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Common Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro problems and how to fix them

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are the two best smartphones Google has ever produced. Building on the virtues of previous models, they add a powerful Google-made Tensor chip, bigger batteries, gorgeous AMOLED displays, revamped (iPhone-beating) cameras, and a striking new design. On top of this, they provide the same slick software experience Pixel fans have come to know and love, with a number of special features you won’t find on any other Android device.

However, as good as both phones are, they won’t be without the occasional technical issue or bug. We’ve already heard about a few niggles, which is why this article compiles the most common Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro problems and how to fix them. It ranges from simple issues you can fix yourself to stuff that will most likely need a software update to rectify, while it will also be regularly updated to cover any new problems as and when they emerge.

Also, check out our separate troubleshooting article on Android 12 for problems that may be general to all phones using the operating system, not just the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.

Issue: Pixel 6 says it’s charging when it isn’t

Some users in the Google Pixel subreddit are noticing an issue where their Pixel 6 shows every sign it’s charging, when in fact it is not. This has also been mentioned on the Google Pixel help forums. This seems to happen most frequently when using a fast-charging brick or cable from another manufacturer.

Workaround:

Google hasn’t acknowledged this issue yet, but a workaround, for now, may be to pick up an official Google Pixel charger or a PD-capable charger with a USB-C to USB-C cable. It’s probably also worth getting in touch with Google to see if there’s anything the company can advise.

Bug: Flickering display when shutting down

Pixel 6 Pro lock screen and wallpaper.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Probably the most widely reported Pixel 6 and 6 Pro problem so far concerns the display of each device. As covered on the XDA Developers Forum and on Google’s own support pages, this refers to a flicker of residual light when either turning off the phone or when it’s already turned off and the user applies slight/momentary pressure to its power button.

The good news is that this should have been addressed by the December 2021 update patch.

Solution:

  • Ensure your Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro is updated.

Problem: Adaptive brightness adjusting itself excessively or erratically

Quite a few users have noted the adaptive brightness feature on their Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro tends to behave erratically. It can often go up or down in brightness for no obvious reason, becoming too dim when you need it to be bright, and vice versa.

While this is another technical wrinkle that may be ironed out in a future software update — though there’s no update as yet — numerous owners have reported the problem seems to stem from the adaptive brightness algorithm needing to learn from your preferences. As such, there is a solution that seems to work for most people.

Solution:

  • Keep manually adjusting the Pixel 6’s brightness each time it automatically moves too far in either direction. Over time, the adaptive brightness algorithm will learn the brightness level you most prefer under various circumstances. To adjust brightness, go to Settings > Display > Brightness Level.
  • Alternatively, switch off adaptive brightness by going to Settings > Display > Adaptive Brightness.

Issue: Random reboots

Picture the scene: you’re happily using your new Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro, but then it suddenly shuts down on you and reboots. This has happened to more than one Pixel 6 (Pro) owner, with users suggesting a variety of different potential causes. These include problems with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, issues caused by certain third-party apps, the Camera app, and even when unlocking the device. A small number of users have also reported that the phone can reboot while idle, something which makes pinpointing the root cause even trickier.

This may be an Android 12 issue, in which case you’ll have to wait for an update. However, if the problems become very persistent, and certainly if an update doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to contact Google.

Possible solutions:

  • Update your phone.
  • Try noticing patterns in your reboots: do they occur after performing a specific action, or when using a certain app? If so, try updating (or replacing/removing) the app you suspect, or avoiding the action (perhaps by doing it differently or in a different sequence if possible).

Issue: Pixel 6/6 Pro says carrier network is temporarily unavailable

This was first seen to have affected Pixel 6 and 6 Pro users in the U.K., but was later reported to be happening elsewhere around the world. It started with Pixel 6 owners on the Giffgaff network reporting to Google forums that their phone’s Settings tell them their network is “temporarily unavailable”. This issue goes around the world from countries as varied as Singapore, Australia, and the United States and has been speculated to be an Android 12 bug, with some Pixel 5 owners also reporting connectivity issues on Reddit.

Solution:

Some users have also noted that the problem disappeared after a couple of days, with their Pixels eventually recognizing their networks as normal. As such, if you’re on another network and also experience this problem, it may be worth waiting one or two days. Either that or going to your account with your network and changing any relevant settings so that you can use 5G. Others still have seen an update to the “Carrier Services” app fix the issue — so be on the lookout for one if it hasn’t been installed already.

Problem: Wi-Fi calling won’t work properly

Google - Pixel 6

Several Pixel 6 and 6 Pro users have complained that Wi-Fi Calling isn’t working properly on their phones. When the device is in airplane mode with Wi-Fi on, it can’t make a call, with the phone telling users to turn on airplane mode to do so.

This seems predominantly to be an issue affecting owners using Fi, although it may also affect other carriers to a degree. Users facing the problem have tried a variety of steps to solve it, from reinstalling the Fi app and clearing its cache to performing a full-blown factory reset, but none of these seemed to have worked.

