Google tries to address complaints of sluggish Pixel 3 with latest update

Google’s March security update for Pixel phones also includes some much-needed functional improvements for the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, as noted by Android Police. The company seems to have heard complaints from users about its latest phones becoming sluggish over time — especially the camera app. This month’s update promises to improve startup times and general responsiveness for the Pixel 3’s camera app.

The March update also “improves storage performance on Pixel 3 devices,” meaning Google has been able to further optimize read and write speeds for the phone’s flash storage. Someone posted screenshots comparing storage performance before and after the update, and it does seem like a nice improvement.

Both of those fixes are needed. Some owners have grown displeased with the Pixel 3’s inconsistent user experience several months after launch. Droid Life went off on the phone last month. And in his latest video, MKBHD detailed some of the frustrations he’s faced when using the Pixel 3. “I’ve had all kinds of various lag and performance issues with this Pixel after a couple of months,” he said. Google’s decision to give the devices just 4GB of RAM continues to draw criticism; many Android phones had already moved to 6GB or 8GB at the time the Pixel 3 launched, and the new Galaxy S10 can be purchased with up to 12GB RAM. Google fixed some of the worst early issues, like audio apps unexpectedly closing in the background.

Not everyone is running into these problems — my own review device works about as well as I expect — but there are also others: Google has yet to completely fix a “screen flash” bug that makes the display brightly flash white when accessing the lock screen. But the camera fix is important, as the most notable thing about Google’s phone continues to be its best-in-class shooter.

Back to this latest update: Google says it “improves Bluetooth reliability” on Pixel 3 and 3 XL. But Bluetooth seems to be a confounding technology for this company at times — just ask Pixelbook and Pixel Slate owners — so keep your expectations in check. And last, the March security update improves the recovery process if an OTA update fails, and it “improves playback of encrypted media on some video apps.” All of these improvements only apply to the Pixel 3, with no mention of the Pixel 2 or original Pixel.

To download the March update, just head to settings, check for an update, and the installation process should begin automatically.