Report: Some Nexus 6P and Pixel phones are randomly shutting down

Reports from around the internet suggest that some owners of Google's Nexus 6P and Pixel phones have been experiencing issues with their handsets. Users are reporting that their phones are shutting down as if their batteries had run dry, when the battery life indicator says there's between 10% and 60% of juice remaining.

Google has a thread about this problem in its Issue Tracker. Over 2000 people have already labeled the issue with a star icon, and many shared screenshots they took of their battery usage screen after plugging in their devices. The first report goes back to November, with the user showing that his Nexus 6P shut down with about 30% of battery life left. More recent screenshots show devices shutting down with batteries at about half capacity.

Other websites are reporting that some of Google's Pixel smartphones are equally affected by this shutdown issue. However, the primary source for those reports seems to be a single Reddit thread.

It's unclear why the issue is occurring. Android Police points to the recent rollout of Android 7.0 Nougat on the handsets as the main cause. ExtremeTech noticed that many of the users reporting these problems live in cold climates. Google itself has been fairly quiet on the issue. A Google customer service rep confirmed on Reddit that it is investigating the issue with Huawei, the manufacturer of the Nexus 6P, and urged affected customers to contact Google's support services.

Comments closed
    • [+Duracell-]
    • 6 years ago

    Even if the phone is “perfect”, they’re still subject to manufacturing tolerances and human factors, so a few phones here and there may have a problem that the vast majority do not.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 6 years ago

    People will buy a phone with many flaws. There is no motivation to change current trends.

    • JonnyFM
    • 6 years ago

    I’ve had a similar problem on my Nexus 4 for years. It just goes dead to the world, screen off, uncontactable. I have to force a power off and then boot it back up. It has happened indoors in the middle of the night, so it isn’t temperature related. Battery usage graph has a hole in it like it wasn’t even recording that.

    • willmore
    • 6 years ago

    Sadly, yes.

    • ronch
    • 6 years ago

    Is it too much to ask for a phone that doesn’t have any flaws?

    • kvndoom
    • 6 years ago

    It took courage to not let consumers know their ever-shrinking battery has the life span of a fruit fly.

    • kvndoom
    • 6 years ago

    So now underheating is as bad as overheating? Heh, where’s Goldilocks when you need her?

    • DrCR
    • 6 years ago

    Go easy on him. He’s a moose.

    • Droidude
    • 6 years ago

    I have a Nexus 10 that started doing this very thing right after it updated to 5.1.1 some time ago. I reached out and got no response other than the battery must be going bad (it wasn’t) and since I was 45 days out of warranty, I was told I didn’t have any recourse anyway. Really crappy Google! Admittedly it was a low volume tablet, but Google could have practiced better customer service than they did.

    • danazar
    • 6 years ago

    This is a seriously dumb comment. The Note 7 is just one of dozens of phone designs sold in US/EU countries with stringent design standards. (I’m excluding cheap China-market knockoffs for obvious reasons.) The vast majority of those phones don’t have Note 7 type issues, or battery failures like the Pixel problems described here.

    Saying “it will happen again” is probably true, but not because of limitations of battery technology like you suggest. It’ll be because of engineering/design failures. But just like the Pixel (poor battery life) or Note 7 (explosive battery failure), for every new model with such a flaw there will be dozens successfully built without it.

    • danazar
    • 6 years ago

    Courage.

    • davidbowser
    • 6 years ago

    See… but then Google is just copying Apple again. They needs to think outside the box and do something COURAGEOUS. Samsung did it in dramatic fashion when they made their phones explode. “You wanna see something special with batteries? We got your batteries right here! BOOM!”

    My suggestion to Google would be to skip over having people just be annoyed with their phones and go for something trying hate-inspiring. Maybe have some lazers to burn peoples eyes. Make devices that confirm the urban myth and fry your brains! Or go after the tinfoil hat crowd with phones that just broadcast everything to everyone.

    Keep trying Google. You’ll get there someday.

    • nanoflower
    • 6 years ago

    Sounds a bit like what I experience with my remote control for the TV. If the temp drops below around 70F and I’m using the cheaper Publix AA batteries the remote is slow to respond even if the batteries are new. Put in some older Duracell batteries and it works great in cold weather. Let the temp warm up a bit and the remote responds well with either set of batteries.

    So maybe the formulation used for the new batteries doesn’t hold up well in cold weather?