However, various users have reported that the problem fixed itself after one or two days. So either it was a network issue or the phone needed time to configure itself properly. That said, if the problem persists for too long, contact Fi or whatever provider you use.

Problem: Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pros crashing after launching Discord on Android 12

A few Pixel users have complained they can’t launch Discord without their phones freezing and system UIs crashing. This is a problem that has affected all Pixels updating to Android 12, and not just the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. However, the newer models are also affected, with the issue appearing to stem from how Discord plays GIFs.

Solution:

  • Go to Discord > Settings > Accessibility > Automatically play GIFs. You need to turn off this final setting so that GIFs don’t automatically run when using Discord.

One user who experienced this problem has also noted that they have to keep on switching off Automatically play GIFs each time they open Discord. As such, users probably won’t be able to solve this issue for good until Discord launches a new update for its app, or Google updates Android 12 (depending on which is the underlying source of the problem).

If you’re having problems with any other third-party app, try updating the app or uninstalling — and then reinstalling — it. Also, it’s always worth updating Android if possible.

Bug: Media pausing unexpectedly

There’s a long thread in the Google Pixel subreddit that details how numerous users have encountered a bug where media (e.g. music) pauses randomly for no apparent reason. Such mishaps appear to be particularly common in Spotify and YouTube (as well as other media apps), so it’s likely to affect many users who have upgraded to Android 12.

As of writing, there’s no proven solution. Some users have tried altering the battery settings of affected media apps (Settings > Apps > All Apps > [Your Media App] > Battery > Unrestricted), yet this doesn’t appear to have worked for most. Likewise, other users have recommended clearing the storage and cache of any affected app by going to Settings > Apps > See All Apps > Phone > Storage and Cache > Clear Storage/Cache. Finally, other users have suggested uninstalling the Roku app, which seems to have fixed the issue for many.

However, these solutions don’t seem to be working for everyone. Because of this, your best bet if all else fails is to wait for an update for Android 12 to be made available. To check if one is, go to Settings > System > System Update. If an update is available, your phone will say so, and you’ll be able to update by tapping Download and Install.

Problem: Starbucks app not working properly

Starbucks mobile order app.
Starbucks

Several Pixel 6 and 6 Pro users reported that the Starbucks app wasn’t working properly on their phones. What happened is that they would launch the app only to receive a message saying, “A system error has occurred. Please try again later.” Some users even tried uninstalling and reinstalling the app, but this didn’t change things.

Some users noted that the app worked as normal on their older Pixels, so initially, this seemed more like a Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro issue.

Solution:

Make sure you’re running the latest version of the Starbucks app (go to Google Play Store > Profile > Manage Apps and Device to check if an update is available for any of your apps), as updating the app seems to have fixed the problem for most people — and it seems as if the issue may have been server-side with Starbucks.

Issue: Pixel 6 and 6 Pro disconnecting from Android Auto

Various users have taken to Google’s support pages to complain that their Pixel 6 and 6 Pros disconnect from Android Auto while connected to their cars via a USB cable. While one or two have said that they’re having the issue on older models, the vast majority are experiencing it with the 6 series, with some noting that it doesn’t happen with older phones running on Android 12.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a clear reason for this problem. Once again, you may need to wait for an Android update. In the meantime, a Google community specialist has recommended the following possible solutions.

Possible solutions:

  • Check for a faulty USB cable by trying a different one.
  • Make sure Android Auto is enabled on your car by going to the car’s settings.
  • Try force-stopping Android Auto. Go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Android Auto > Force Stop, then plug your phone into your car and restart Android Auto.
  • Make sure Android Auto is updated. Go to Play Store > Menu > My Apps & Games > Updates.
  • Clear the cache and storage for Android Auto and for Google Assistant and Google Play: Settings > Apps > See All Apps > Android Auto/Google Assistant/Google Play > Storage and Cache > Clear Storage/Cache.
  • Delete your vehicle and re-pair your phone: Go to Settings, type “Android,” and select Android Auto from the results. Tap Previously Connected Cars, then tap the Three Vertical Dots in the top-right and choose Forget All Cars. In your vehicle, connect your phone as usual and re-pair it.

Of course, if none of these steps work, and if an update doesn’t work, try contacting Google directly.

Problem: Fingerprint sensor breaking after phone runs out of battery

Several users are reporting a new issue where the fingerprint sensor stops working if the phone battery runs out. Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are reportedly plagued by the issue. Various Redditors have mentioned that they tried to contact Google and the solution they received was not really a solution. The company representatives are allegedly telling users to factory reset their smartphones to make the fingerprint sensor work again after charging and powering on the device.

Notably, this doesn’t happen because you restart your phone. The fingerprint sensor stops working only when you let your phone’s battery deplete until it causes the phone to shut down.

One user wrote, “I had a chat with french support but all they said was ‘I’m sorry but you will have to factory reset your phone’ — it seems the guy didn’t hear of this issue before since it took a fair amount of time searching before he gave me that answer.” It seems like Google is aware of the issue but hasn’t acknowledged it publicly. We are hoping Google will roll out an update soon to solve the issue.

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