Google rolls out fix for Pixel battery drain issue

A recent Google app update caused some phones to overheat.

David Imel for Engadget

If a Pixel phone is your daily driver, you may have noticed an issue with your phone's battery. An Engadget reader contacted us on Sunday to report that their Pixel 6 Pro had recently been overheating and excessively draining its battery. The culprit was a Google app update that began rolling out on May 12th.

“I haven't touched my phone in the past hour. It's just been on a standard wireless charger,” the reader says of a screenshot (seen below) they sent of their phone’s settings menu, showing the Google app burning through the 6 Pro’s battery in the background. “Still very hot, and if I didn't roll back to a different version, I wouldn't have a net increase on my phone's battery.”

A screenshot showing the battery usage on Pixel phones following a recent Google app update.
Courtesy of Engadget reader

A visit to Reddit and the Google support forums shows other Pixel users were experiencing the same issue. “It just started yesterday. Massive battery usage from Google app and to a lesser degree Android System Intelligence. I just went through and did a factory reset, reinstalled most things and it's still happening,” one Reddit user wrote. “Beyond the battery not lasting the phone is getting really warm so I know it's harming the battery and potentially the CPU.”

Some tried rolling back to an older version of the Google app, but that did nothing to fix the problem for them. “Actually ended up with an even older version from May 10, still draining the battery,” writes one Redditor. On Monday, Google acknowledged the problem and issued a fix via an automatic update: "A recent Google App backend change unintentionally resulted in a subset of Android devices experiencing accelerated battery drain," the company said in a statement. "We rolled out a fix shortly after becoming aware of the issue, and impacted users should see their devices return to normal behavior immediately. This fix does not require an app update."

It's not the first time an update has caused headaches for users. Last May, Google had to patch the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro after an earlier update caused the phones to produce much weaker haptic feedback. The year before the company paused the rollout of its December Pixel update after users found it was making their phones drop calls.

Update 05/16/2023 2:34 AM ET: The article has been updated with Google's statement acknowledging the issue and saying a fix has been rolled out via an automatic update.

Update 05/16/2023 11:08AM ET: The title of this article has been updated to reflect Google addressed the issue.