Digital Wellbeing Hands-On

Update, May 29, 2019: Some Google Pixel 3 owners have complained about performance problems, with one mooted solution being to disable the Digital Wellbeing feature. Now, Google has explained why its flagship devices have been sluggish, and it’s not because of this functionality.

“We conducted a thorough analysis based on the bug reports and internal testing, and have found no performance issues associated with the Digital Wellbeing app on Pixel,” read an excerpt of a response posted by the official PixelCommunity reddit account.

Read: I’m tired of giving up battery life for a reasonably sized phone

“During the investigation, we identified changes unrelated to the bug reports for improving performance, and we are in the process of rolling out those changes to make your Pixel device better,” it added.

It seems odd that Digital Wellbeing isn’t to blame when several users reported that disabling the feature made a difference. Two Android Authority team members noticed an improvement too. Whatever the case may be, hopefully the fix rolls out soon.

Original article, May 8, 2019 (11:52AM ET): Since the release of the device, owners of the Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL have complained about sluggish performance and RAM management issues. Although several tips have popped up to combat these issues, one new tip seems to be the one-size-fits-all workaround.

According to /u/trueray17 on Reddit, disabling Digital Wellbeing on his Google Pixel 3 dramatically increased both performance and RAM management. In a thread on the topic, other Redditors agreed that this significantly changed their Pixel 3 performance.

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For what it’s worth, we tried out disabling Digital Wellbeing on two Pixel 3s to see what happened. We found that certain actions — like unlocking the phone, for example — seemed faster than before, and overall performance was improved.

We reached out to Google to get its take on this discovery. However, likely due to Google I/O 2019 being in full swing, the company wasn’t able to get a statement to us. We will update this article if we hear back.

How to turn off Digital Wellbeing

If you want to try this out yourself on your own Pixel 3, here are the instructions for disabling Digital Wellbeing:

  1. Open the Digital Wellbeing interface by heading to Settings > Digital Wellbeing.
  2. Tap the three-dot menu button in the upper right corner.
  3. Select Turn off usage access.
  4. A warning message will appear telling you that doing this will make Digital Wellbeing non-functional. Tap Turn off in Settings.
  5. The Usage Access section will appear. Tap on Digital Wellbeing.
  6. Tap the toggle next to Permit usage access so it is in the “off” position.

By following the steps above, you will have disabled Digital Wellbeing. After doing so, play around with your Pixel 3 and see if actions are smoother/faster. Also, open a bunch of apps and try to do something constantly, like stream music. If everything works better than before, then maybe deactivating Digital Wellbeing is the right move for you.

Let us know how this fares for you in the comments!

NEXT: Google’s Digital Wellbeing is making its way to more devices

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