Butts are not to blame this time
The Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro only started shipping to lucky pre-order customers last week, but we’re already seeing several issues being reported by users. First, the phone exhibited a weird screen flicker problem, and then there were some problems with Always On Display. The latest one to join the list is probably the weirdest and most annoying one yet, but thankfully, Google is already working on a fix.
Some users on Reddit have reported that their Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pros are auto-dialing random contacts, sometimes in the middle of the night. While this might seem like an isolated issue at first, the Reddit thread suggests otherwise. A lot of users have responded saying they’re suffering from the same issue. A few have confirmed that the Google Assistant is the culprit since they’ve found the ghost calls in their activity history, even when there was no chatter in the background that could be confused for a command. Disabling the Assistant on the lockscreen has been known to resolve the issue (at least as a temporary solution). A couple of Redditors also pointed out that the call went out to random contacts while they were asleep and their phones were locked.
A user on the Pixel community has also posted a similar issue (via Android Authority). They reported that their Pixel 6 “butt-dialed” a co-worker multiple times and since this was a recurring issue with the device, they ended up deleting the contact. It often happened when the phone was in a pocket, and once the call was triggered when they were talking in Farsi language 一 a language that Google Assistant does not support.
Multiple users have reported the same issue, and disabling ‘Hey Google’ voice commands or the lock screen Google Assistant seems to be the only working solution for those who are facing the issue. It looks like Google Assistant is definitely to blame here, with more examples popping up over the last 24 hours showing that the usually-helpful AI is being activated at random intervals on the Pixel 6 and, not hearing any commands, is calling random people in a user’s contact list. A more common example is the name James, but it doesn’t seem limited to that one.
According to the same Reddit post as we linked to yesterday, many people seem to be experiencing this strange bug, and former AP owner, Artem Russakovskii, speculates that the cause could be corrupted or misconfigured settings imported from a previous Android phone backup — in this case, his OnePlus 9 Pro. He cleared the Google app’s settings and cache and Assistant stopped misbehaving, but that was only a temporary solution. A day later, he was able to reproduce the phantom calls on his Pixel phone again. Hopefully Google can issue a server-side fix to alleviate all the Jameses in the world from unwanted phone calls, but until then, stay vigilant, folks.
In a statement to 9to5Google, Google confirmed that it’s aware of the issue and working on a fix, so this is something Pixel 6 owners hopefully won’t have to put up with too much longer. In the meantime, you’ll have to deactivate Google Assistant hotword detection to get around the issue.
UPDATE: 2021/11/06 10:06 EST BY DANIEL BADER AND MANUEL VONAU
Assistant hotword detection to blame, Google working on a fix
We’ve updated the article with further details revolving contacts named “James” and a statement from Google saying that the company is working on a fix.
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