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" 1080 x 2280 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 2800 mAh
Pixel 4 XL
  • Display 6.3" 1440 x 3040 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3700 mAh

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15 Comments

1. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

So who's really surprised that a new generation of Pixels are having issues so soon after launch? "Bugs" and "issues" are like features for Pixels.

4. maherk

Posts: 6999; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Watch out for that specific fanboy telling you that Huawei makes trashy phones, and that these bugs on Pixel phones aren't real and are part of a smearing campaign that is targeted at Google.

8. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Lmao exactly.

9. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

I can't figure out why the mid-range 3a phones are so much better in this regard.

10. meanestgenius

Posts: 22388; Member since: May 28, 2014

Me neither. But it’s clear that Google needs to stick with the midrange Pixels, and discontinue doing flagships.

11. Vancetastic

Posts: 1698; Member since: May 17, 2017

For sure!

13. Centauri0

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 19, 2019

The 3a had all of the software bugs patched already from the 3.

2. bitwiser

Posts: 27; Member since: Sep 28, 2018

my wife and i have both had the regular pixel and XL every year since version 1...NEVER have had ANY of the issues brought up on these websites...BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION!!!! They just like complaining about something :P

3. torr310

Posts: 1690; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Google quality..... I had been using Galaxy S series for the past 5 years at least and never had a problem.

15. datkidpatrick

Posts: 4; Member since: Sep 06, 2018

never not 1 huh? lol i haven't had any of the issues reported, but i don't deny they are real for those people... phones have issues to write google off because their issues are reported by like every tech site is silly...

5. Alcyone

Posts: 533; Member since: May 10, 2018

Software fixes are tolerable, and happen quite a bit more than people expect. Imo, I'd bet there is a coding issue that was simply overlooked in testing. Every pixel will have software problems, its just inevitable. Codes can interfere with each other and vice versa. Least its not looking like hardware failure Aka, the U1 update alert and airdrop not backing. Geniuses have seen U1 hardware failures and replaced 11s. Denial and noncoverage doesn't mean people didn't experience it. Equal reporting would be nice...

6. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 432; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

Pixel knight comes in to save the day. First the issues in this article are old and clearly can be fix since the popping noise is in 3rd party apps and color change is because the smart white balance that may need a tweak. Actually with the release of the Pixel 4 google clearly has step up in delivery of the phones and way less bugs and issues then compared to the past releases. Pixel 4 devices are solid! Pixel knights rise up!

7. User123456789

Posts: 1084; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Is this the "best camera"? Every year something wrong comes with the phone. - mono audio recording, vibrating ois, microphone issues and now this.

12. aegislash

Posts: 1526; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

To virtually no one's surprise. Bugs and Pixel have become synonymous.

16. 4-tae

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 30, 2019

Everyone is doubting the Pixel brand as a whole lol. I'm personally going to stick with the 3a I have, but I think Pixel still has a chance with flagship phones. I think we're going to see the Pixel 5 a lot sooner than we think

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