Heat and electronics rarely mix well, and that goes for even the best Android smartphones. Heavy usage, wireless charging, and weather conditions are common reasons for a smartphone to overheat, but software is to blame from time to time. That seems to be the case with a group of Pixel users who say that Google apps cause their phones to heat up more than usual.
Many people have expressed concern about excessive battery drain and overheating of Google Pixel devices. Most of the people affected seem to have a Pixel 6 or 6 Pro, and suspect that a recent update to the Google app, released on May 12, is the culprit. There are multiple reports of the issue affecting the Pixel 7 as well.
Have a look at the figures:
Battery usage of the affected devices shows that the main Google app is hogging up to 15% of the battery, mostly as a background process. Unsurprisingly, Android System Intelligence is the other suspect in the problem, with some saying the service is burning up more battery than usual.
As a result:
Complaints on Google’s support page mention a drop in usable screen time from the nearly six hours it used to have to just three. The battery consumption of the app also made the phone heat up considerably. One user even had to switch off his phone and put it in the fridge to bring the temperature back to normal. Higher temperatures were also recorded when placed on a wireless charger, while the phone charged slower than normal.
This kind of drop in performance and usability is clearly unacceptable for a flagship phone from a few years back. Prolonged exposure to hot conditions can be detrimental to the performance of the SoC and cause permanent damage to the battery, causing its health to deteriorate. This issue affecting Pixel users is reminiscent of the v1.4.2 firmware update for the Sony WF-1000XM4 headphones, which caused a number of users to permanently drain the battery.
Those who contacted Google support via chat say the experience was futile, being offered the same solutions with troubleshooting steps they’d already tried. Some affected people were fortunate enough to upgrade to version 18.104.22.168. However, upgrading to an older stable version of the Google app didn’t help everyone. Their devices were still overheating, although slightly less so than the problematic update.
If you notice abnormal heating or battery draining on your Pixel phone, try rolling back a recent Google app update. If this doesn’t solve your problem, your only option may be to wait for a solution from Google.