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Pixel 5a problems and how to fix them

A lot of problems require software updates.
By
June 20, 2022

The Google Pixel 5a is one of the best cheap Android phones you can get. The mid-ranger ticks all the right boxes with solid performance, excellent cameras, and a great software experience. It’s far from perfect, though, and many Pixel 5a owners have encountered various problems with their phones. Here’s a look at some common Google Pixel 5a problems and how to fix them.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the Pixel 5a


Problem #1: Overheating issues

the google pixel 5a on a bench with water splashed droplets
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

One of the most common problems Pixel 5a owners is the phone overheating. They will either see a “Phone is getting warm” or a “Device is too hot” warning when using the camera app to shoot video.

Potential solutions:

  • The main culprit behind the Pixel 5a’s overheating issues seems to be the camera. Users feel the device overheating when on video calls, taking photos, and shooting video, especially 4K video at 60fps. Users have also mentioned problems when using GPS or Android Auto. Google has repeatedly rolled out software updates with a fix for this problem, but the complaints continue.
  • Even an app running in the background with access to your camera could cause the problem. A recent Google Messages bug is a good example. If you can find a problematic app like Google Messages, go to Settings > Apps > See all apps and find the app. Tap on Permissions > Camera and select Deny. If you can’t pinpoint a specific app, go to Settings > Privacy > Permissions and open the Camera settings. Check the apps that have permission to use the camera and turn them off one by one (tap on the app name and choose Deny) to see if the problem goes away.
  • If your phone overheats, remove any protective case or cover, close any active and background apps, and reduce the display brightness level.
  • Not every Pixel 5a suffers from this issue. If the phone overheating makes it unusable, you might want to pick up a replacement. Many users have had no problems with their replacement units.

Problem #2: Audio cuts out when using music streaming apps and YouTube

The Google Pixel 5a tilted showing the camera module and headphone jack.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Some Pixel 5a owners say that the audio intermittently cuts out when using music streaming apps. This happens regardless of whether they are using wired earphones, Bluetooth headphones, speakers, or the phone’s speakers.

Potential solutions:

  • For a few users, changed settings after a software update have caused the problem. Check whether the music streaming app has been accidentally added to the restricted list in the Adaptive battery preferences.
  • Some users say that disabling Hey Google detection works. Go to Settings > Google > Settings for Google apps > Search, Assistant, and Voice > Google Assistant > Hey Google and voice match and toggle off “Hey Google” detection.
  • Try changing the Bluetooth AVRCP setting in Developer options. This is a solution for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro audio issues, but it might also work for the Pixel 5a. To activate developer mode, Go to Settings > About phone and tap on the build number multiple times. Then, go to Settings  > System > Developer options, search for Bluetooth AVRCP version, and change it to AVRCP 1.3.
  • This might be a problem with the streaming app. Boot the phone into Safe mode and see if the issue persists. If it doesn’t, uninstall the streaming apps you use and see if the problem goes away. You can also uninstall any recently installed or updated apps.

Problem #3: Apps crashing or not working as expected

the google pixel 5a display with app icons on the pixel launcher home screen

Users face problems with apps freezing, crashing, or slowing down on the Pixel 5a. Some users say that the problem is prevalent with the Instagram and Facebook apps.

Potential solutions:

  • You can try clearing the app cache and storage to see if the problem goes away. Go to Settings > Apps > See all apps and find the app that’s freezing or crashing. Go to Storage and select Clear cache and Clear storage.
  • Try uninstalling and reinstalling the app.
  • Some users say that the Pixel 5a’s Pixel Launcher seems to cause the problem. You will need to factory reset the phone or download and install a third-party launcher.

Problem #4: Google Assistant is not working

the google pixel 5a home screen showing a close up of the google search bar
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Some Pixel 5a owners have problems using the voice assistant on the phone. It doesn’t recognize commands or respond at all.

Potential solutions:

  • Go to Settings > Apps > See all apps and open the Google app. Tap on Storage and select Clear cache and Clear storage. Repeat the first step and go to the Google Play services option. Find the Google app in the Play Store and uninstall it. It won’t be removed entirely because it’s a system app. Restart the phone, go back to the Play Store, and reinstall the app by tapping Update.

Problem #5: Low volume on Pixel Buds and other Bluetooth earphones

A hand holds the open case of the Google Pixel Buds A-Series in front of a beach.

Pixel 5a owners hear very low volumes when using the Pixel Buds and other Bluetooth earphones.

Potential solutions:

  • If you have the Pixel Buds, connect the earphones to the device, go to the Bluetooth settings, and tap on the gear icon next to Pixel Buds. Enable Loudness compensation and disable Adaptive sound. You can also adjust the Bass slider to see if that makes a difference.
  • Go to Settings > System > Developer options (enable it by going to About phone and tapping on the build number multiple times). Search for or scroll until you find Disable absolute volume and enable it. You can do this for the Pixel Buds and other Bluetooth earphones.
  • Many users say that the Wavelet app, available on the Google Play Store, is a great way to compensate for any volume and audio performance issues.