    • spiked_mistborn
    • 6 years ago

    I don’t know much about electronics, but I think the voltage that lithium ion batteries put out is based on their temperature and remaining charge. The power controllers in phones use the voltage to estimate remaining charge, and maybe they have some mechanism to limit the rate that they report battery discharge. Otherwise the bursty race to sleep nature of phone SOCs causing voltage swings might make the battery indicator jump all over? Cold weather makes the voltage drop, the PMIC is expecting a certain amount of power to be available based on charge level, and without making the governor less aggressive high CPU activity probably drops the voltage below some failsafe level and it shuts down. Maybe a less aggressive CPU governor in cold weather could solve the problem? Or some capacitance between the battery and PMIC (not so easy to fix on existing phones, eh?). Anyone with an affected phone with a custom kernel want to see if they still have the issue with ondemand or lionfish governors?

    • Beelzebubba9
    • 6 years ago

    It’s not even unique to Android – my wife just got back from skiing and her iPhone 6S died after three runs with 50+% battery remaining due to freezing in her pocket.

    Seems more like a Lithium Ion battery problem to me. 🙂

    • Phr3dly
    • 6 years ago

    Obvious solution is to simply remove the indication of how much battery is left. Worked for Apple.

    • psuedonymous
    • 6 years ago

    I ran into a variant of this recently with my Nexus 6p (once, and have not seen it since): Battery jumped from 50% to 0% and the phone auto powered down, and refused to power back on. In charging, it charged from 0% to full in the normal time, so it seems like the problem was the battery meter not reporting the true charge level.

    • Philldoe
    • 6 years ago

    Huawei is the reason I’m still using my Moto Nexus 6.

    • Chrispy_
    • 6 years ago

    The original Nexus 5 had a serious battery drain issue for its first year too.

    Google aren’t immune to bugs that affect power management any more than Apple….

    • kernelpanic
    • 6 years ago

    I’m shocked, shocked I tell you that something is wrong with an Android phone!

    Nothing new here as my 2014 Moto G has done this for almost a year. It’s not cold weather as I live in an area with very mild temps. Also, it’s not battery as mine has been babied. And, as the post says, it can happen at just about any charge level. But never while charging.

    > “Chinese knockoff hardware. What do you expect? Should have stuck with Motorola or LG.”

    LOL And in what way is a Motorola or LG NOT the exact same “Chinese knockoff hardware”?

    Face it, it’s an Android problem. It doesn’t take much hunting around to find the same problem with other brands/models than the 6P (e.g. my phone). The only common denominator (other than “Chinese knockoff hardware”) is Android.

    Occasionally the phone will spontaneously reboot. Other times it spontaneously shuts down. It can take some time to get back to working. When it does, sometimes the battery monitor shows the charge fell off a cliff and went to zero in minutes. Other times the battery is right where it was when it shut off.

    Google might start caring since it’s the 6P. Otherwise, they’re making revenue off Android as fast as they can so they simply don’t care.

    • BillyBuerger
    • 6 years ago

    Interesting, I was out for a walk with my Moto X (1st gen) here in northern Wisconsin and it shut down on me. I didn’t think anything of it at first as it happens often. The battery doesn’t last that long to begin with and having Pokemon Go running can drain the battery quite fast. But then I got home and plugged it in and it said 44% battery. This is the first time I can think of that this happened. Not sure if it’s related to the same issue that the Nexus and Pixel have or just a coincidence. Hard to blame it on an android update as Lenovo and Sprint are very slow at updates. Can’t remember any updates in quite some time.

    • brucethemoose
    • 6 years ago

    Maybe the batteries are just wearing out?

    Between Quick Charge feeding batteries a constant 4.4V and manufacturers constantly pushing charge tolerance levels to shave off that extra millimeter, I’m surprised the Note 7 fiasco and this haven’t happened sooner.

    And without a dramatic shift in battery technology or the direction manufacturers are heading, it will happen again.

    • simbant
    • 6 years ago

    I live in a warm country, and its 26C. I don’t have any problems with 6P

    • DoomGuy64
    • 6 years ago

    Chinese knockoff hardware. What do you expect? Should have stuck with Motorola or LG.

    I think phone build quality has peaked, and instead of making phones more reliable, manufacturers are racing to the bottom. How long can Android stay viable against the iphone when nobody cares about quality or long term support?

    Not that Apple is any better when it comes to screen cracking, missing features (headphones), batteries, or build quality (only slightly better), but the android guys need to step up their game for sure. Huawei was a bad choice for making a Nexus, especially when some of the older models (original 6) were just as good, if not better in some aspects.

    • CuttinHobo
    • 6 years ago

    Time for phone batteries need to start getting a cold-cranking-amps rating like car batteries! 😮

    • Goty
    • 6 years ago

    I think the cold climate connection is probably the source of the issue. I was just in Iceland for a week and experienced this with my own Nexus 6P, but only when I frequently had the phone out and it became very cold. If I put the phone back in an interior pocket and warmed it up, it would start right back up.

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