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Common Google Pixel Watch problems and how to fix them

Fix some of the Pixel Watch's biggest annoyances and issues in a jiffy.
February 27, 2023

The Google Pixel Watch is the company’s first smartwatch and it definitely makes an impression. It’s one of the most attractive wearables we’ve seen in some time with a polished pebble-like face and pastel straps. But as it’s Google’s first go at a proper smartwatch, there are bound to be a few teething issues. Read on for a list of Google Pixel Watch problems and potential solutions.

Pairing and syncing issues

fitbit sense 2 vs google pixel watch held above
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

We’ve noticed several syncing issues related to the Pixel Watch but largely from Fitbit users. Those who already own a Sense, Charge, or Versa may be unable to use their Pixel Watch with these devices. Here’s the reason why.

Using the Pixel Watch with another Fitbit

  • If you already own a Fitbit device, be it a Sense, Charge, or Versa, you won’t be able to use it alongside your Google Pixel Watch. That’s terrible news for those who want to use one to track sleep and another for smart features during the day.
    • This isn’t an issue with the Pixel Watch, but a long-standing limitation with the Fitbit app.
    • Notably, if you own a smartwatch from another brand like Garmin or Samsung, you will be able to connect it to your phone while your Pixel Watch is paired.

Charging issues

A Google Pixel Watch rests along side its USB-C charging cable.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

If your Google Pixel Watch won’t charge, here are a few troubleshooting steps you can follow.

  • Check if your watch is seated correctly on its charging cradle.
    • The device should alert you of an improper connection if it isn’t. When it does, remove the watch from the charger and reseat it. This should fix the issue
  • Make sure you’re using the official Google Pixel Watch charging cable.
    • Google explicitly states that the watch will not charge using another cable or cradle. Importantly, the watch won’t charge through Pixel phones’ reverse wireless charging capabilities. It’s a huge opportunity missed, we feel.
    • You can find a replacement charging cable here.
  • If your watch refuses to charge or switch on even after you’ve taken the steps above, contact Google support. There may be an underlying hardware problem.

Battery issues

A Google Pixel Watch rests on a green leather surface, displaying its remaining battery percentage.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Pixel Watch’s battery life might be its weakest feature. While some users get more than a day of use, others struggle with just a few hours. If you’re in the latter camp, here’s how to improve your experience.

How to improve Pixel Watch battery life

  • Switch off Always-on display.
    • This feature will ensure your Pixel Watch’s screen stays lit to display the time and other info. This uses more battery.
    • To switch off Always-on display: Open Settings > Display > toggle off Always-on Display.
  • Disable Tilt-to-wake.
    • This feature activates the display when you tilt your Pixel Watch to check information on the screen. Like most smartwatches, it’s not totally reliable and could trigger when it senses motion.
    • To disable Tilt-to-wake: Open Settings > Gestures > toggle off Tilt-to-wake.
  • Decrease screen timeout duration.
    • The screen is usually the primary battery hog on a smartwatch, so ensuring that it’s only on for as long as it’s needed is a great way to improve battery life.
    • To adjust your screen timeout duration: Open Settings > Display > Screen timeout > select a lower screen timeout duration.
  • Disable GPS.
    • If you’re not using your watch to navigate around town or track your runs, you should switch off location services to save battery, especially at night.
    • To disable GPS: Open Settings > Location > toggle off Location.
    • Additionally, turn off Improve location accuracy by tapping Google Location Accuracy > toggle off Improve location accuracy. We suggest that you switch this feature back on when doing a GPS-dependent exercise.
  • Switch off LTE connectivity.
    • If you don’t need LTE functionality, switch it off to save battery.
    • To switch off LTE: Open Settings > Connectivity > Mobile > Mobile > select Off or Automatic.
  • Switch on Battery saver.
    • Battery saver mode automatically switches on when your battery is low, but if you want to save power, you can switch it on manually. When activated, it will disable several power-hungry features, like Always-on display.
    • To switch on Battery Saver: Open Settings > Battery > toggle on Battery saver > OK.

