Google’s Pixel 3a has a serious problem for some users, and there’s no fix in sight

Chris Smith

Google has been making phones for quite a few years now, both during the Nexus era when other smartphone vendors designed its devices, and especially in the Pixel era where it creates its own hardware. But even so, its Pixel phones still come with flaws, and the Pixel 3a is no exception. Some users are already reporting a pretty serious issue — the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL have been shutting down randomly, and there doesn’t appear to be a fix in sight.

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No smartphone is perfect, some will say, and many new models exhibit some problems after launch. But it’s something that happens time and again with Pixel phones. Just last week, shortly after the Pixel 3a series went on sale, people who purchased first-gen Pixel phones that came with built-in microphone manufacturing defects learned they’re entitled to up to $500 in compensation from Google.

That doesn’t mean the current Pixel 3a problem is as serious, but it’s still not a good sign for a phone that Google pits against the iPhone, which is a silly comparison to make in the first place.

Several users posted on Reddit their accounts of how it all went down. “I received my pixel 3a 3 days ago, and once a day it just turns off by itself, while I don’t use it,” wrote DeazyL.

Realtimeanalytics, meanwhile, says the issue might have to do with Wi-Fi connectivity:

Whenever I connect to my work Wi-Fi and let the phone sit for ~10 minutes it will require a reboot. It will do the normal lock and then after some time just shutdown, requiring me to hold the power button for ~30 seconds to restart it. For the most part when I’m connected to my home Wi-Fi it will not duplicate this although it has crashed once or twice now at home in the 5 days I have had it. Leaving the phone with Wi-Fi off seems to prevent the crashing altogether.

Placing the phone in Safe mode will not make the issue go away according to Ravoz, who has experienced the problem on both the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL:

Several people, including myself, have been having random shutdowns with our new Pixel 3a’s. It is happening with both models, the 3a as well as the XL.

The phones just die, and require a hard reset of holding the power button down for like 30 seconds before they turn back on.

I had 3 shutdowns yesterday, including overnight, causing me to miss my wake alarm. And another shutdown tonight. Today I used my phone in “Safe Mode” to eliminate any chance of a third party app causing it. Unfortunately, it did, so unless its an issue in the OS, it’s hardware related.

Google will surely identify and fix the problem. If you’ve been experiencing the same error, the only thing you can do about it is reboot the phone once it switches off. You can always ask for a replacement unit and hope for the best, but it’s unclear if Google is swapping out affected units at this time.

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