While the Pixel phone launches have never been perfect, most of the problems they exhibited weren’t exactly critical. Sure, a bluish tint might ruin color accuracy, randomly closing apps might be annoying, and failing to save photos might be downright frustrating and depressing. Recent reports surrounding the Pixel 3, however, are close to becoming physically hazardous. Owners of the smaller phone claim that the phone overheats while charging to the point that the phone shuts down to prevent what could be a disaster.
To be clear, one thing that these reports have in common is that their owners continue to use the Pixel 3 while charging. That will naturally put some stress on the device and increase heat but we have come a long way from anything would result in an emergency shutdown. In fact, some manufacturers would boast how you can play games even while the phone is charging.
There doesn’t seem to be a discernible pattern in the reports other than that. Some just play music while others are watching a live stream. Still, others are doing a video call, which perhaps required the phone to be charging to prevent it from quickly draining. Some report the same behavior while using a wired charger but there are a few that were using wireless charging, which does often produce more heat than wired.
Phones’ charging circuits usually take steps to prevent dangerous situations. Sometimes they will throttle the charging to the point that the phone no longer actually charges. The most extreme case is shutting the phone down, though that would still continue the charging process.
Given people’s habits of charging their phones while they sleep, often near their beds, this problem could be a safety hazard in the making. It doesn’t seem like the issue is widespread and no reports for the Pixel 3 XL have been heard so far. Hopefully, it’s just a few faulty models but their mere existence could scare would-be buyers off. Unless these owners are, you know, just charging their phones wrong.