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A bizarre Pixel bug could make it look like you’ve lost your apps

A strange new bug that causes app icons to vanish from the home screen of Pixel phones has been reported by some users. 

The bug appeared after Google released its December security updates. Since then, some Pixel users have reported icons vanishing from their home screens – although the app’s name stays in place.

Related: Best smartphone

According to 9to5 Google, the issue has affected users of several handsets, including the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 4. It doesn’t appear to be a widespread problem at the moment, but it’s certainly caused some grumbles in the Pixel community.

The bug first cropped up on a handful of people’s phones after they had installed the latest Google upgrade, which came with a new set of Pixel features. These included some better memory management options for the handsets and a few nifty camera tricks. But it looks like this bug is an unfortunate side-effect of the latest feature drop.

There’s no long-term fix just yet, but there is some good news for any unlucky Pixel owners who are suffering with the issue.

Firstly, it’s just an aesthetics problem. It may look a bit ugly when half of your apps disappear, but it shouldn’t affect the handset’s usability. Besides, if you bought yourself a Pixel you probably aren’t that looks-oriented anyway.

Users can access any affected apps as normal by clicking on the name rather than the icon, which should still appear on the home screen. Although admittedly it may a little longer to track down that obscure new game you’ve just downloaded if you’re squinting to read on-screen names, rather than hunting for the logo you recognise.

Related: Best Android phones

Secondly, Google may well fix the issue sooner rather than later. As the company has promised some January updates and fixes – largely aimed at Pixel users who missed out on the previous set of updates – there’s a chance that this icon issue will have been addressed in the new release.

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