Is Digital Wellbeing Slowing Down Pixel Handsets?

Posted on May 13, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 19 Comments

A few Reddit posts claiming that Google’s Digital Wellbeing is slowing down the firm’s smartphones have gained some traction, for some reason. But I disabled the feature a week ago and haven’t experienced the promised performance boost or the expected battery life improvements.

So you should approach this one with an open mind, methinks.

The original Reddit post, the one I saw, dates back to May 3, but I read it on May 8. In it, a Redditor claims that they have tried everything to overcome performance issues with a Pixel 3 handset. Finally, they disabled Digital Wellbeing and that did the trick. “After that, my phone has been butter-smooth [with] not one stutter or lag,” they write. “Switching between apps is a breeze now, no more text input lag just speedy performance throughout the whole UI.”

Well, that and turning off animations in developer options, apparently. You know, maybe it was that.

Anyway, I gave it a shot, and I’ve left Digital Wellbeing disabled since then; my Pixel 3 XL gets markedly bad battery life compared to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and I hoped this change would make a difference. It has not. But I also haven’t noticed any negative effects either, so I left it alone. I don’t really need this functionality anyway. So I kind of forgot about it.

This morning, however, I see that a different and more recent Reddit post, which is tied to the release of the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, is being reported everywhere as a “fix” for all modern Pixel handsets.

I don’t know. Maybe you should just turn off animations in developer options.

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