Problem #6: Proximity sensor issues

the google pixel 5a camera module and fingerprint sensor
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

A few users are having problems with the phone’s proximity sensor. The phone screen doesn’t automatically turn off when holding the phone up to their ear on a call.

Potential solutions:

  • Make sure it isn’t a hardware problem with apps like Sensor Test. If it is a hardware issue, your only option is to pick up a replacement.
  • For some users, the phone app seems to cause the problem. Go to Settings > Apps > See all apps > Phone > Storage and tap on Clear cache and Clear storage.

Problem #7: Android Auto problems with the Pixel 5a

Android Auto in Volkswagen ID.4 Google Assistant Command
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Android Auto issues seem to be extremely common with most devices running Android 12.

Potential solutions:

  • For some users, the reason for Android Auto problems is how they set up the phone. If you transferred your settings over from an older phone when setting up the Pixel 5a, you might see issues with using Android Auto. It’s a tedious process, but setting up your device like new is best.
  • The Android Auto app won’t be in your app drawer but is now a part of the settings menu. Go to Settings > Connected devices > Connection preferences > Android Auto. You can go through the Connection help option to fix any issues.
  • A bad cable might be causing frequent disconnections. Check the cable and see if replacing it fixes the problem.
  • If Android Auto Wireless isn’t working, it might be best first to establish a connection with a cable. In my experience, once I set up Android Auto with a cable, Android Auto Wireless worked as expected the next time.

Problem #8: Connectivity issues

a close up of the google pixel 5a home screen at a glance widget on the display
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

There are some generic troubleshooting steps you can try to fix connectivity issues.

Potential solutions:

Wi-Fi issues

  • Turn the device and the Wi-Fi router off for at least ten seconds. Turn both devices back on and see if it connects.
  • Set up the Wi-Fi connection again. Go to the phone’s Wi-Fi settings, long press on the connection name, and tap Forget. Tap on the Wi-Fi name again, enter the password, and see if the connection works.
  • Don’t forget to update your phone software and Wi-Fi router firmware.
  • Check your Wi-Fi router settings and ensure your device’s MAC address isn’t blocked.

Bluetooth issues

  • Some Bluetooth devices have special instructions, so ensure you aren’t missing an important step.
  • Go to Settings > Connected devices > Connection preferences > Bluetooth. Tap on the device listed and select Forget. Start the pairing process from the beginning.
  • Going to the previous menu, delete any older devices you aren’t using anymore.
  • You can try and fix Bluetooth issues by using Google’s Bluetooth tool.

Problems where the only option is to wait for a software update

the google pixel 5a maybe moon case google logo g logo
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

A few Pixel 5a problems don’t have a workaround yet, and the only option is to wait for Google or the app developer to release a software update to fix the issue.

  • Video playback issues: Some Pixel 5a owners report problems with video playback on apps like YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, and more. They see green or purple bars across the screen. If you see poor video quality, it could be because of the Widevine bug plaguing various smartphones. If you have Netflix, open the Netflix app and go to Settings (settings icon at the top right corner) > App settings > Playback specification and see if it says L1 or L3 (you want L1). This is a widespread problem that has affected a lot of phones, and an official fix isn’t available yet.
  • System updates not coming through: Some users say that they don’t receive any system update notifications. The only way to check, download, and install a software update is to do so manually.
  • Mobile hotspot not working: Users say that the Android 12 April update seems to have broken the phone’s mobile hotspot feature.
  • Widget problems: The June Android 12 update seems to have caused a problem with the phone’s widgets. Users cannot resize them, or they take a long time to load.
  • Auto-rotate problems: Auto-rotate problems are back with the June update for the Pixel 5a. There’s no workaround, for now, other than to restart the phone and disable and enable the feature.

Guides: Boot into Safe Mode, Factory Reset

The Google Pixel 5a textured power button and volume keys.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Safe Mode

If the phone is on

  • Press and hold the device’s power button.
  • Touch and hold the power off icon. A pop-up message will ask for confirmation to reboot to Safe Mode. Tap OK.

If the phone is off

  • Press and hold the phone’s power button.
  • When the animation starts, press and hold the volume down button. Keep holding it until the animation ends, and the phone should start in Safe Mode.

Exit Safe Mode

  • Press the phone’s power button.
  • Tap on Restart, and the phone should automatically return to regular mode.
  • You can also hold the power button for 30 seconds until the phone restarts.

Factory Reset

Reset when the phone is on

  • Go to Settings > System > Advanced > Reset options.
  • Tap Erase all data (factory reset) and then Reset phone.
  • You may have to enter your PIN, pattern, or password.
  • Tap on Erase everything.

Reset with the phone off or if it’s unresponsive

  • Press and hold the power and volume down buttons simultaneously until Fastboot mode (image of a triangle with an exclamation point) appears.
  • If you see No command on the screen, press and hold the power button. While holding the power button, press the volume up button and release both.
  • Select Recovery mode by navigating the list with the volume up and down keys. Use the power button to select the option.
  • In the Recovery menu, use the volume keys to go down to Wipe data/factory reset.
  • Select Factory Reset in the following menu.
  • Select Reboot system now.

Are you facing any Pixel 5a problems? Let us know in the comments section below, and we will try our best to find a solution for you.