Google Confirms Overcurrent Bug on Pixel XL With Oreo 8.1 to be Fixed

Google has confirmed that a bug impacting the original Google Pixel XL in Android Oreo 8.1 will be fixed in the coming weeks.  The bug can cause the phone to overcurrent, meaning it takes on too much power during recharging, and in theory could pose a fire hazard.

Google’s John McNulty, Head of Safety and Compliance Engineering for Google Consumer Hardware, took to the product forums for Pixel users and assured the bug would be fixed but thanks to multiple layers of protection, a fire risk remained very low.

In his post, McNulty states

Tests run by our safety engineers have also confirmed that even if a momentary overcurrent draw of the kind described were to occur in normal-use conditions, it would not pose a safety hazard. In addition, Pixel XL was designed with multiple layers of safety protections to further prevent overheating:

  1. the phone input circuit is designed to carry more than the observed level of current;

  2. both the battery and the phone have multiple layers of protection to avoid battery and phone overheating and overcharging;

  3. the in-box charger, as well as any third party chargers that meet safety industry standards (UL and similar), have overcurrent protection.

The bug has been a tricky one for Google to sort as not all Pixel XL owners have been impacted.  I, for example, have never had the issue happen on my XL.  You will know if you are impacted if you are watching your phone charge and it alternates between not charging to rapid charging as the phone tries to negotiate the maximum amount of power it can from the charger.  If it gets to much, the phone shuts off the charging then renegotiates the power level.  This can happen several times, in pretty rapid succession, until everything comes into agreement on the power level.

Google feels confident that if you are using a UL approved or the original charger with your Pixel XL that there is no safety risk.  To be safe, it’s recommended that you use the original charger that came with your phone until the bug can be patched.