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Google Pixel 7a problems and how to fix them

Most should be fixed with future software updates.
By
December 18, 2023

The Pixel 7a is one of the best budget-friendly phones you can get, especially if you want fantastic cameras. Google’s “a” series continues to get better with every generation, and the Pixel 7a borrows plenty of design elements and hardware from its flagship siblings, from the Tensor G2 processing package and the metal camera “visor” on the back to useful extras like wireless charging and dust and water resistance. However, like with any smartphone, the Pixel 7a isn’t free from bugs and glitches. Here’s a look at some common Google Pixel 7a problems and how to fix them!

Editor's note: It's important to remember that not every Pixel 7a will have these problems. In fact, you might not come across any issues at all.


Problem #1: Fingerprint scanner issues

google pixel 7a fingerprint sensor 2
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

One of the most common complaints about the Pixel 7a concerns the fingerprint scanner. Some users say the scanner recognizes their fingerprint only once every two or three tries or is slow when reading the fingerprint and unlocking the phone. Fingerprint scanner issues were prevalent with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 6 series, which seems to have carried over to the Pixel 7a.

Potential solutions:

  • Adding the same fingerprint multiple times might work. Go to Settings > Security > Fingerprint unlock and add the same fingerprint again. Some users say that hard presses during the setup process and following the guide precisely help. Press firmly on the screen while adding a fingerprint to see if that fixes the problem.
  • Your screen protector could also cause problems with the fingerprint sensor. You can try increasing touch sensitivity if the scanner works intermittently or doesn’t work with the screen protector. Go to Settings > Display and toggle on Screen Protector mode.
  • The fingerprint sensor might be unavailable when the phone is asleep. To ensure that doesn’t happen, go to Settings > Display > Lockscreen and toggle on Always show time and info. In the same menu, you can also enable Tap to check phone and Lift to check phone.
  • Ensure that your screen is clean and dry before attempting to use your fingerprint to unlock your device.
  • Oddly enough, some users suggest the sensor struggles to recognize completely dry hands. To this end, try moisturizing your hands, whether with water or actual moisturizer, drying them, then trying the fingerprint sensor once again.
    • If you don’t have moisturizer at hand, some Reddit users have suggested wiping your finger on your forehead, nose, scalp, or even licking your finger may improve the fingerprint sensor’s accuracy.
  • Google hasn’t officially acknowledged this problem yet, but a future software update will likely include a fix to improve or solve the phone’s fingerprint sensor problem.

If you’re dealing with another hardware fault, you can try to self-repair your Pixel 7a.


Problem #2: Rapid battery drain

google pixel 7a home screen 2
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

In Android Authority’s Pixel 7a review, Ryan found the phone’s battery life to be mediocre, with the phone barely lasting a day with above-average use. It seems like this has also been the battery life experience for other Pixel 7a owners. However, more concerning is that some users complain about rapid battery drain, even when they aren’t actively using it.

Potential solutions:

  • There are plenty of factors that affect a smartphone’s battery life. But remember that you will notice faster than usual battery drain for a few days or even a week or so after you set up a new phone. This “settling” period allows the phone to learn your usage habits to make the most of its Adaptive Battery feature. A few users say that they now get around five hours of screen-on time and a comfortable full day of use after a week or so.
  • If you still have problems, check out our guide on what to do if your phone suffers from rapid battery drain or poor battery life.
  • A rogue app might cause a rapid battery drain as well. Try uninstalling any recently installed or updated apps to see if the problem goes away. Go to Settings > Battery > Battery usage to see which apps utilize the battery the most. Then go to Settings > Apps > (app name) > App battery usage and select Optimized or Restricted. However, the “restricted” option might cause problems with how the app works and result in notification delays.

Problem #3: Pixel 7a overheating

google pixel 7a using strava
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

One of the more common problems with the Pixel 7a is overheating. The phone gets uncomfortably warm with even slightly processor-intensive tasks. This not only affects performance but can cause rapid battery drain as well.

