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Motorola Moto G problems and how to fix them

Andrew Williams


Motorola Moto G
Motorola Moto G

If you’re looking into buying the Motorola Moto G, you may well be wondering – where’s the catch? It’s a phone that seems to offer impossibly good specs, given it sells for as little as £99.99 in some places.

We thought the phone was an absolute stonker at review, but have since had a lot more time to spend with the phone to find out all of its little weaknesses. So, should you be buying the Motorola Moto G, or is it really too good to be true?

The good news is that we haven’t really changed our opinion. This is an incredible value phone that has only fairly minor problems given its price. But, for the sake of full disclosure, here are those little niggles and how to fix some of them.

Moto G Video review

Want to see what the phone looks like up-close? Check out our video review of the Moto G below.

1GB RAM does come with performance limitations

The one part of the Motorola Moto G that does feel a little compromised is its RAM – the memory that acts as the grease in any computer system’s cogs. It has 1GB of RAM where more expensive Android phones tend to have 2GB.

Once you’ve thoroughly eaten away at the internal memory by installing a bunch of apps, there is some delay in the Home screen’s contents popping-up when you hit the Home soft key. Background processes take up RAM, and thanks to the way Android works, many of your apps will claim their share – whether you’re ‘actively running’ them or not.

How to fix this – You can’t manually install more RAM into your Moto G, but task killer apps will help to improve performance if your phone starts misbehaving. We use Super Task Killer. It’s also a good idea to try and limit the number of apps you have installed, as an uninstalled app isn’t going to nibble away at your RAM at all. We also hope that a future Android 4.4 update will help things thanks to Google's Project Svelte.

SEE ALSO: Android 4.4 KitKat's Project Svelte: what is it and why you should care

It only has Android 4.3, not Android 4.4 KitKat

As noted above, the latest version of Android is 4.4 KitKat, but currently the Motorola Moto G uses the version before that, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. There’s quite a difference between the two, as Android 4.4 has a completely redesigned interface that, to our eyes, looks a bit better an improved performance.

Motorola told us that the lack of Android 4.4 was down to timing. The new software simply came out too late to give the company enough time to implement it without risking delivering a bug-ridden phone. It’s a fair excuse.

How to fix this – We don’t recommend rooting your phone just to get Android 4.4 KitKat installed. Android 4.3 isn’t bad, and Motorola is currently working on delivering the update. It says Android 4.4 will be available by January – we imagine that means by the end of January. Once it’s released go to Settings > About Phone > System Updates to make the Moto G manually search for the update.

The camera is slow

One thing you simply can’t fit into an ultra-budget phone is a top-end camera. The Motorola Moto G’s is pretty unremarkable in most respects. It has a 5-megapixel sensor and an f/2.4 lens.

In use the worst part about the camera is that it’s pretty slow. You need to hold the camera still for a little while during each shot to ensure it’s in focus. This becomes even more of an issue when using the HDR mode, which takes multiple exposures and melds them to offer more detailed pictures.

How to fix this – You can’t, you just have to live with it. However, this is still one of the better cameras in a £100 phone.

Moto G parse errors reported

We haven’t experienced this problem ourselves, but there are reports online of parsing errors when trying to install .apk app files when sideloading apps from outside of Google Play. It’s a very annoying problem that makes installing apps a bit of a nightmare.

Issues like this are, or at least were, pretty common in Android phones.

How to fix this – Most reports seem to be solved by resetting the phone. This gets rid of all your data, but is a worthwhile fix. To reset your Moto G, go to Settings > Backup & Reset and hit the Factory Data Reset option. Within this menu there’s also a tick box to make the phone backup some of your data to Google’s servers – always a good idea with an Android phone.

The cases aren’t immune to developing creaks

One issue with using removable rear covers is that if one of the connectors of the back gets a little weakened from being taken on and off a few too many times, it can make part of the phone’s back creaky. A corner of our test Moto G’s black plastic cover has developed such a creak, and it is a tiny, tiny bit annoying. Like being able to hear someone in another room listening to Eastenders.

How to fix this – Don’t remove the rear of the Moto G unless you need to. There are very few reasons to as well. There’s no memory card slot back there, and you can’t take out the battery. Unless you’re switching cases, leave the thing on. And if your case develops an annoying creaky bit, you can always buy a new case. Standard cases cost around £9, while flip cases sell for £19.


Every phone has a few little issues, a few gremlins that pop up now and then. However, the Motorola Moto G isn’t plagued by them too badly. There’s nothing major to worry about unless you need a phone with a great camera.

If you have found a particular problem we haven't written about, please leave a comment below and (if you know) how to fix it.

Next, read our 10/10 Moto G review


December 3, 2013, 6:03 pm

Biggest problem I have with the phone is that I can't get one ! Have a wedge of clubcard points I want to 'boost' but they never have any in stock...


December 3, 2013, 6:17 pm

The problem I have is the same as BogBeast. I can't get one coz it's not yet here in the Philippines. There are still no official reports when will it arrive here. What I can do now is be a sucker in reading reviews about this astounding phone.


December 4, 2013, 10:29 am

For £500 cheaper than flagship then these problems really are insignificant, everyone knows the camera limitations, but if most, like me are really not bothered about a camera on the phone (so 2005) then none of the above are an issue, what is an issue for me is getting stuck in a contract for 2 years paying £40 odd a month on.

