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.

Mobile

Mad U.K. retailer slashes 99% off Google Pixel 3a price for a few lucky buyers

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
Mobile

OnePlus 7 Pro vs. Google Pixel 3a XL: Is there a new flagship killer in town?

OnePlus has released the OnePlus 7 Pro -- a stunner of a phone with a pop-up selfie camera and almost no bezel. But the midrange market has changed while OnePlus has been away, and the Pixel 3a XL is the phone to beat.
Mobile

Google Pixel and Pixel XL owners may receive up to $500 over faulty phones

Owners of Google’s original Pixel or Pixel XL smartphones could receive a payout of up to $500 after the company agreed to settle a class action lawsuit linked to a fault with the handsets.
Mobile

Pixel 3, Pixel 3a slowdowns reportedly caused by Google’s Digital Wellbeing

Some Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a owners have reportedly solved the slowdown issues on their devices by deactivating Google's Digital Wellbeing. However, it remains unconfirmed if the feature is indeed negatively affecting the smartphones.
Gaming

Get ready to slay spiders and skeletons in real life with Minecraft Earth

Minecraft Earth is the new augmented reality mobile game that uses the Minecraft engine. We have everything you need to know including the release date, features, price, phone compatibility, and more.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Mobile

The Realme X is so cheap and so good that it defies the rules of economics

The Realme X has a 48-megapixel camera, an in-display fingerprint sensor, an AMOLED screen, and a Snapdragon 710 processor, yet it costs from $220. We've tried out the phone to see if it's too good to be true.
Mobile

Grab it as soon as it pops up: The OnePlus 7 Pro is now available for sale

The OnePlus 7 Pro has been revealed, and it's a monster of a phone with a stunning redesign, a pop-up selfie camera, powerful flagship specs, and a price that's hundreds of dollars less than the competition.
Mobile

How to use recovery mode to fix your Android phone or tablet

If you’re having a problem you can’t seem to resolve with your Android device, or maybe you want to update it or wipe the cache, recovery mode could be what you’re looking for. Here's how to get your Android phone into recovery mode.
Home Theater

Why you can’t buy Car Thing, Spotify’s first hardware device

Spotify created a voice-activated, in-car device that lets you listen to music and podcasts. But Car Thing, as it is known, is not for sale. Instead, it will be used to gather data from a limited set of customers.
Social Media

Be the master of your own Insta-verse with multiple Instagram accounts

Whether you own a small business or have separate Instagram accounts for your five cats, we'll walk you through the process of switching between your multiple accounts on your Apple or Android devices.
Mobile

Can Apple or Samsung steal the OnePlus 7 Pro's flagship killer title?

OnePlus has long been the go-to for flagship specs under a flagship price. But now Apple and Samsung have challengers in the arena, and they want the Flagship Killer crown for themselves. Who wins? We found out.
Deals

Turn your Apple tablet into a laptop with one of these iPad keyboard cases

A keyboard case serves to both protect your iPad and give you a set of laptop keys. You don’t have to shell out tons of cash for a good one, either; if you’re looking for a way to turn your iPad into a 2-in-1 laptop, check these deals…
Mobile

Google Pixel 4 will reportedly ditch physical buttons and display notch

The Google Pixel 4 will reportedly feature massive design changes, including the removal of clickable power and volume keys in favor of capacitive touch areas. The smartphone is also said to be dropping the display notch.