Potential solutions:

  • Unfortunately, the Tensor G2 processor that powers the Pixel 7a tends to overheat with even average usage. The only option is to wait for Google to acknowledge and fix the issue with a future software update.
  • The Adaptive Battery and other features play a role as well. The phone might take a few days to “learn” your usage habits. Some users say that the overheating problem goes away after that.
  • Until then, you can try a few things to stop your phone from overheating. While some steps in the guide are specific to Samsung smartphones, most suggestions will also apply to the Pixel 7a.
  • A rogue app is often the culprit when it comes to the phone overheating. Google’s monthly software updates fix plenty of bugs but might also cause new problems. Some Google apps have caused overheating and rapid battery drain, but Google tends to fix them quite quickly. However, a quick fix may not be as readily available with third-party apps. Delete any recently installed or updated apps to see if the problem disappears.

Problem #4: Lag, stuttering, and random reboots

google pixel 7a homescreen 1
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

This problem isn’t particularly widespread, but a few users mention facing performance issues like lag, stuttering, apps freezing or crashing, and random reboots.

Potential solutions:

  • Clearing the app cache to fix problems with an app crashing or freezing. Go to Settings > Apps > (app name) > Storage and cache, and tap Clear cache. You can also tap Clear storage if clearing the cache doesn’t work. However, this will reset the app, and you will lose any stored app data.
  • A rogue app is most probably the cause for random reboots. Boot the phone into Safe Mode (the instructions are in the Guides section below) and see if the issue continues. If it doesn’t, the problem is a recently installed or updated app. Uninstall any recent apps and see if the problem goes away.
  • You might also see performance issues and random reboots because of problems during the setup process when transferring apps and phone data from your older phone. As time-consuming as it may be, it might be best to install and set up apps individually to avoid this issue.
  • Reducing the touch feedback sensitivity might help. Go to Settings > Sound and vibration > Vibration and haptics and reduce the Touch feedback.
  • You can also try disabling Graphic driver preferences to help with performance issues. Enable Developer Mode by going to Settings > About phone and tapping on the build number seven times. Then go to Settings > System > Developer options and toggle off Graphics driver preferences.
  • The Pixel 7a’s Smooth Display feature enables the screen’s 90Hz refresh rate. There’s a mixed response on which works better to fix stutters while scrolling, though. Some users say enabling the feature works, while others say disabling it does the trick. Go to Settings > Display and toggle Smooth Display on and off to see which works for you.

Problem #5: Android Auto issues

google pixel 7a packaging box - The best cheap phones
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Android Auto issues tend to pop up with any new phone, and the Pixel 7a also has problems with the feature.

Potential solutions:

  • Connection problems with Android Auto tend to occur if you transfer settings from your older phone during the setup process. Go to Settings > Apps > Android Auto > Storage and cache and clear the cache and storage to reset Android Auto.
  • A faulty cable will also cause frequent disconnections. Check the cable to ensure it isn’t torn or frayed, and test it with other phones to see if it works properly. Try replacing the cable to see if the problem goes away.
  • If your car supports Bluetooth, ensure that you first pair the phone with the vehicle before plugging it in to connect to Android Auto.
  • Wireless Android Auto can be problematic when you’re connecting the phone to your car for the first time. Setting up a wired connection first helps, and Android Auto Wireless seems to work after that.

Problem #6: Slow charging

Google Pixel 7a USB C charging
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Quite a few users complain about the Pixel 7a’s slow charging speeds.

Potential solutions:

  • Unfortunately, the Pixel 7a only supports 18W wired and 7.5 wireless charging. When plugged in, it takes around two hours to charge the phone fully and nearly twice that with a wireless charger. If you plan to keep the phone plugged in overnight to charge, you should enable the Adaptive Charging feature. Go to Settings > Battery > Adaptive battery and enable Adaptive charging.
  • You might see even slower charging times if you use a non-compatible charger. The Pixel 7a supports the USB Power Delivery standard. And you’ll need an 18W charger at least to get the maximum charging speed. Google’s USB-C charger is the safest option if you need a new charger, and there are other great options to consider in our guide for the best Pixel 7a chargers.

