This YouTube video is forcing Pixel phones to reboot — don’t click it

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

Pixel owners watching YouTube or browsing social media will want to avoid clicking on a certain video as it could crash their phones and make them reboot.

As reported by The Verge, the video in question is a clip from the 1979 sci-fi film Alien in 4K HDR. While the clip was uploaded two years ago, Pixel owners have taken to Reddit to discuss the matter.

Apparently, watching the clip using the YouTube app causes Pixel phones to instantly reboot. While most users report that their devices are fine afterwards, some Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro owners report that they lost cellular connectivity afterwards. Fortunately, a second reboot restored their phones to working order.

Tom’s Guide tried watching the clip on a Pixel 7 to confirm the issue and our device did indeed crash and then reboot. However, as there wasn’t a SIM card in it at the time, we were unable to determine whether or not we had lost cellular connectivity.

Which Pixel phones are affected?

Besides Google’s latest Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, other Pixel devices using the search giant’s Tensor chips are affected.

Both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro suffer reboots after watching the clip from Alien as does the cheaper Pixel 6a. However, not all users who watched the YouTube video experienced reboots on their devices.

At this time, it’s still unclear as to what causes the issue but some Pixel owners have speculated that it could be the result of the way in which Pixel phones handle color. A similar issue occurred back in 2020 when both Samsung and Google’s phones began experiencing crashes from using a particular Android wallpaper.

For now, the safest thing you can do as a Pixel owner is to avoid watching the video in question no matter how exciting it may be to watch the Nostromo’s captain search the ship from the first Alien film wielding a flamethrower.

Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.