Because the issue seems to be related to memory handling, it’s very likely we’ll see a software update fixing the issue in the near future. It’s possible the issue is actually the same problem causing photos not to save — and that it all comes down to issues with the Pixel 3 not handling its 4GB of memory well enough. While the fix wasn’t included in November’s patch for the Pixel 3, it might be coming in December’s.

Potential solution:

  • Unfortunately, the only real solution right now is to wait for a software update. To check for an update, head to SettingsSystemSystem Update, and make sure you have the latest version of Android.

Issue: Phone is locked to Verizon

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are Verizon-exclusive phones, basically meaning that Verizon is the only carrier in the U.S. with the right to sell the phones. Some owners, however, have reported that the Pixel 3 from Best Buy was also locked to the Verizon network, meaning users couldn’t buy the phone and activate it on another network. Once the phone was activated on Verizon, it was then unlocked — meaning you could only then use it on another network.

Thankfully, it seems as though Verizon has, at least temporarily, unlocked the Pixel 3 completely. The unlocking was sent to Pixel 3 phones through a software update — so you should be able to set up your phone without a SIM card, update it, then activate it on whatever network you choose.

Potential solution:

  • Set up your phone and then check for a software update. To check for an update, head to SettingsSystemSystem Update, and make sure you have the latest version of Android. You should then be able to activate it on the network of your choice. Keep in mind, this issue mostly affects Best Buy customers — if you purchased your phone from Verizon, expect it to be locked again to Verizon’s network.
  • If you haven’t yet bought the phone, buy it through the Google Store, which sells the phone completely unlocked.

We’ll update this article when we hear more about issues related to the Google Pixel 3 and how to fix them.

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