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

Some Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a owners who have complained of slowdowns on their smartphones are reportedly seeing significant improvements after they deactivate Google’s Digital Wellbeing feature.

A thread on the Google Pixel sub-Reddit is filled with comments of Pixel smartphone owners, not just Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a but also some older models, who immediately experienced a drastic change in their devices upon turning off Digital Wellbeing, particularly in terms of stuttering and frame rates.

Google launched Digital Wellbeing with Android 9 Pie last year as one of the major features of the latest version of its mobile operating system. Often compared to Apple’s Screen Time in iOS 12, the feature runs in the background to collect data on how long people use their smartphone and its individual apps each day. In Dashboard, the allowed usage time per day may be set for specific apps, while Wind Down makes the display go gray-scale and activates Do Not Disturb mode to help prepare for bedtime.

However, if Digital Wellbeing is indeed slowing down Pixel smartphones, the feature will likely be shunned by owners of the devices in favor of a better user experience. Google will be making improvements with a new Focus mode, but while it may be helpful to those who are looking to control their smartphone usage, Pixel owners will not put up with a slower smartphone just to keep the app running in the background.

Google has not yet acknowledged reports on Digital Wellbeing supposedly causing Pixel smartphone slowdowns, so the connection between the two is so far unconfirmed. In the meantime, Pixel smartphone owners who are experiencing performance problems with their devices may want to try turning off the feature to see if it will help.

To deactivate the feature, Pixel owners should go into the Settings menu of their smartphones and choose Digital Wellbeing. Tapping the three-dot icon at the top right will bring up the option to Turn off usage access, which will be confirmed in the next screen by switching off the Permit usage access option for the feature. Doing this will delete the data on the app within 24 hours.

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