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Pixel 6 vibration alert woes get a fix with May update

Google is finally fixing the notification haptics system on the Pixel 6 after it started acting erratically following the March update. The company has begun the rollout of the May 2022 software update for its Pixel phones, which is claimed to improve the haptic feedback system on the Pixel 6 and its Pro version.

The patch note only mentions “improvements for haptic feedback under certain conditions,” but the footnotes clarify that this particular fix is for the Pixel 6 pair. The official support forum and Reddit have been teeming with complaints from Pixel 6 users complaining about a misfiring vibration alert for notifications. Google apparently made some tweaks to the haptic feedback system for notifications with the March security update, but the change wasn’t well-received.

A common pattern across the complaints is that the update weakened the vibration alert, causing Pixel 6 users to miss out on notifications because the haptic strength was lowered out of the blue. Some of the affected users tried to manually tweak the vibration strength from the Settings, but even after making the aforementioned adjustment, the haptic response was weaker than usual on the Pixel 6.

The vibration buzz for incoming notifications got noticeably softer for both messages as well as calls, which proved to be quite an inconvenient bug for folks who predominantly rely on vibration alerts to check notifications. However, a few users did point out that the softer vibration feedback was actually smoother than the brute haptics before the March update.

Our May software update is now rolling out to supported Pixel devices! The update includes:

👆🏽👆🏿👆🏻 Improvements for haptic feedback
📱 Fixes for display & launcher
🔒 Latest security fixes

Device applicability varies

Learn more on our Community post:

— Made By Google (@madebygoogle) May 2, 2022

Either way, the May software update has returned things back to normal. I asked a couple of my friends rocking the vanilla Pixel 6, and both of them admitted that the vibrations feel stronger after installing the May software update. In case you haven’t received the update yet, don’t lose sleep over it. As usual, the update is being released in a phased manner and Google says that it will roll out to all users over the next week. The update cadence will also vary based on your carrier.

Aside from fixing the vibration system, the update also resolves a bug that caused the display to light up on its own without any interaction from the user. There’s also a fix for a bug that caused the launcher to crash following a restart. And as expected, the latest update comes along with the May security patch.

Interestingly, the community forum post mentions that the update is available for the Pixel 3a XL and all the Pixel phones launched after it, but doesn’t mention the vanilla Pixel 3a. Notably, the poor network reception issue and battery drainage woes that Pixel 6 users have lately been complaining about have again been ignored, it seems.

Google is mere days away from its I/O conference, where the company is expected to share details about the upcoming Android 13 update, and might also introduce the highly anticipated Pixel 6a midrange phone and the Pixel Watch. In typical fashion, both the devices have been leaked extensively in the past, and if those unceremonious information dumps are anything to go by, the excitement might be worth the wait.

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Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
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