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A serious Google Assistant bug could stop your phone powering down for hours

Google Assistant
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Some Android phone and tablet users are reporting a bug with Google Assistant, which causes their device's screen to stay powered on indefinitely after hearing the wake phrase 'Hey Google', which could cause a host of problems from battery drain to permanent screen damage.

This is seriously frustrating for people who own other devices (such as Google Home smart speakers) that are activated using the same spoken command.

Several staff members from Android Police noticed that their phones and tablets weren't going back to sleep after recognizing that the wake command was intended for a different device.

This is a serious battery drain (even with dark mode activated), and a potential security risk as it leaves the device unlocked. It could also lead to images being burned into the screens of LCD devices.

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Chronic insomnia

The same problem has been reported periodically on the Google support forums since September. It mostly seems to affect Google Pixel and Google Home devices, though one OnePlus 6T owner found their phone awake with its battery at 1% hours after Google Assistant detected the wake phrase.

The cause of the problem has yet to be identified, and it appears to be intermittent, but we'll keep you updated if a fix emerges. In the meantime, we recommend keeping an eye on your phone every now and then (particularly if you own other devices with Google Assistant) so you can turn the screen off manually if necessary.

Via Android Police

Cat Ellis

Cat (@CatEllisBristol) is the fitness and wellbeing editor at TechRadar. She's been a technology journalist for 11 years, and cut her teeth on magazines including PC Plus and PC Format before joining TechRadar. She's a trained run leader, and enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the pavement. If you have a story about fitness trackers, treadmills, running shoes, e-bikes, or any other fitness tech, drop her a line.