Pixel phones have faced challenges related to overheating and excessive battery drain during idle periods after every major update rollout. With the latest under-the-hood optimizations in Android 14, Pixel devices now show improved performance, running at cooler temperatures, and offering extended battery life to users. It’s worth mentioning, though, that even with the strides made in heat management through Android 14, Google’s Tensor chips are still power-intensive and may cause the phone to heat up, especially during intense usage or when exposed to direct sunlight.
In 2021, Google’s smartphone division made a powerful return with the Pixel 6, boasting exceptional imaging performance and the Tensor G1 chip, introducing cutting-edge AI features. However, the device faced challenges with heating and connectivity issues. The Pixel 7 in 2022 addressed these concerns, bringing crucial refinements and the Tensor G2 chip, which emphasized efficiency over sheer performance. Despite these improvements, users of both Pixel 6 and 7 continued to experience overheating during regular usage.
A notable cause of the overheating problem was the tendency of Tensor chips to generate excessive heat. Both the Tensor G1 and G2 were manufactured using Samsung’s 5nm node, a generation older and less efficient than TSMC’s technology. Additionally, these chips utilized older CPU cores that consumed more power. In contrast, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and Gen 2 chips, built on TSMC’s 4nm node, showcased considerably cooler operation in the best Android phones. However, addressing the issue required more than just hardware upgrades.
Various instances occurred where underlying bugs in Android or Google apps resulted in high idle battery drain and overheating in Pixel phones.
Android 14 fixes heating and battery drain issues
With the release of Android 14, Google seems to have made significant optimizations behind the scenes to mitigate these heating issues. Users of Pixel 6, Pixel 7, and even Pixel 5a have reported on platforms like Reddit that their phones now operate smoother and experience reduced overheating with the latest Android update.
The first thing that stood out was when engaging in activities that usually cause the phone to heat up substantially, like gaming and audiobook listening, there was no noticeable heat even with the case on. Removing the case confirmed that the phone remained cool to the touch. That’s when users started to appreciate the significant improvement in battery performance.
Furthermore, battery life seems to have improved, likely due to the CPU operating at reduced stress levels. A comparison of battery usage during similar activities, such as podcast streaming and a 2-hour bike ride, reflected a significant reduction in battery drain with Android 14. This improvement is a promising aspect of the update.
Many feel that Android 14 has done justice to their choice of Pixel phones. Now they run cool, smooth, and sport more than 8.5 hours of SOT, a phone that was wished for. Few even reported that their battery life has doubled in a single charge. It does feel like a miracle with almost doubled battery life.
Apart from persistent overheating and battery drain issues getting resolved, Bluetooth connectivity has shown improvement, allowing both earbuds to function correctly. Additionally, the updated display size settings provide more customization options for letter sizes on the phone, which is indeed a positive change.
These are the initial impressions of Android 14 and are indeed highly favorable, especially regarding improved battery life, enhanced Bluetooth connectivity, and expanded display size customization options. It would make sense to observe long-term performance and report.
Usually, Pixel users tend to voice their concerns about overheating and significant idle battery drain following a major update. Therefore, it’s refreshing to observe that a significant Android update has, for once, had a positive effect in addressing these issues.
The experience with Android 14 has been extremely positive. Despite initial reservations about upgrading, given past experiences where Pixel updates often brought a host of issues, this one has defied expectations. It has undoubtedly been the smoothest and most beneficial update so far.
However, it’s important to set realistic expectations – Android 14 may not entirely eradicate all heating problems on your Pixel. Given that Tensor SoCs tend to consume a substantial amount of power, your phone is still likely to experience warmth or become too hot to touch, especially during intensive use under direct sunlight or while gaming.
How to sideload Android 14?
For those who still can see Android 13 in their system update and are desperate for Android 14 stable, here’s a way how to sideload it without losing my data!
To sideload Android 14 on your Google Pixel, follow these steps:
- Download the Android 14 Files: Obtain the necessary files for installing the Android 14 on your Pixel. You have two options: Factory Image (a clean wipe of your phone) or OTA file (installs over your current version without wiping your phone). For OTA files, download the OTA file associated with your device from Google’s Full OTA Image hosting site.
- Boot into Recovery Mode:
a. Power off your Pixel.
b. Press and hold the Power button and Volume down button simultaneously until you reach the Bootloader page, indicated by an Android figure lying down on the screen.
c. Use the volume buttons to scroll down to “Recovery mode” and select it with the power button.
d. In Recovery mode, press the Power button and the Volume up button for about a second to fully enter Recovery mode.
- Navigate to ADB Sideload: Use the volume buttons to scroll down to “Apply update from ADB” and select it with the power button. This will prepare your device for sideloading the OTA.
- Connect Your Device to a Computer with ADB Tools Installed: Ensure you have ADB and Fastboot tools installed on your computer. Connect your Pixel to the computer using a USB cable.
- Enter the Sideload Command: Use ADB to sideload the OTA file:
- On Windows: Open Command Prompt in the ADB tools folder and type
- On macOS or Linux: Use Terminal and type
./adb sideloadin the ADB tools folder.
- Insert the file name of the .zip folder you downloaded from Google and press Enter to start the sideload process.
- On Windows: Open Command Prompt in the ADB tools folder and type
- Reboot Your Phone: Once the OTA is done installing, you’ll be taken back to Recovery Mode. Select “Reboot now” to finalize the update and reboot your Pixel into Android 14 Beta.
Ensure you back up any important data before proceeding, and follow the instructions carefully to successfully sideload Android 14 Beta on your Google Pixel.