Google Pixel 6 problems: all the known problems and solutions

Google Pixel 6
(Image credit: Future)
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The Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are great phones, each achieving four stars in our reviews, but they’ve also suffered from a surprising number of problems, with users reporting all sorts of issues with the devices.

Below, we’ve cataloged the main problems that have been reported, along with details of any potential fixes for them, be they things that you can do now or planned software updates to resolve the issue.

Sadly, not all of the issues have any known fixes, but we’ll update this article if that changes.

Dead pixels

A growing number of people have reported black spots that appear to be dead pixels on the screen of their Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. These are clumped together and generally occur around the front-facing camera - making the cut-out appear larger and uneven.

Currently, there's no reliable fix for this. Some users have said software updates solved the problem, so it's worth making sure your phone is up to date, but if that doesn't do the trick you'll probably have to send your Pixel off to be repaired or replaced.

A more convenient fix may emerge eventually, but it sounds like in at least some cases this could be a hardware issue rather than a software one - so an update may not do the trick for everyone.

Unreliable fingerprint scanner

One of the most common complaints about the Pixel 6 range is that the fingerprint scanners don’t work very well. Readings can be slow and they will often fail, as we found ourselves in reviewing these phones.

Google has addressed the slowness part of the problem and suggested that you press firmly, make sure the display is clear of dirt and smudges, and – if you have excessively dry fingers – moisturize or re-enroll them.

Since then, the company has rolled out a software update that includes improvements to the fingerprint scanner stability and performance, but it's unlikely this has fully solved the problem, as Google claims that it’s slow because of "enhanced security algorithms".

Still, it’s possible that Google might eventually be able to optimize those algorithms to speed things up in future.

Broken fingerprint scanners

Google Pixel 6 held in hand with thumb reaching for fingerprint scanner

(Image credit: TechRadar / John McCann)

Perhaps the most troubling issue suffered by Pixel 6 users is that the fingerprint scanner reportedly breaks if you let the battery run flat.

This is fixable, but at the moment possibly only by factory resetting your phone – and if the battery runs flat again then you might suffer this issue all over again. It seems this problem doesn’t affect every Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, but a large number of people have reported it.

The good news is that since a factory reset fixes this it’s presumably a software issue rather than a hardware one, which means Google will hopefully be able to provide a more permanent software fix down the line.

In fact, a January software update included various vague fingerprint scanner fixes and improvements, but it's not clear from the changelog whether this particular issue was fixed or not.

Screen repairs breaking the fingerprint scanner

The Pixel 6's fingerprint sensor seems to be one of its least reliable components, because on top of the issues above, there have now been numerous reports that the fingerprint sensor breaks when the screen is repaired - even when getting the screen repaired by a Google-endorsed service provider.

The issue appears to be a calibration tool for the fingerprint sensor which fails, leaving the digit scanner disabled.

There's no obvious fix for this, but it's something Google has acknowledged so hopefully there will be soon.

Screen issues

Users have reported a number of issues with the screen on the Pixel 6 range, with some saying that the screen flickers when pressing the power button while the phone is off, and others reporting a green tint to the display.

While there’s no news on a fix for the greenish tint, Google has acknowledged the flickering (opens in new tab), saying that the issue can happen if you don’t press the power button hard enough to turn the phone on.

The company issued a fix for this in a January software update, but if you're still having problems then to avoid the issue, simply hold the power button down until your Pixel handset switches on.

Slow charging

Google Pixel 6 Pro review

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Pixel 6 range can supposedly charge at up to 30W, but Android Authority (opens in new tab) has found that the maximum power obtained by either the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro when charging is 22W, with the average being 13W over a full charging cycle.

There’s probably no way for Google to increase it to 30W, as that’s likely a hardware limitation, but it might be possible for a software update to at least bring the average closer to 22W. For now though there’s no news on that.

Ghost calling contacts

Some Pixel 6 owners have reported that their phone will spontaneously call contacts, with the issue seemingly being related to Google Assistant, which might be mishearing things and thinking they instructed it to call someone.

The good news is that this issue appears to have been fixed, with a January software update including a "fix for issue causing Assistant to unintentionally start a phone call in certain conditions."

If this doesn't work for you though, a temporary fix is to disable Google Assistant on the lock screen, by heading to Settings > Google Assistant > Lock Screen > Assistant responses on the lock screen, and turning it off.

No signal

There are scattered reports of Pixel 6 models just flat out refusing to connect to a network, either intermittently or at all.

Tom’s Guide (opens in new tab) reports that on Verizon they’ve sometimes been told that the carrier is temporarily unavailable, leaving their phone out of action for a period of time, while some users of networks such as iD Mobile (opens in new tab) and Giffgaff (opens in new tab) in the UK are reporting that they can’t get a signal at all. Since then, reports of the issue have grown.

Some users are reporting that a January update has fixed the issue, but for others there's no change.

It’s unclear how widespread this issue is, but if the latest patch didn't sort it for you then there doesn’t appear to be a fix currently, other than hoping it resolves on its own, or that Google or your network will push an update through to fix it.

Android Auto issues

Android Auto

(Image credit: Google)

Another issue affecting some Pixel 6 owners is the handset not connecting to Android Auto.

A number of posts to this effect have been logged on Google’s community support pages, with one gaining a reply from a member of the Android Auto team (opens in new tab), who claimed that the company is unable to reproduce the issue, but will use bug reports from users to attempt to fix it. So there’s hope that this one will be solved soon.

Broken Wi-Fi Calling

Some Google Fi customers are finding that Wi-Fi Calling isn’t working on the Pixel 6 range, but posts on Reddit (opens in new tab) suggest that in many cases this issue seems to be fixing itself over time, so patience might just be needed here.

In the meantime, you might have some luck if you turn airplane mode on and then off again.

Google has also issued a software update that includes a "fix for issue that disabled call features on certain devices or networks in certain conditions", so that might be referring to this.

Iffy auto brightness

Some users on Reddit are also reporting that their Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro will keep adjusting its screen brightness (opens in new tab), with no change to the environmental lighting.

Seemingly this is a result of the auto brightness algorithm learning how bright you like your phone, so if you manually adjust your brightness when it shifts to a level that you’re not happy with then it should eventually learn how you want it.

On top of that, a January software update included "general improvements for Adaptive brightness response in certain conditions" which might hopefully mean it learns your habits less intrusively.

Magic Eraser crashing Google Photos

The Magic Eraser function on Pixel 6 is a handy photo editing feature, except for some users it would cause Google Photos to crash.

Thankfully, this bug has now been fixed - just make sure you're updated to the latest version of Google Photos.

Hold for Me and Call Screening disabled

Google itself intentionally disabled the Hold for Me and Call Screening features on Pixel 6 handsets for a while due to an issue, but the company reports that these features should now be up and running again.

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.