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Google Pixel Fold problems and how to fix them

Make the most of your Google foldable with these quick fixes.
By
December 20, 2023

The Pixel Fold is Google’s first foray into the exciting world of foldable smartphones. The expensive high-end phone has a lot going for it and tops our list of the best foldable you can get. However, the Fold, unfortunately, suffers from the teething pains of any first-generation device and has its fair share of software and hardware issues. We take a look at some common Pixel Fold problems and how to fix them.

Editor's note: It's important to remember that not every Pixel Fold will have these problems. In fact, it's more than likely that you won't come across any issues at all.


Problem #1: Inner screen issues

google pixel fold multitasking instagram and spotify
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

There have been multiple complaints from Pixel Fold owners about problems with the inner screen. These include the screen taking a long time to turn on when the phone is opened, it not turning on at all, white and green lines on the inner display, sticky scrolling, and more.

Significant delay with the inner screen turning on

Some users say that the inner screen takes a long time to turn on when the phone is opened. What should be nearly instantaneous sometimes takes two or three minutes in extreme cases.

  • Unfortunately, there’s no workaround for this problem. However, it’s a known Android 14 Beta bug, and a software update should address the issue soon.
  • For a few users, the Repainter app (a theming app for Android) seems to be causing the problem. Simply uninstalling it fixes the issue.

The inner screen doesn’t turn on at all

Quite a few Pixel Fold owners say that the inner screen occasionally doesn’t turn on at all and is unresponsive when attempting to fix the issue by closing and opening the foldable repeatedly.

  • Forcing a restart should help. Press and hold the volume up key and power button simultaneously for 15 seconds. Release both buttons and wait for the Google logo to appear on the screen (this may take a while). If that doesn’t work, plug the phone into the charger first before repeating the step.
  • Some users say that “massaging” the phone fixes the problem.
    • Using a cloth (to avoid smudging the screen), gently press all over the inner screen, along the crease, and all the way out to the corners. Then, turn the phone over and repeat it for the outer screen, the back of the phone, and around the camera bump.
    • Users say that this method seems to pop some loose cabling back into place. While pressing along the screen, you may see some activity on the display, including white lines or only half the screen showing up.
    • Once done, you can do a forced restart and see if the inner screen is working. This is a hardware issue, so your best bet is to get a replacement if possible.

The inner screen turns on when pressing the power button, even when the phone is closed

Magnets from a phone case seem to cause a variety of problems with the Pixel Fold’s inner screen. Apart from causing random malfunctions, this could also be the reason why the inner screen takes a long time to turn on or doesn’t turn on at all. This is particularly prevalent with wallet cases that use magnetic straps or a built-in magnet to hold the folio cover in place.

The only option for now is to remove the case. You might have to get another non-magnetic Pixel Fold case to keep the phone protected.

Bubbles or “pimples” along the crease

The Pixel Fold has a noticeable crease, and some users are noticing small bubbles forming along it. Pixel Fold owners say that repeatedly opening and closing the phone seems to fix the problem. However, in some cases, it was a sign of more significant damage and eventually led to white lines on the display or caused the inner screen to stop working.

White or green lines on the inner screen

White or green lines on the inner screen could be a software issue. You can try a forced restart to fix the problem. However, apart from software problems, something to keep in mind is that the inner screen is quite susceptible to damage from even the smallest debris, as experienced by ArsTechnica’s Ron Amadeo. Don’t forget to check for lingering debris when closing the phone. If you have any inner display or hinge damage, your only option is to get a replacement.


Problem #2: Outer screen lags or is unresponsive

google pixel fold app drawer and punch hole
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

While the Pixel Fold’s inner screen problems are more significant, a few users have issues with the outer screen as well, ranging from touch input delays and lag to the screen freezing or going blank and unresponsive.

Potential solutions:

  • If the outer screen isn’t as responsive as expected, you can try boosting the touch sensitivity. Go to Settings > Display and toggle on Screen Protector mode (even if you don’t use a screen protector).
  • A temporary workaround that works most of the time is to simply open and close the foldable phone. Users say that the outer screen starts working as expected, at least for a while.
  • A rogue app might be causing performance issues. Boot the phone into Safe Mode (you’ll find the instructions on how to do so in the Guides section below) and see if the problem persists. If it does, exit Safe Mode and uninstall any recently installed or updated apps to check if the issue goes away.
  • If the outer screen is completely unresponsive, you can try a forced restart. Press and hold the volume up key and power button simultaneously for 15 seconds. Release both buttons and wait for the Google logo to appear on the screen.

Problem #3: Music playback controls don’t show on the lock screen

google pixel fold outer display always on
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

A few users say that music playback controls don’t appear on the lock screen. This issue isn’t limited to a specific music streaming app.

Potential solutions:

  • The problem seems to be linked to the phone’s face unlock feature. Disabling face unlock seems to fix the issue. Go to Settings > Security and Privacy > Device Unlock > Fingerprint and Face Unlock, and in the Face Unlock section, tap Delete face model.

Problem #4: Dual screen Interpreter Mode not working

google pixel fold internal display laying down
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

A few users say that the Interpreter Mode (a convenient way to get live translations) doesn’t work using the Pixel Fold’s dual screens feature.

