Google Pixel 4 reportedly struggling to scan Freestyle Libre sensors

Smartphones of today are no longer mere communication tools they were meant to be when the mobile phone became a thing decades ago.

Today, you can take great photos with phones, record quality videos, play PC-quality games, and even make NFC-based tap-to-pay transactions instead of carrying around a huge wallet full of cards.

Speaking of NFC, this chip is not there to only facilitate Google Pay or Samsung Pay transactions, but it can also be put to other uses. For instance, Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. developed an app that can tap into the powers of the NFC chip to read the data on their FreeStyle Libre sensors.

Freestyle Libre is a continuous blood glucose level monitoring device indicated for the management of diabetes. It consists of a disposable sensor, a patch delivery unit and a reader to help diabetes patients instantly check the blood glucose level at any time of the day without the traditional finger-prick testing system.

Instead of carrying around a reader for checking glucose levels on the Freestyle Libre sensor at any time of the day, those whose smartphones have an NFC chip can download the FreeStyle Libre app that turns the phone into a reader.

Using the app, you can scan the glucose level monitor and read the processed data on your phone in a language you can understand. But for some reason, it appears that those using the Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL to scan the Freestyle Libre sensors are having trouble doing so.

It is virtually impossible for me to scan my FreeStyle Libre sensors with my Pixel 4XL. No matter what way I position the phone I cannot reliably scan the sensor, it is really hit and miss, about a 1 in 20 success rate. It works perfect for Google Pay so NFC function seems to be OK. I’ve used Pixel 2XL for my FreeStyle Libre without problems, this issue has only started since changing to Pixel 4XL but because this is for medical reasons I will have to return if Google can’t fix ☹️

Seconded. I’m seeing this issue as well with the Pixel 4. I’m able to successfully read the sensor with a OnePlus 7 Pro running Android 10 and a Galaxy Note 10+ running Pie with no issues. I also had this problem with the Pixel 2 at Launch a couple of years ago.

I’ve tested it with NFC Tools also but that doesn’t pick it up everytime for me, I still have the same problem when scanning with that App. It’s hard to tell if the issue is with Abbott or Google, I’ve been in contact with both – neither are too helpful, shame given all the money they are taking from me.

Pixel 4 NFC issue with Freestyle Libre app (Source)

The above cases have just been handpicked from the many trickling down the Google support, but there is more in the Freestyle Libre app’s Play Store reviews section. Apparently, some affected users have been sent new sensors but it doesn’t solve the issue, so it’s probably got to do with the app.

Freestyle Libre app issues on Google Pixel 4 (Source)

Our hope is that the growing number of distressed users of the Freestyle Libre app on Pixel 4 handsets will trigger a response from any of the concerned parties, probably alongside a fix or at least a promise for one.

We will keep an eye on the story and let you know when the bug is addressed. Stay tuned to our Google section for more Pixel and related stories.

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Hillary Keverenge

Review Editor. Besides phones, I also enjoy the farm, music, football, and, of course, food.