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Google says its Digital Wellbeing software isn’t affecting performance on Pixel phones

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But it did find “unrelated” problems that were — and is rolling out a fix

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Google has responded to accusations that its Digital Wellbeing software slows down performance on Pixel phones. Commenting via an official Google account on Reddit, the company said it had “conducted a thorough analysis” of the software after receiving complaints from users, and concluded there were “no performance issues associated with the Digital Wellbeing app on Pixel.”

However, the company did note that during its investigation it found “unrelated” problems that did adversely affect performance. It said it was in the process of rolling out software updates that would fix these bugs and “make your Pixel device better.”

Complaints about the Digital Wellbeing app have been bubbling for a few weeks now. The software (which is available on all Pixel phones, Android One devices, and a handful of other Android smartphones) runs in the background of users’ phones, logging how long they use certain apps and allowing users to set timers to limit usage.

Like Apple’s Screen Time, Google’s Digital Wellbeing app lets users track how they long use their phones each day.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Some Pixel owners — particularly Pixel 3 owners — said turning off the software made a “night and day” difference in their phones’ performance. Others were more equivocal, saying the changes weren’t that noticeable. If you have a Pixel phone, you can test the difference for yourself by going into the Settings menu > then Digital Wellbeing > clicking the three dot icon in the top right and selecting “Turn off usage access.”

Google’s comments on Reddit make it clear that it found no adverse effects associated with Digital Wellbeing, but it’ll be interesting to see how users experience the promised update.

The full comment from Google — left on Reddit in response to a user complaining about Digital Wellbeing slowing down their Pixel 3 — is as follows:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention and sharing bug reports with us. We’re committed to continually improving Pixel based on user feedback.

We conducted a thorough analysis based on the bug reports and internal testing, and have found no performance issues associated with the Digital Wellbeing app on Pixel. During the investigation, we identified changes unrelated to the bug reports for improving performance, and we are in the process of rolling out those changes to make your Pixel device better. As always if you experience issues related to performance or any other aspect of Pixel, please review the troubleshooting steps in our online support tool or reach out to customer service.