Losing faith in Google: Bug sends my Pixel 6 Pro into “hardware coma”; Pixel 6A security issues

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Losing faith in Google: Bug sends my Pixel 6 Pro into “hardware coma”; Pixel 6A security issues
I think I've had enough...

The Pixel 6 Pro is the best-looking phone I've ever owned, and it comes with the best camera on a phone I've ever had. Especially that 4x periscope zoom lens, as I write in a number of stories.

But the bug situation on Google's Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and now Pixel 6A is simply going out of control. It's just as frustrating as the Pixel 6 Pro's 4x camera is amazing, and that's really an amazing camera!

I had this article lined up anyway, but last night came what's probably the lowest point in my relationship with the Google Pixel 6 Pro, and I had to pull this unpleasant story ahead…

So, here we go…

New Pixel 6 Pro bug causes the screen to freeze completely for 1-2 minutes

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I was watching football-related videos on YouTube just before midnight (as one does) when my Google Pixel 6 Pro froze… completely and unrecoverably (I hope that's a word). As you can see in the video above, the phone was in this state for about two minutes.

The screen was completely unresponsive, but interestingly the audio from the YouTube video kept playing in the background. All physical buttons on the phone also worked fine, which would've been my only saving grace in case I had to force-restart it (you do this by holding down the power and volume-up button for as long as needed).

I started performing what I can only describe as "tech CPR" on the phone, tapping and shaking it to see if it was going to "come back to life". This didn't help. Eventually, the Pixel 6 Pro (on its own terms) decided to put an end to the prank and… went back to normal.

And… exhale!

Now, luckily, I was at home, watching YouTube videos and not out and about, trying to make an important phone call or send a text message. So, it's all good...

Except it isn't. Someone else might not be in the same situation when the bugs hit. Also, this bug is a drop in the ocean of Pixel 6 Pro issues I've experienced (or read about) in the past ten months of me owning this otherwise promising phone. The bad news is that new bugs keep on coming…

Google Pixel 6 Pro: More and new bugs on the horizon before Pixel 7 series launch

A few days before what I call The Big Freeze, the Pixel 6 Pro reminded me of its wonky past by throwing in a few new bugs that I hadn't seen before. You know… because, why not! Both problems have been encountered by other users too, who have reported them on YouTube and Twitter.

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The first one is a "multitasking freeze", which we reported days ago. Back then, I hadn't experienced the bug myself, but sure enough, I eventually did. The phone would become unresponsive when I go into the multitasking menu/app switcher. It would stay like that for a few seconds and then go back to normal.

That's two occasions on which the Pixel 6 Pro has been completely unresponsive for me in the past two weeks, and I don't even use this phone every day (which means it might be far buggier than I know).

The other bug is a piece of cake that, at this point, I feel embarrassed to even bring up - it's such a tiny problem, given the other Pixel 6 issues I've come across. Anyway, the YouTube comment text box systematically covers up my comment when I'm trying to edit it/select text. It's indeed a tiny thing in the face of all other issues with the Pixel 6, but it can be very frustrating for someone who's trying to defend their favorite football/soccer player in the YouTube comment section.

Viva Ronaldo.

Pixel 6A: Google's latest update doesn't fix fingerprint reader security issues - strangers can still unlock your new Pixel

But right when you think Google's bug situation can't get worse, there's always someone else's Pixel phone to prove you wrong.

As I wrote in one of my recent stories and as seen in multiple videos shared by tech reviewers like Geekyranjit and Beboom, the new Google Pixel 6A's fingerprint scanner:

  • Can be unlocked by fingers that aren't registered - you can unlock the phone with your left and right thumb, even if only one of your thumbs is registered
  • Lets other people unlock your phone

In my previous story on the topic, I said that we shouldn't be too quick to panic, as Google still had time to send an update that fixes the issue. Furthermore, we can now confirm that, as of now, our own Pixel 6A review unit (purchased independently) does not exhibit the same issues reported by colleagues and users in India.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, the latest software update that the Google Pixel 6A has received seems to have done nothing about the fingerprint security flaw on the phone...

So, it appears like everyone buying a Pixel 6A right now runs the risk of coming across a unit that might have a faulty fingerprint scanner that lets others unlock your phone, which is… you know… not great. At all.

Ranjit says that he's hoping the problem isn't related to a "poor quality sensor issue on some units", which leads me to believe he suspects Indian Pixel 6A  units might have faulty fingerprint readers, unlike Pixel 6A units sold elsewhere. While this can't be confirmed yet, it's in line with the fact that the other people who are reporting Pixel 6A fingerprint reader issues are also from India.

Technically, if the problem is only found on Indian Pixel 6A units, that would make Google's job of fixing it easier. However, that might mean that Google has chosen to equip the Indian Pixel 6A with an inferior fingerprint reader, which isn't admirable. I really don't know what's "better" in this situation - if the problem is local or if it's widespread. Either puts Google in an awkward position.

Pixel 7, Pixel Fold, Pixel Watch, Pixel Tablet: Can we trust a Google product ever again?

Honestly, the whole Pixel 6 series bug mess feels like a practical joke that Google is playing on everyone. I feel like Sundar Pichai will eventually put out a TikTok video, revealing that we've been Punked. But that's surely not the case. Sundar's not on TikTok.

Look… I'm willing to cut Google some slack here. In the end, the Pixel 6 series is a completely new endeavor for the company. Most of the hardware on Pixel 6 phones is new for Google (although that's not really the case with the Pixel 6A), and Tensor is a brand new, original chip that clearly needs more tuning. Despite having been available for a year now, Android 12 also seems to be a work in progress.

The thing is that even a device like the Nothing Phone 1, which is quite literally Nothing's first smartphone release, doesn't seem to be showing the same amount of bugs, or at least ones that are as serious as a totally unresponsive Pixel 6 Pro or a faulty Pixel 6A fingerprint reader that can lead to your private data being stolen. Do you see my point?

So, all of this makes me ask myself a question I already asked you all in a poll a few weeks ago, here at PhoneArena. Mind you, that was before the Pixel 6 Pro screen freeze and Pixel 6A fingerprint scanner issues…

Now, I have to ask again: Do you think you can trust Google with another future product release? Are you going to upgrade to a Pixel 7? Are you going to pre-order the long-awaited Pixel Watch? And are you going to buy the first Pixel Tablet once this one's out next year?

I'm not trying to get a particular answer here. All I know is that the answer for me is… no. I'm not buying another Google product without seeing at least a few reliable reviews. Preferably long-term reviews.

I pre-ordered a Pixel, which turned out to be the most unreliable phone I've seen in a while. Despite how much I love the design, software, and camera on the Pixel 6 Pro, and although it's given me things to write about (I wish it didn't)... buying it was a mistake.

Anyway, who wants to buy a Sorta Sunny Pixel 6 Pro? Mint condition. Always kept in a case. Original packaging. The price is negotiable. Ships anywhere in Germany/Europe. It's an amazing phone. No issues at all. You'll love it.

Find me on Twitter.

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