Battery drain issues and solutions

  • If you just switched on your Pixel Watch, expect the battery drain to be worse in the first few hours to days of use. The watch will need to update apps, its software, and more which requires a little more power. Follow these steps if you’re still experiencing severe battery drain after a few days.
    • Head to the Google Play Store and ensure that all your apps are updated. If updates are pending, the watch may use more power in the background trying to update these apps.
  • According to several users, onboard music streaming apps like Spotify and YouTube Music can be considerable battery hogs.
    • If you plan to use these apps, consider downloading music to your watch instead of streaming music via LTE or Wi-Fi.
    • Additionally, switching off LTE while using these apps may also help.
    • Ensure all apps are up to date. To update all apps, open the Play Store > Manage apps > Update all.
  • If you trigger Google Assistant using the side button or complication, consider switching off the hotword recognition to save a little bit more battery life.
    • To disable Google Assistant’s hotword recognition, open Settings > Google > Assistant > toggle off Hey Google.

Update issues

Google Pixel Watch close
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Sometimes your Pixel Watch may take an uncomfortably long time to install or download a new update. Here’s how to remedy this.

  • If your Pixel Watch is tuck on the “Preparing to update” screen, press and hold the crown for 15-30 seconds to force restart the device.
  • Alternatively, if the above step does not work, press the crown and the Assistant button for the same amount of time.
  • An error screen may appear after the first reboot, but the watch should reboot normally even after displaying it.

There is a workaround to prevent this issue in the future. Consider switching to airplane mode and disabling Bluetooth before searching for and installing an update. This will force the Pixel Watch to use Wi-Fi to download the patch.

LTE, call, and messaging issues

A Google Pixel Watch displays an incoming call.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Built-in cellular connectivity is infinitely useful on a smartwatch. You can stream music on the go and connect to emergency services even if you don’t have your phone. Some Pixel Watch models come packing LTE connectivity, but how do you fix common issues with this service? We cover these solutions in more detail below.

General LTE issues

  • If you can no longer connect to your LTE service, you might’ve deleted your eSIM profile by mistake. There’s a quick way to add your details.
    • Open Settings > Connectivity > Mobile > Advanced > follow the instructions to add your details.
    • You may need to contact your service provider after setup to reactivate the eSIM on their network and to your account.
  • If there’s an LTE issue you can’t seem to fix, it’s best to contact your carrier. There may be an issue with your plan.

Calling issues

  • If you can’t place calls with an LTE watch, check if your eSIM details are correct.
  • For Wi-Fi-only models, check if Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is enabled.
    • Open Settings > Connectivity > Bluetooth or Wi-Fi > toggle on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
  • Check if your tethered phone is on and connected to a mobile network or Wi-Fi network as well.
  • If you’re not receiving call or message notifications on your Pixel Watch, check if any notification-suppressing mode is activated.
    • Steps on how to disable these modes can be found in the Notifications section below.

Notification issues

Google Pixel Watch and Pixel 7 Pro
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

If you aren’t receiving notifications on your watch from your phone there are a few simple fixes. Find a way to solve your Pixel Watch notification issues below.

Disable modes that silence notifications

Some modes will limit, disable, or silence notifications by default if they’re activated.

  • Before troubleshooting any further, disable all modes that disable notifications.
    • To disable Do no disturb, open Settings > Apps & notifications > toggle off Do not disturb.
      • You can also set Do not disturb to allow priority and repeat callers, alarms, and media audio.
    • Disable Bedtime mode by opening the quick settings shade and tapping the Bedtime mode icon (moon and stars).
    • Toggle off Cinema mode by opening the quick settings shade and tapping the Theater mode icon.
    • Disable Battery saver by opening Settings > Battery > toggle off Battery saver > OK.

Check if notifications are allowed

Oddly enough, notifications may be disabled by default for some apps. Double-check that they’re allowed notification access.

  • If you’re not getting notifications from specific apps, check if they’re allowed to send notifications to your watch and your phone.
    • On your phone, open the Pixel Watch app > Notifications > From phone apps > toggle individual apps off, then on.
    • Also, ensure that Hide silent notifications is disabled in the Mute notifications section. If it’s enabled, it will prevent silent notifications on your phone from reaching your watch.
    • Additionally, ensure that apps can send notifications in your phone’s Android settings. You can usually find these controls in Settings > Apps & Notifications or Notifications. If the app’s notification setting is set to Silent, switch it to Standard.

Google Assistant issues

A user accesses Google Assistant on their Google Pixel Watch.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Google Assistant is the lynchpin that holds Google’s smart features and services together. Without it, the Pixel Watch wouldn’t be as useful as it could be. Find a possible solution below if you run into issues with Google Assistant on the Pixel Watch.

