Pixel 4 users hear popping sounds on video playback; another issue affects the Pixel 4 XL's camera

Pixel 4 users hear popping sounds on video playback; another issue affects the Pixel 4 XL's camera
The Google Pixel 4 series was released last Thursday and for some buyers, it is bringing back some unwelcome memories. You might recall that when the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL launched back in 2017, both phones had a number of issues right away. The Pixel 2 XL screen suffered from burn-in that left "ghost images" of the navigational controls at the bottom of the phone. While no software update could fix that issue, the Pixel 2 had its own issues that were manageable. The model was known for the strange ticking and high-frequency sounds that users would hear on phone calls.

Now we know that strange noises are not one of the Pixel 4 line's new features, but on Google's Pixel Phone Help website a number of Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL users are complaining about tapping or clicking sounds heard on videos recorded using the camera that comes with the Instagram app. On Reddit, the same complaint was posted about the audio captured on videos taken with the camera that comes with the Snapchat app. The popping noise, which occurs every half-second to a second according to one complaint, was compared to the sound of a metronome by one user. The sound is not heard when the phone's own camera is being used with one exception; when the AR based Playground mode in the Google Camera app is employed, the popping does surface.

Once again the latest Pixel models are making strange noises


John Bowdre, a Platinum Product Expert on Google's Pixel page, wrote that he was about to blame the third party apps (a practice that in the tech world is known as 'passing the buck'). However, he admittedly had to reassess this position after hearing that the issue affected the videos taken in Playground mode by the stock camera app. In addition, some users complained that the popping could be heard on videos taken in Safe Mode, certainly indicating that the problem causing the issue lies within the phone itself. The good news is that Bowdre believes that this could be a software problem that could easily be solved with a software update.

The expert's post also said that Google would like to hear from those with a Pixel 4 model that has exhibited this issue. This can be done via the Send feedback option found in the Google Camera app's settings, and by contacting Google's Pixel team directly at Settings > About phone > Send feedback about this device. Keep in mind that this affliction doesn't affect all units.

Meanwhile, another issue has arisen according to a Reddit user with the handle nalrodriguez. This problem is affecting the camera on the Pixel 4 XL, more specifically the camera's algorithm related to white balance correction. As a result, indoor lighting is coming out wrong with red lighting looking yellow and purple lighting coming out blue. The post also noted that this problem has surfaced on three different Pixel 4 XL units. Also, it doesn't seem to affect the Pixel 3 camera or RAW images. This could mean that processing related to the HDR+ feature is at fault; this could be another problem fixable via a software update.


It does seem as though Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL users are awaiting a number of different software updates. Besides one to eliminate the popping noise on videos, there could be one to adjust the white balance adjustment on the camera. Then there is the update that will allow users to demand that their eyes be open in order for Face unlock to unlock their phone. Lastly, another update will allow Pixel 4 users to refresh their screen at 90Hz even when the display brightness is set at under 75%.

All new phones can benefit from software updates after their initial release dates, and nothing will ever arrive half baked like the BlackBerry Storm 9530. But the Pixel 4 launch did nothing to change the Pixel's reputation for launching with some annoying issues.

Related phones

Pixel 4
  • Display 5.7 inches
    2280 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Dual camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 10
Pixel 4 XL
  • Display 6.3 inches
    3040 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Dual camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, 6GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3700 mAh
  • OS Android 10

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