Problem #7: Audio and microphone problems

google pixel 7a usb c port
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Pixel 7a has a few speaker and microphone problems that some users have encountered. This includes poor audio quality during phone calls, audio latency when watching videos, issues when connecting to Bluetooth speakers and earphones, and a rattling noise in the speaker. As for the microphone, a few users say the phone doesn’t record any audio when using the camera or apps like Google Recorder but works well during phone calls using the speakerphone.

Potential solutions:

  • You can try fixing Bluetooth audio problems by changing the Bluetooth AVRCP setting in the Developer options. Go to Settings > About phone and tap the build number seven times to enable Developer Options. Then go to Settings > System > Developer options, scroll down to Bluetooth AVRCP, and switch it to AVRCP 1.4 or 1.6 or the other options to see which works. Enabling Disable absolute volume in Developer Options might also help.
  • Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro users say that changing the equalizer settings on Wavelet (for headphones) and Flat Equalizer (for phone speakers) helps improve the phone’s audio quality. That might also help fix some audio quality problems on the Pixel 7a.
  • Distorted audio during calls is likely a network issue. Go to Settings > Network and Internet > SIMs and turn off Allow 2G.
  • Cleaning the phone’s speakers might help. Check out our guide on cleaning your phone’s speakers and see if that makes a difference to the sound quality.
  • If the phone’s microphone isn’t working with certain apps, ensure it has the required permission. Go to Settings > Privacy > Privacy Manager > Microphone. Check and see if the correct apps are on the list. If the app is in the “Don’t allow” section, tap on the app name and select “Allow only while using the app” or “Ask every time.”
  • Some users say that Google Assistant causes problems with the mic working on other apps. Open the Google app, tap your profile icon at the top right corner, go to Settings > Google Assistant > General, and toggle it off. Then clear the Google app cache by going to Settings > Apps > Google > Cache and storage and tapping Clear cache. See if the microphone issue goes with Google Assistant disabled.
  • If you hear a rattling from the speaker, it is likely a hardware problem. Your only option is to get a replacement.
  • Audio latency while watching videos is an app issue. You can try clearing the cache of that particular app to fix the problem. Some users say that simply restarting the phone does the trick.

Problem #8: Contacts disappeared in the phone app

google pixel 7a homescreen 3
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

A few users have noticed that their contacts have suddenly disappeared from the phone app. Luckily, this is not a bug but caused by a change in Google’s sync settings. If your contacts have disappeared from the phone, you can check whether they are still saved by going to contacts.google.com. On your phone, go to Settings > Passwords and accounts, open your Google account, and toggle on Contacts. You can check the sync date to ensure the contacts have been synced recently.


Guides: How to factory reset, how to boot into Safe Mode

google pixel 7a buttons and camera bar
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Safe Mode

If the phone is on

  • Press and hold the power button.
  • Then, long-press the power off icon. A pop-up message will have the option to reboot to Safe Mode. Tap OK.

If the phone is off

  • Press and hold the power button.
  • Press and hold the volume down key as soon as the animation starts. Keep holding the volume down button until the animation ends. The phone should boot in Safe Mode.

Exit Safe Mode

  • To exit Safe Mode, press the power button and tap Restart.
  • Pressing and holding the power button will also restart the phone.

Factory Reset

Reset with the phone on

  • Go to Settings > System > Advanced > Reset options.
  • Tap Erase all data (factory reset) and select Reset phone.
  • You will have to enter your PIN or pattern. Then, tap Erase everything.

Reset with the phone off or if it is unresponsive

  • Press and hold the power and volume down buttons simultaneously until Fastboot mode (image of a triangle with an exclamation point) appears.
  • Press and hold the power button if No command appears. While holding the power button, press the volume up button and release both.
  • Go to Recovery mode using the volume keys. Press the power button to make your selection.
  • Use the volume keys to go to Wipe data/factory reset.
  • Select Reboot system now once the phone is reset.