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. Users have already begun reporting 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, and not just the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.

Bug: Flickering display when shutting down

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.

There is nothing you can do about this right now if it’s affecting your Pixel. Instead, you will have to wait for a patch that will come with the December 2021 update. In the meantime, you’ll have to ignore the flickering light as much as you can, and not let it spoil your enjoyment of an otherwise superb phone.

Solution:

  • Update your Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro when the December 2021 patch becomes available.

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, numerous owners have reported that 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 Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, 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 seems to have affected Pixel 6 and 6 Pro users only in the U.K. (so far), but it could potentially happen elsewhere, so it’s worth sharing more widely. Specifically, Pixel 6 owners on the Giffgaff network have reported to Google forums that their phone’s Settings tell them their network is “temporarily unavailable.”

Solution:

It has quickly transpired that this has something to do with 5G, and with users needing to change settings on their Giffgaff accounts so that their SIM card can work with a 5G network. Check out the relevant help webpage to fix this problem.

Other 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.

Problem: Wi-Fi calling won’t work properly

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 which 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.

However, this second potential solution doesn’t seem to work for most people either. Because of this, your best bet remains 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

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

Some users have noted that the app works as normal on their older Pixels, so this does seem more like a Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro issue. However, an Android 12 update may help resolve it, so please try installing if a system update is available. The same goes if there’s an update available for 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).

Luckily, there does seem to be a workaround you can use while waiting for updates. This allows you to use your Starbucks account without the app.

Workaround:

  • Use the Starbucks (mobile) website to log into your Starbucks account. Once there, you can go to Menu > Account > Card Management, where you can add money to your Starbucks card.

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

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

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