General Google Assistant fixes

  • Google Assistant may suddenly stop working on the Pixel Watch. Attempts to reconnect it to your phone may result in a connection error. There’s no warning or apparent reason for this issue.
    • This issue may appear during the Pixel Watch setup. If it does, skip Assistant setup and continue setting up the watch. Set up Assistant once the watch is up and running.
    • If this issue occurs after setup, try restarting your Pixel Watch and your phone.
    • Check if Airplane mode is activated. Google Assistant may not work if this mode is live.
      • To disable Airplane mode, swipe down on the screen to activate the quick settings shade and tap the Airplane mode icon to toggle it off.
    • Still nothing? Wait a day and try again. Some users have noted that it’s a temperamental problem that often fixes itself.

Google Assistant routines

You’re wasting your time if you’re trying to use Google Assistant routines through your Pixel Watch. Currently, this feature is unsupported on Google’s smartwatch. It’s unclear if or when Google will roll out this functionality to the watch.

App issues

Google Pixel Watch Play Store
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Apps and service support put the “smart” in smartwatch, but occasionally, you may run into a few issues with first- or third-party apps. Here’s how to solve some of the more common Pixel Watch app issues.

App update issues

Google provides several suggestions to fix update issues with apps on the Pixel Watch.

  • It recommends fully charging the Pixel Watch as apps will only download or install updates when the battery is at least 50% full.
  • Ensure the device is connected to Wi-Fi.
  • Additionally, update apps while the Pixel Watch is on its charging cradle when you can.
  • To update all apps, open the Play Store > Manage apps > Update all. However, if Update all does not trigger any updates, consider manually updating each app by tapping on them and selecting Update.

Alarm issues

We’ve seen a surprising number of issues relating to the Pixel Watch’s alarm. Either set alarms will not fire in the morning, or alarms won’t sync with the Google Clock app on Pixel phones. There’s a good reason for the latter.

  • Alarms set on your phone will no longer sync with your watch. According to Google support, the watch alarms are now supposed to be separate from those on your phone. It’s a curious design choice, but that’s how alarms on the Pixel Watch function for now.
    • This limitation includes Google’s own Pixel smartphones and the Google Clock app and goes against functionality baked into Wear OS since version 2.
    • If you want alarms to fire on your phone and the watch, you’ll have to set them on the two devices separately.

YouTube Music issues

YouTube Music may be one of the more troublesome apps on the Pixel Watch. Many users report issues with Google’s music streaming platform on the watch.

  • The app may occasionally display no content under downloads. To fix this, you may need to force close the app.
    • To force close YouTube Music, open Settings > Apps & notifications > System apps > YouTube Music > Force stop. Open the app once again.
    • There’s no known long-term solution for this issue, so you’ll probably have to wait for a fix from Google.

Weather app issues

If your Pixel Watch’s weather app fails to update, try the following solution.

  • Ensure that the Weather app is updated. Open the Play Store > Manage apps. If you have any updates, tap Update all to initiate them.
  • Check if your Pixel Watch is connected to your phone before opening the Weather app.

Missing tiles

Some users report that they cannot view the full suite of tiles on their Pixel Watch, even though they appear on the Pixel Watch app on their phones.

  • It’s unclear what the source of this problem is, but we advise that you wait for Google’s next update.
  • If you’re a little more restless for a fix, consider factory resetting your watch.

Fitness and health tracking issues

Google Pixel Watch Fitbit Active Zone Minutes
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
Google Pixel Watch

The Google Pixel Watch relies heavily on Fitbit for fitness tracking, packing a heart rate sensor, ECG, and more. The experience is great, but it’s by no means flawless. If you’re facing any fitness and health tracking issues on your Pixel Watch, here’s how to remedy them.

First off, before troubleshooting any issues, ensure that the Fitbit apps are updated on your Pixel Watch. Head on over to the Play Store > Manage apps > Update all.

Heart rate issues

Your Pixel Watch may stop recording heart rate data altogether, or graphs will seemingly flatline at a specific heart rate for hours. This seemingly common issue has a straightforward solution.

