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The Google Pixel 3 camera is great, it just doesn't save pictures sometimes (Update: Fix incoming)

The Pixel 3 reportedly has an issue with its camera system whereby some photos fail to save. The issue is said to go back to the days of the Nexus 5X.

Published onOctober 23, 2018

  • The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL reportedly have a camera issue that means photos sometimes fail to save.
  • The problem is said to have affected several Google phones previously, going back to the Nexus series.
  • The issue has been noted in the Google Product Forums, but Google is yet to respond.

Update October 23, 2018 (12:40pm ET): After being pressed for comment, Google confirmed that it has identified the bug causing the camera issues. The problem should be fixed “in the coming weeks” via a software update. As Google plans to roll out the fix to all three Pixel generations, there’s a good chance that it might be included in the November security patch.

Google provided Android Police with the following statement:

We will be rolling out a software update in the coming weeks to address the rare case of a photo not properly saving.

Original post October 19, 2018 (6:37am ET): The Google Pixel 3 comes with one of the best cameras on Android, but it also appears to suffer from a peculiar problem. The Pixel 3 and Pixel XL 3 will sometimes fail to save photos that have just been taken — an issue that’s believed to go back to the Nexus days.

Our own David Imel observed this during his time with the unit, and the Reddit community has dug up several examples too; this is not an isolated incident. There are also comments in the Google Product Forums regarding the matter, so Google has now been alerted.

Though the company hasn’t yet weighed in on the issue, some device owners have discussed their experiences and offered suggestions as to what may be causing it.

Should you replace your aging Google Pixel with a new Pixel 3?

Some folks noted the problem occurs when leaving the camera app or locking the phone soon after taking a snap, perhaps while certain processes are ongoing. This has also been linked to the Android Doze battery saving feature, as disabling that seems to have solved the problem for a couple of people.

These days, many people take several snaps of a particular scene or moment to make sure they get a great shot; one photo going missing every once in a while may not be a disaster in those circumstances. However, there also bound to be times when a person takes a single photograph of something important, and losing it unexpectedly could be incredibly frustrating.

Hopefully, this will be addressed shortly, though if it’s been going on since the Nexus 5X/Nexus 6P days as suggested, maybe not.

A quick note on Pixel 3 issues

We may encounter plenty more Pixel 3 problems in the coming weeks, as we did with the original Pixel and Pixel 2, and you might be thinking: “Why are Google’s phones always so prone to problems?” But they aren’t, necessarily.

The people who tend to buy these phones are often ‘enthusiasts’ — those who are not only more likely to notice issues with displays, cameras or performance, but also talk about these online. Google also has an easily accessed and intuitive space to post these complaints. This, in turn, generates headlines about those problems.

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL stood upright outdoors against brickwork.
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Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

Being the phones of the Android creator itself, tech journalists tend to use Pixels extensively as it gives them a reference point for other phones — as well as faster software updates. Journalists use these as daily drivers not just in the run-up to review but also long after, giving smaller problems a greater chance to be spotted.

All of this means problems — major or minor — bubble to the surface in a way that is unique to the Pixel series. There may be phones with fewer problems, but there will undoubtedly be those with the same or many more. Just keep it in mind, especially if you like the look of the phone and are considering buying one.

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