Google Still Hasn’t Fixed Pixels’ Sensor Issues Five Months After They Were Initially Reported
Major software upgrades have become synonymous with broken features for Pixel users. We've seen this happen for years when a newer version of Android wreaks havoc in some Pixels. This time around, it appears that a lot of Pixel owners seem to have broken sensors ever since they received the Android 10 upgrade. Several features such as Auto Brightness, lift to wake, flip to silence, auto-rotation, and squeeze for Google Assistant haven't been working as a result.
A wide range of Pixel phones, including Pixel and Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL appear to have been affected. As expected, several forums such as Reddit, XDA Developers, and Google's support page have been inundated with complaints from disgruntled users. Most of these are well over five months old, and the only solution provided by Google is to wait for a software fix. Some phones managed to fix themselves after the patches arrived, while others sit unrepaired.
Interestingly, some devices were working fine even after the Android 10 update. Their troubles started after installing the November 2019 Android security patch. For those who run the device as it out of the box without any modifications, the only solution appears to be downgrading your phone to Android 9 Pie. It is less than ideal as it involves a complete wipe of your device. Other solutions such as a factory reset, fresh installation of Android, and the likes don't work at all. To make matters worse, a lot of the affected Pixels are out of warranty. The problem has been around for so long that a good number of devices are now ineligible for replacement.
On the other hand, another segment of affected users had custom recoveries and kernels running on their devices. TWRP, in particular, was responsible for overwriting a partition that stored sensor-specific data. The community has since Macgyvered a solution that seems to work fine. It is puzzling as to how a ragtag bunch of independent developers managed to fix a problem faster than one of the largest tech companies on earth. Do you have a Pixel whose sensors stopped working after Android 10? Let us know in the comments below.