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Here's what to do if your Pixel 4 XL's back starts peeling off

The issue isn't due to battery swelling, but Google hasn't revealed a true cause.

Published onMay 22, 2021

Google launched its Pixel 4 XL back in 2019 with a whole host of premium features. It was released in a variety of bright colors and packed Google’s first-ever dual camera setup. However, the device hasn’t been without its issues. One of the most serious problems to emerge is the back panels of Pixel 4 XLs have begun to fall off. Here’s what you need to know about the problem.

See also: Google Pixel 4 buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know

What’s the issue?

We’ve all heard of the phrase “the wheels are falling off” when things start to go wrong, but the Pixel 4 XL has added a new wrinkle to the saying. On Reddit and Google’s own forum, users have reported an issue where the rear glass starts to peel off their phone. It typically starts in one corner of the Google Pixel 4 XL and cannot be reattached.

The issue does not seem to be limited to one country, as some Google forum users have reported the issue from Russia, and others on Reddit have had the same issue here in the US. Check out the gallery below for evidence of the problem:

Unfortunately, Google hasn’t exactly revealed where the issue comes from on the Pixel 4 XL. The best we’ve gotten so far is a comment on Reddit announcing that the company has done an investigation into the matter. Google did determine that it’s not a battery swelling problem as many feared but has not given a possible alternative explanation.

A Reddit user who claims to be a general manager of a uBreakiFix store — an authorized Google repair partner — suggested faulty battery connectors could cause the issue on the Pixel 4 XL. However, it should be made clear this Reddit user is not an official spokesperson for the company. According to the user, the battery connectors are brittle and break apart even with normal use. “That leads to battery swelling. It is a major issue with the 4 XL series, and I don’t understand why Google is not supporting it properly,” he writes.

When did the Google Pixel 4 XL start having this issue?

google pixel 4 xl long term review 1
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

We originally wrote our article on the subject in July of 2020, when we first started to notice reports of the issue. However, some Google Forum posts are dated as far back as June 2020, suggesting that the problem has been around longer than expected. Some users also mention carrying their phones in cases at first, which could hide the flaw.

Google’s response came shortly after our initial writing, suggesting that the company got to work quickly locating the source of the issue. The backs of Google Pixel 4 XLs have likely continued to peel off, though you can no longer buy the phone, which could complicate the repair process.

Is there a potential fix?

google pixel 4 xl revisited display
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

While some users have received replacement Pixel 4 XL units after reporting the issue to Google, others haven’t been so lucky. Product experts on Google’s support forum advise users to contact Pixel support, but the company hasn’t acknowledged the issue officially.

Google’s statement on Reddit advises Pixel 4 XL users to contact 1:1 customer support for warranty information, though we can’t say for certain if the company is still offering replacement devices. No matter the cause of this Pixel 4 XL issue, exposed internals can be dangerous and a possible fire hazard, so please proceed with caution if you notice a peeling back panel.

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