Google Pixel update causing battery drain — what you need to know

Pixel 7 Pro
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Last week, Google's quarterly feature drop added new widgets and home screen customization among other updates. Unfortunately, as with several of the last Pixel Feature Drops, the latest build appears to be causing battery drain, connectivity and overheating issues for some users. 

A slew of Google Pixel owners posted on both Reddit and Google’s own support forum over the weekend about seeing their phone's battery draining faster than usual after the update. The issue is so bad that, in some cases, users say their phone's battery can't last through the day without needing a charge by the afternoon or requiring a charge multiple times a day. Some report their battery life appears to be draining more quickly even when their phone is sitting idle.

Phones experiencing the issue also seem to be running hotter than usual, leading to overheating in some cases. As for connectivity problems, users are reporting sudden and frequent signal drops on their Pixel phones

Smartphones from the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 lines are among the most heavily impacted. One workaround seems to be restarting your phone at least once a day to keep these issues at bay according to some Pixel owners. It would also be a good idea to check your Android battery health with this step-by-step guide. 

When to expect a fix

Thankfully Pixel owners shouldn't have to wait too long for a fix. Google tends to release new updates around the first Monday of the month, so we could see a patch as soon as next week.

Granted, Google's Pixel smartphones have never been known for their battery life to begin with. So keep your expectations in check. There's a reason why you won't find them among our top picks for the best phone battery life.

The Pixel 6 Pro’s battery life lasted several hours less than the competition in our tests, averaging just under eight hours of juice. The Pixel 7 Pro's battery performed better, but not by much, at around nine and a half hours.

That's due to several reasons. Firstly, the tensor chips powering both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series are less power efficient than those found on the best Android smartphones like Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon chips. Secondly, for the high-end Pro models specifically, the bigger and brighter displays have proven to be serious power guzzlers.

As for why the latest Google update may have made things worse is anyone's guess, but it's not the first time we've seen it. The company pushed out a patch last month for the Google app following reports of a bug causing the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 family to overheat and drain battery life. 

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.