Common Google Pixel 3 problems, and how to fix them

Snapshots are being snapped away by the Pixel 3 bug that deletes photos

pixel 3 camera lens
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, uncluttered Android software, and all the artificial intelligence Google can pack in. But these devices aren’t perfect. Since the launch of the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL, a few issues have cropped up — ones you may be experiencing.

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

Existing problems and issues

Bug: Photos are disappearing

The Pixel 3 has had its fair share of photography problems, which is unfortunate for a phone that’s topped our list of the best camera phones since its release. The latest problem is that photos are simply disappearing from people’s albums. Multiple people have complained that they’ve taken photos across the span of a night and viewed those photos immediately afterwards, only to find that some images have simply disappeared. People have checked the Trash folder, but to no avail.

This bug seems to occur on both the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL, and one person has even had this problem on the Android Q beta.

Fix:

  • Unfortunately there’s no fix or workaround for the moment. You just have to hold tight and wait for a fix from Google.

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.

Google acknowledged the problem quickly, and promised a fix would be rolling out soon. However, that was back in November 2018, and it seems people are still waiting, with one complaint coming in on December 31.

Fix: 

  • Routinely check for updates on your phone and install them when they arrive. Make sure to check SettingsSystemSystem Update to make sure you’re up-to-date.

Fixed problems and issues

Bug: Camera app slow to open

The Pixel 3’s camera is incredible, but quite a few people are noticing the camera app itself can sometimes take a while to start up. Starting the camera app on older Pixels had always been a snappy affair, so it was puzzling to see it taking a few seconds to load on the Pixel 3. We have confirmed this problem on our Pixel 3 XL, and it even extends to snapping a picture. Where there’s supposed to be zero lag when you tap the shutter button, we’re seeing the Pixel 3 take up to four seconds at times to actually capture the photograph. That’s bad, and frustrating. We reached out to Google.

“We’ve been investigating some reports of camera sluggishness,” a spokesperson told Digital Trends. “We have an update for Camera rolling out in the coming weeks that should improve performance.”

Fix:

  • The March patch should have fixed the issue. Make sure your device is up-to-date if your camera still seems sluggish. Head to check SettingsSystemSystem Update.

Bug: Slow wireless charging marked as ‘Charging Rapidly’

This is an issue that affects 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 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.

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 was included in December’s.

Solution:

  • Make sure you’re fully up-to-date. 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.

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 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 was a shame — but it was supposedly fixed in December’s update.

Solution:

  • Update to the latest version of Android. To check for an update, head to SettingsSystemSystem Update, and make sure you have the latest version of Android.

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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