Potential solutions:

  • First, keep in mind that the only way to launch interpreter mode is by using Google Assistant and not the Translate app. Use a command like “Be my (language) interpreter” or “Turn on interpreter mode” to enable the feature. At the bottom of the screen, tap the “dual screen” icon. With this, the person you are speaking to will see a live translation of what you’re saying on the outer screen.
  • If you don’t see the icon, ensure that your phone is updated to the latest version of Android and that you have the latest version of Google Play Services. You can also try wiping the app cache of the Translate and Google apps. Go to Settings > Apps > See All Apps > Translate >Storage and Cache and tap Clear cache. Repeat the steps for the Google app as well.

Problem #5: “Connected – not charging” error when wireless charging

google pixel fold outer display homescreen 1
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Some Pixel Fold owners are seeing a “connected – not charging” error when placing the Pixel Fold on a wireless charger.

Potential solutions:

  • This error seems to occur if your battery is close to running out. In this case, the only option is to plug the phone into a wired charger until it’s above 15 percent.
  • You will also see the error if the phone is overheating. Wait for the phone to cool down before placing it on the wireless charger.
  • The phone’s adaptive charging feature might also be interfering with wireless charging. Go to Settings > Battery > Adaptive Charging and toggle it off.

Problem #6: Android Auto problems

Android Auto Weather forecast app
Google

Android Auto problems aren’t too common on the Pixel Fold, but a few users face issues with frequent disconnections, a blank screen on the car display, and wireless Android Auto not connecting.

Potential solutions:

  • Transferring settings from an old phone might cause problems with Android Auto. Go to Settings > Apps > Android Auto > Storage and Cache and clear both to reset Android Auto.
  • Test the cable with other phones and ensure it isn’t torn or frayed. You’ll need to get a new cable if a faulty cable is the problem.
  • If Wireless Android Auto isn’t working, it might be best to first set up a wired connection. AA Wireless seems to work as expected after that.
  • Check out our guide on common Android Auto problems and how to fix them for problems like a blurry, pixelated, or blank screen, Android Auto Wireless problems, and more.

Problem #7: Random reboots

google pixel fold inner display homescreen 1
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Some users are seeing random reboots on the Pixel Fold. However, unlike with other phones, where random reboots tend to occur when the phone isn’t in use, Pixel Fold owners are seeing the phone restart while actively using the device.

Potential solutions:

  • Random reboots may occur because of problems during the setup process when you transfer app and phone data from an older smartphone. The best option, even if it is time-consuming, is to factory reset the phone (you’ll find the instructions on how to do so in the Guides section below) and set it up as new.
  • A rogue app may also be causing these problems. Boot the phone into Safe Mode and see if the problem persists. If there’s no problem, uninstall any recently installed or updated apps to see if that fixes the issue.

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

google pixel fold search feature
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

There are a few issues that don’t have simple workarounds. General troubleshooting steps like restarts and wiping the app cache seem to work temporarily in some cases, though. Some problems are related to the phone’s hardware, and the only option is to get the phone replaced.

  • GBoard split-screen keyboard keeps resetting to a smaller size: Some users using Google’s default keyboard say that the split-screen option keeps resetting to a smaller size when using it on the inner screen. Adjusting the size only works for that particular use. A few users say that wiping the app cache seems to fix the problem temporarily. Go to Settings > Apps > See All Apps > Gboard > Storage and Cache and tap Clear Cache and Clear Storage.
  • Pixel Launcher crashing: The phone’s default Pixel Launcher seems to freeze and restart occasionally. A software update will bring a permanent fix, but wiping the app cache seems to work temporarily. Using the steps above, go to Pixel Launcher in the Apps section and clear the cache.
  • Camera problems: The Pixel Fold camera is impressive when it works. However, quite a few users face problems getting the camera to work properly.
    • “Camera is busy” error: Users see this error when launching the camera app before it crashes. This seems to be a hardware problem, and you will need to get the phone repaired or replaced.
    • The camera saves photos upside down or sideways: You can fix this issue by manually rotating the image in the Google Photos app after taking the picture until a software update offers a permanent solution.

Guides: How to force full-screen apps, how to boot into Safe Mode, how to Factory Reset the Pixel Fold

google pixel fold standing weather app
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

How to force full-screen apps on the Pixel Fold inner screen

The December Pixel feature drop now makes it easy to change an app’s aspect ratio and set it to full-screen on the inner screen. Go to Settings > Apps > Aspect Ratio. Select the app you want to change, then choose between Full-screen, Half-screen, and 4:3.

Remember that you will have to do this individually for every app you want to change. Also, something to keep in mind is that while this will stretch out the app to fit the Fold’s full-screen, it won’t bring any additional functionality or better real estate usage. Proper app optimization for larger screens is ultimately in the hands of the developer.

How to boot into Safe Mode

  • Press and hold the power button and long-press the power off icon. A pop-up message will have the option to reboot the phone into Safe Mode.
  • When the phone is off, press and hold the power button to start the phone, and press the volume down key as soon as the animation starts and hold it until the animation ends. The phone will automatically open in Safe Mode.
  • Press the power button and select Restart to exit Safe Mode.

How to Factory Reset the Pixel Fold

If the phone is on:

  • Go to Settings > System > Advanced > Reset options and select Erase all data (factory reset). Enter your PIN to confirm and tap Erase Everything.

If the phone is off:

  • Press and hold the power button and volume down key simultaneously until Fastboot mode (triangle with an exclamation point) appears.
  • If you see “No command,” press and hold the power button. While holding the power button, press the volume up key once and release both.
  • Go to Recovery mode using the volume keys for navigation and tap the power button to confirm your selection. Go to Wipe data/factory reset and select Reboot system now once the phone is reset.