Owners of Google’s latest Pixel-branded smartphone – specifically, the Pixel 3 – are now reporting overheating issues that have resulted in automatic device shutdowns. The most common cause of the overheating appears to be linked to an error in the charging process, although it isn’t immediately clear whether that’s in the software or hardware. Since the smartphones have an automated process in place to handle circumstances where internally-measured temperatures are getting too high, one common thread among the reports is that handsets are simply turning off in order to cool down. For charging procedures, that includes a drop to the rate at which the battery is being charged up. Alongside that slow down, the system warns users to the situation via a notification indicating that some services and features are being placed on standby. A similar notification appears following a full system shutdown, informing users that overheating was the cause of the shutdown.
Background: This new issue actually follows a stream of apparently random complaints put forward by users who own Google’s new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL handsets. Primarily, those have been related to cameras that aren’t saving photos properly or the camera itself causing hardware crashes if used outside of the main Camera software. In the first of those issues, users were reporting that the user interface was incorrectly showing that pictures had been saved but that a problem within the system was causing those to disappear once the camera app was left. Secondary to that, it was reported that some Pixel-branded smartphones were crashing completely anytime the camera hardware was instantiated by an application that wasn’t the built-in Camera app, resulting in a total shutdown of the hardware. The only way to overcome that, according to those reports, was to completely reboot the device itself.
In fact, there have been several other bugs reported since the flagships launched as well. Most recently among those, a memory bug was also caught in the devices, that is currently in the process of being patched. In effect, that was causing apps to be completely closed out anytime another app needed a certain level of memory to operate. That kills off any hopes of using the flagships to multitask across applications but it isn’t really apparent whether that was deliberate or not, given Google’s recent focus on aggressively managing device resources.
Impact: Meanwhile, a very small number of other users in these latest reports are suggesting that using the camera or a camera-related application for too long is causing similar overheating problems. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between any of those problems and a patch was already released for all of the prior problems that are listed above. Android Headlines hasn’t been able to replicate or verify the majority of the issues noted here or any of the new complaints about overheating at all, so the issues don’t appear to be widespread. Bearing that in mind and with consideration for the timeframe, it’s not impossible that at least some of the most recent complaints about overheating in Pixel handsets are actually the result of changes made during the patching process. Google hasn’t provided any response on the matter for the time being.