Laurence Harvey

December 4, 2013, 2:05 pm

Hi Guys , if your still wondering about buying this phone ( the moto g ) then stop thinking about it and go buy !I`ve been using the moto g 8gb for about 2 weeks now and have found it to be the best phone i have ever used which includes the s2 / s3 / iphone , desire 500 etc etc .Here are it`s best bits ( the important ones in any phone ) : Battery life = heavy use well over a full day , medium use 2-3 days yes 2-3 days and that`s the truth ! , great high quality screen ( better than the iphone5s ) , super loud rear speaker and ear piece , Notification led ,Size of phone is no bigger than a galaxy s2 due to it`s close screen to edge measurements , with the pure 4.3 jellybean stock android ( no samsung or htc bloatware etc to slow it down ) soon to be KitKat this phone runs like lightning and believe me it`s super quick and no nothing not a peak of lag anywhere at all in the way it runs , if you don`t keep loads of music or films on it then 8gb is enough or you can do the 16gb version and use cloud , drop box etc for as much storage as you need anyway , The phone feels really nice in the hand and of premium quality .As for bad bits then unless your name is David bailey ( photographer ) you`ll be fine with the 5meg camera as i found it to work well but at the end of the day with all the great points about this phone it`s only around £130. sim free which is between 3-5 times cheaper than the high end phones like s4,iphone5,htc one etc etc .Most of us simply want a phone with the above pointers and the Moto G does just that 100% .Thank you... MaxsoundCarAudio Uk

Laurence Harvey

December 4, 2013, 2:07 pm

Seems this phone is much more popular than what was first thought !I think mine is simply the dogs bits and nothing is as good at all as iv`e tried them all !Try phones4u £130. includes £10.00 top up or even less if your on p.a.y.g. !


December 4, 2013, 9:01 pm

Well. gave up on Tesco Direct and popped into the local super store on the off chance and they have them one the shelf... so much for the miracles of eCommerce.

£99 minus the £50 quids worth to points means its one unbelievable deal... and then they give you another 99 club card points...

Laurence Harvey

December 4, 2013, 9:05 pm


Alan Wicker

December 5, 2013, 10:40 pm

I'm thinking of getting one from Tesco, please can you tell me if it was unlocked? Thank you


December 5, 2013, 10:47 pm

Its an Xmas present, so I haven't opened it. Its a PAYG phone so it will be locked to Tesco Mobile. We have contract Tesco SIMS so we will be OK, however I do believe it is unlockable...



December 9, 2013, 9:57 am

Yes its unlockable, I got one from Tesco on Saturday for £99 and it cost £2.99 to unlock it on ebay. Took about 20 mins to get the code.


December 9, 2013, 3:49 pm

Result ! :)


December 18, 2013, 10:32 am

Got one from Tesco a month ago (16gb ) for £26 with clubcard double points I call it Tina Turner because it's simply the best


December 19, 2013, 4:11 pm

Task killers are bullshit. Pure bullshit.


December 31, 2013, 9:06 pm

Good value for money(or tesco cc points!). £99-£15 voucher, I got it for 'free' in exchange for £42 worth of CC points and got it unlocked for £2.

I agree with these niggles listed here and have another one to add. The camera gave up on me a few times while making videos and the recorded videos ended up corrupted so moments meant to be recorded lost forever. Also, after this experience the battery life has shortened up considerably and I notice that over 50% of it is being drain by the 'media server'. It's probably the corrupted files causing this as some forums indicated so I've deleted all media off the phone hoping the problem goes away.

Fortunately, only using this for a few weeks while waiting for delivery on an iphone from singapore(20% cheaper). A tad bit disappointed with this phone.


January 1, 2014, 2:18 am

We had to send ours back, it won't stay on, also the unlock feature is a pain, it takes may tries to get the thing to stay on in the first place! -- We finally decided to set the phone to stay on for 10 minutes, battery killer! So long story short the phone won't stay on, keeps shutting off like it has a short in it or something! -- New on on the way! We will see! :)


January 3, 2014, 5:52 am

Task killers were useful on very old versions of Android, but most android sites agree that task killers are not needed (can cause problems).


January 4, 2014, 5:59 pm

Hi, love my phone but when im playing games and i put my hand over the mic bit at top of phone, all my screen goes blank, which is annoying when playing candy crush! anyone any ideas, is the phone faulty or do i have a setting wrong on it?


January 11, 2014, 4:22 pm

Phone great but it keeps losing wi fi signal even when its 6 feet away. I find going back to factory setting works,at cost of losing apps.


January 20, 2014, 12:48 pm

Great phone, with only one problem - its receiver sensitivity is below average in weak signal areas (same on my partner's phone too).


January 28, 2014, 8:55 pm

A sound from earpiece is there in background during the call. Feels like it's raining on the other end.


February 1, 2014, 12:36 am

I completely agree with you, this is the best budget phone ever..


February 3, 2014, 3:51 am

no one can hear me on this phone.

John Michaels

February 5, 2014, 5:27 pm

did a factory reboot and it started to reboot but then I got this message"Unfortunately,the process com.systemui has stopped". OK
Nowhere else to go any ideas?


February 8, 2014, 2:00 am

After I updated my Moto G to the 4.4.2, I often get a notification that a Bug report was captured... It is really annoying (at least a couple of times per day)... Can someone please help me? Thanks!

Deep Bhatt

February 24, 2014, 7:02 pm

i am updated to kitkat i am not facing any of this problems - i want to know how can i utilize memory

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