Did July OTA re-trigger Pixel 2 screen flashing issue?

An issue widely reported by Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL users back in October (last year) was screen flashing or flickering while locking or unlocking their units.

Here’s a glimpse of the erratic screen flashing behaviour in question:

Few months later, some of the users who got in touch with Google Support shared that they were told by the company that a fix is being worked on.

Soon after, as the June security patch landed, some of the complainants were relieved and shared that the screen flashing/flickering issue was resolved for them after installing the update.

My phone has not shown the white flash since updating to the June security update yesterday.

I received the June OTA update late last night and so far have not had the flashing screen today.

FWIW, the June update’s change log also mentioned an improvement related to AOD (Always on Display) – the feature reportedly blamed for this flashing/flickering problem.

Meanwhile, a quick rush through the relevant thread on Pixel User community discussing the screen flashing issue shows that there was a subsequent reduction in number of complaints after the June update.


But the picture changed soon as the July security update started rolling, with a significant number of users complaining that the screen flashing problem rebounded on their units with the new update. And this time along with locking/unlocking, the issue showed up on receiving notifications as well.

This was fixed for me in the June security update but has now returned with the July update.

I just had the recent security update yesterday, July 10, and now the screen flashes when locking/unlocking and sometimes when receiving notifications.

July update…. my screen has started flashing again 😐 jeez, you’ve create a bug from a fix of a bug.

I was all happy it was fixed but now the July update bough it back!

Cut to now, reports have been pouring in for over a month – not only on Pixel User Community but across different online discussion forums including Reddit and XDA – effectively confirming that the July security update once again broke what the June update had fixed.

Warning! Ambient lock "screen flash" returned with Android update 7/11/2018 from GooglePixel

Some of those affected speculate the screen flashing problem is back probably because of some tweaking that the company did to fix the screen wake up lag bug (triggered by the June OTA).

Even one of the Top Contributors (on Pixel User Community) agreed, saying (here and here):

From reading various reports it sounds like the fix for the flashing introduced in June may have caused a side-effect of sluggish unlock times for some users. Since the flashing seems to have started back up for July, maybe they reverted that change to “fix” the side effect.


We hope Google address the matter soon, as the flashing issue is seemingly troubling a lot of Pixel 2 users.

It’s also worth mentioning that some of the affected users who enrolled for Android P beta program have affirmed that the flashing problem has been resolved for them. So apparently, Google may have fixed whatever was causing screen flashes in Android P.

So those encountering screen flashes may have to wait until Android P releases publicly, which should be a matter of weeks now.

An like always, we are keeping a tab on all related developments and will update as and when something news worthy shows up. So stay in touch.

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Dr. Aparajita Sharma

A budding entrepreneur by profession, and a psychologist by education. As a founding member of PiunikaWeb, I am nurturing this firstborn with my sharp-eyed expertise and even journalistic writing when needed.