Pixel 3a and 3a XL Phones Are Randomly Shutting Down

Google’s new budget Pixel 3a phones have received rave reviews since launch. However, the newest members of the Pixel line seem to have not only inherited the features and looks of the standard Pixel 3s, but also their bugginess.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Around the internet, Pixel 3a users are reporting that their phones are shutting themselves down without any good reason. As reported by Android Police, the issue which affects both the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL can strike at any time the phone’s not in active use, and requires a reset to wake the phones from their sudden bout of narcolepsy.

Fortunately, the phones work fine after that, with all stored data etc. intact, that is until they suffer another unexpected shutdown, with a T-Mobile subreddit user complaining that they’d had three in one day.

MORE: Pixel 3a vs. iPhone XR: Which Budget Phone Wins?

In experiments to try and diagnose the issue, the phones’ users found that Safe Mode (which boots up the phone only with the default apps) doesn’t prevent the shutdowns, with one user positing that the issue was somehow related to the phone’s WiFi connection, saying that disconnecting their Pixel 3a from their home network seemed to stop the crashes.

One user, posting to Reddit’s r/GooglePixel subreddit, said that they had performed a full factory reset, and had not seen any problems for about 15 hours since that time.

Pixel phones have an unfortunate reputation for having bugs. Whether it’s the camera, call quality, performance slowdown, the display, the display again, the external speaker, the camera again, or the speaker again, the Pixel, Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 all were saddled with regular problems, with the family curse being passed on to the 3a now as well.

The Pixel 2 also suffered from random reboots, which appeared to be caused by connection issues to cell signals. Fortunately, Google came back with a fix which affected users could then download and solve the problem.

Some of the Pixel 3a owners suffering from these unwanted shutdowns are now returning their phones, hoping that replacement devices won’t have the same issue. Whether it’s hardware or software that’s causing the issue, hopefully it’s an easy fix for Google and Pixel 3a users.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.