large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

This built-in app might be causing Google Pixels to slow down

Has your Google Pixel phone been feeling a little sluggish of late? Well, a Reddit thread sprung up over the weekend claiming to offer an incredibly simple magic bullet to fix problems like lag, stuttering and weak battery life.

The answer? Turn off Digital Wellbeing. The Google app launched last year as part of Android 9 Pie with the good intentions of helping users get over excessive screen time on their smartphones by helping them log their usage. It turns out a curious second effect may be to make the phone so unpleasant to use that people can’t help but turn away.

Related: Best Android phones

Well, maybe anyway. Not everybody on the Reddit thread sees an improvement, and it’s certainly possible that some of those that do are enjoying some kind of placebo effect. But many of the reviews are impressive enough that it’s certainly worth a go – especially as disabling Digital Wellbeing is incredibly trivial.

My 3 XL has always (as far as I can remember) stuttered at times,” wrote one Redditor. “I just turned off Digital Wellbeing and it’s like I have a new phone! Can’t believe this was incorporated at cost to the phones performance.

One user even found themselves able to type better after disabling the possibly problematic app. “There were always typos everywhere and missing characters, while on my original pixel everything was fine,” the user wrote. “It seems like some of the keys just weren’t being registered during those micro freezes.”

Related: Best smartphones

Not that this fix seems to be limited to Google’s latest. Users are celebrating a boost to the original Pixel XL: “feels like its old self again,” wrote one happy customer.

Another had found this before this current flurry of interest: “When I still had mine I was wondering why my battery life was suddenly garbage. Then I thought maybe an app was draining it, and after removing a couple potential culprits, realised DW could easily be the issue. I went from wanting to replace my now awful battery to back to my normal phone. It was insane.”

Not everyone has seen results, mind: “I turned it off because I don’t use it,” wrote another Redditor. “But I notice nothing. I think people want there to be a difference and so they make themselves believe it’s there.”

Still, it doesn’t hurt to try. To turn off Digital Wellbeing, just follow these steps:

  • Go to settings
  • Select “Digital Wellbeing”
  • Tap the three-dot icon in the top right
  • Select “Turn off usage access”
  • On the “Usage access” screen select “Digital Wellbeing” and toggle “permit usage access” to off.

Pixel owners: has this worked for you? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.