  • Oddly enough, third-party watch faces may be the cause of this issue. If you have a third-party watch face installed or activated, it may be interfering with your heart rate data. Seems unlikely, but several users online have noted that correlation, in this case, is causation.
    • For the sake of troubleshooting, activate a default Google Pixel Watch face. If your heart rate graphs return to normal, this was your issue.
      • To change watch faces, long press the watch’s clock face, swipe left or right to browse watch faces, and then tap on a new face to select it.

Sleep tracking issues

According to Fitbit, there are several reasons why your Pixel Watch may not display sleep stages. Without sleep stage data, your watch won’t display a sleep score.

  • If the band is too loose your watch won’t be able to obtain a consistent heart rate reading, and this may not allow Fitbit to determine sleep stages.
  • You’ll also need to sleep at least three hours to see sleep stages and not use the Begin Sleep Option in the Fitbit app.
  • The Pixel Watch will also need a sufficient charge to record sleep. It will not if its battery is critically low.

If you meet all these criteria and your watch still doesn’t record sleep, consider the following steps.

  • Restart your Pixel Watch and phone just before going to bed.
  • In the morning try manually syncing the Fitbit app on your phone.
    • Pull down from the Fitbit app’s Today screen to initiate a manual sync.
    • This fix assumes that the Pixel Watch tracks sleep but doesn’t immediately upload that data to the Fitbit app. A manual sync should solve this.
  • If your watch has Bedtime mode activated at night, try disabling it.
    • To disable Bedtime mode, open the quick settings shade and tap the Bedtime mode icon (moon and stars).
  • Finally, ensure that the Pixel Watch is snug on your wrist. The watch may not make reliable contact with your skin if you’re a restless sleeper. This could affect sleep data.

Google Pixel Watch band issues

A user removes the band on their Google Pixel Watch.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Google Pixel Watch uses proprietary 20mm watch bands, so you won’t be able to use your vast collection gathered from previous devices. However, that’s not the only problem users have faced with the Pixel Watch bands.

Band size issues

The Pixel Watch is a dainty device with a 41mm lens and a relatively short standard band. Notably, some users can’t quite get the watch to fit their larger arms.

  • Some users have noted that the 210mm Active band is slightly too short for their wrists, even when fastened on the last hole.
  • There’s no real fix for this issue, but some users have found the Woven and Stretch bands to fit a little better.
  • You may be able to find a longer third-party band here.

Band rash problems

Wearing a watch all day can be pretty tough on the skin. Regardless of the brand, we’ve seen plenty of users complain about rashes on their arms after wearing their smartwatches. There are a few practical solutions to this problem.

  • For one, ensure that your watch band and skin are both clean and dry.
    • Google recommends spot-cleaning the Active band with “warm (not hot) water” and a mild detergent or soap if necessary.
    • To clean the Pixel Watch’s body, Google recommends using a “soft, dry lint-free cloth.” If necessary, you can also “apply fresh water with a damp, lint-free cloth” if your device is particularly dirty.
  • Ensure that you give your wrist a rest from time to time. You’ll likely have to charge the Pixel Watch daily, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.
  • If possible, alternate wearing the Pixel Watch between your left and right wrists. This will give your skin adequate time to breathe.
  • Speaking of breathing, consider getting two Pixel Watch bands, one for activity and another for general wear.
  • Finally, consider a different band material altogether. We recommend Google’s Stretch and Crafted Leather options for maximum comfort. Find more Pixel Watch replacement bands here.
  • If your rash persists even after taking the above measures, contact a professional.

Miscellaneous issues

Google Pixel Watch Crown Close
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Speaker quality problem

Several users have called out the Google Pixel Watch’s speaker quality and crackling sounds during calls, mainly if the audio volume is cranked above 50%. Some users have also highlighted that this issue appears with notifications, alarms, or sounds.

  • There is no current fix for this, and it’s unclear if this is a hardware issue.
  • For now, if you plan to use your Pixel Watch for calls, connect it to a pair of Bluetooth headphones.
  • Alternatively, consider returning the Pixel Watch if this issue is a deal breaker.

Pixel Watch locking while on wrist

Here’s a problem a few online have highlighted. The Pixel Watch is supposed to secure itself when removed from a user’s wrist. However, some have noticed that it’s doing this while being worn.

  • You can quickly remedy this issue by ensuring your Pixel Watch band is tight enough to contact your skin. If you wear it too loose, it may assume it’s not being worn and will lock in response.

Are there still some Google Pixel Watch problems you can’t wrap your head around? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.