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Google Pixel 4 software white balance has bugs (Update: Fixed with Nov. patch)

Some Pixel 4 users have reported an issue where the camera's auto white balance overcompensates, but it appears to be fixed.

Published onNovember 11, 2019

Google Pixel 4 camera closeup

Update, November 11, 2019 (10:25 AM ET): The Pixel 4 white balance issue described below appears to have been fixed with the November security patch. Going forward, you should be able to take photos without drastic color changes as we saw in the example shots in this article.

If you still haven’t received the November security patch on your Google Pixel 4, though, you’re not alone. Hopefully, everyone will have it soon enough.

Original article, October 28, 2019 (07:00 PM ET): The Google Pixel 4 has a very good camera — there’s no doubt about it. But with all of Google’s software wizardry, something is bound to go awry occasionally. According to Reddit user nalrodriguez, that’s exactly what happened when he tried to take a picture while his Philips Hue light bulbs were set to red.

As you can tell by the pictures below, the Pixel 4’s camera tried to auto-correct the room’s white balance. Instead of creating a more natural-looking photo, the color dramatically changes from bright red to stark yellow.

So far, we haven’t been able to replicate this behavior on our own Pixel 4 devices, but the Redditor isn’t the only person who is affected by this issue. Android Police shared a deep red theater curtain turned pale pink thanks to the Pixel 4’s software.

The Reddit user also shared shots taken from their Pixel 3, but the issue doesn’t seem to impact last generation’s device. Shots taken by the Pixel 3 do a significantly better job trying to correct the white balance compared to the Pixel 4.

Related: Camera shootout: Pixel 4 vs the best smartphone cameras around

We aren’t sure what causes this issue at this moment. It is most likely a shortcoming in Google’s algorithm, but we don’t know why this would affect some devices and not others.

Hopefully, Google fixes this soon. Pixel 4 users should keep an eye out for a future camera update addressing the issue.

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