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Google Pixel 6 has yet another charging issue — watch out for this

A photo of the Google Pixel 6 Pro
(Image credit: Future)

If you picked up a Google Pixel 6, but didn’t cough up the extra $25 for the official USB-C charging brick, you might want to pay attention. Because some users are reporting that non-Google charging cables aren’t working the way they should.

A large number of users have posted about their problems over on the Google forums (via 9to5Google). This was prompted by the original post from Alexandru Dumitrache, complaining that multiple cables and charging bricks weren’t providing power to the phone.

The original poster ended up using the official Pixel 6 cable (the one from the box) with an Apple USB-C charging brick. A Google Platinum Product Expert recommended that Alexandru avoid using USB-A cables since they aren’t likely to charge the Pixel 6 properly. 

The expert even went so far as to say that USB-A cables may only be able slowly charge the Pixel 6 when it’s switched off. Meaning you should use a USB-C to USB-C cable capable of supporting the same USB Power Delivery fast charging standard.

Weirdly, this hasn’t been my experience with the Google Pixel 6 Pro. My phone has almost exclusively slowly charged since launch with USB-A cables and chargers that don’t appear to support USB Power Delivery. It takes several hours to fully recharge, but the phone is still pulling in power.

So, after hearing this story I even dug out some of the most generic chargers and cables I could find, and see if I could replicate the issue. We’re talking 5V chargers that are only rated to offer about 5W of power. One of them is literally a power supply for an IKEA desk lamp, because even those are powered by USB these days.

Aside from the fact it took about 10 seconds to initialize, my Pixel 6 Pro did start charging when connected to the generic hardware. Meanwhile, the phone started recharging without delay when I plugged it into a USB-C Hub that supports the Power Delivery standard.

The cheap generic bricks were charging very slowly, but the battery percentage did go up. Even with my phone playing videos on YouTube at 75% brightness. Which is more than I can say for my cheap Qi wireless charger, which is so terrible it can only stop the battery decreasing when the screen is on.

Weird situation all round, though part of me wonders whether this has something to do with mains voltage. After all 120V is the norm in the majority of wall sockets in the U.S., while here in the U.K. plugs handle 240V.

In any case Google’s support page does say: “Other Android cables and power adapters might not work with Pixel phones.” Likewise almost all phone companies recommend you use official charging hardware to avoid damage or fire safety issues. 

In any case, it’s worth pointing out to Pixel 6 owners that they may face charging issues with generic chargers. Considering the common excuse for not providing a charging brick in the box is that most people will already have suitable hardware, this is not a particularly good look for Google. 

If your phone doesn’t work with common chargers, then maybe you should put one in the box.Especially if you insist on offering a dual USB-C cable that won’t work with the common USB-A charging brick.

Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.