Google Pixel 3a Reportedly Being Throttled By Digital Wellbeing

Google might have a big problem with its Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, and it extends to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, too.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

According to a Reddit thread, new Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL owners are experiencing major performance problems that are causing their smartphones to slow down. Those folks have tried several tactics to address the problem, but ultimately found that disabling the Digital Wellbeing app on their caused significant improvements to the functionality.

Google released its Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL at its Google I/O conference last week. The handsets are designed for the midrange smartphone market and come with a $399 starting price. Most importantly, they offer a solid slate of features for the price, including compelling designs and a camera that compares nicely to high-end alternatives. The smartphones have generally received strong reviews.

Digital Wellbeing debuted in Android Pie last year to give you more insight into how you're using your smartphone. Similar to Apple's Screen Time, the app runs in the background and collects usage data. It then tells you all about your smartphone usage and gives you controls to improve your productivity.

MORE: Google Pixel 3a Review: The Phone You Want for $400

It's unclear why the Digital Wellbeing app might be causing problems in the Pixel 3a lineup. The app is running fine in other Android installations and users haven't complained about it elsewhere. It's possible, therefore, that the finding is circumstantial and could be caused by something else. Google hasn't said publicly whether the Pixel 3a troubles are due to Digital Wellbeing or something else.

It's also worth noting that it's impossible to say for sure how widespread the problem is. There are several commenters on the Reddit thread who are complaining about the slowdowns, but they only represent a small portion of the user base. It's unclear whether a larger number of people is experiencing the problem.

But given how important the Pixel 3a lineup is to Google's future, look for much more on this one before it's resolved.

If you're looking to turn off Digital Wellbeing to improve your performance, simply go to your device's Settings and search "Usage Access." Choose Digital Wellbeing and toggle the option that says "Permit Usage Access" to off.

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.