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The Pixel phones from Google are delayed by their Digital Wellbeing function

Both app developers and large technical companies have responded to growing concern about smartphone addiction with a range of usage tracking services designed to curb a user's bad habits.

The Digital Wellbeing service from Google is such an ' n app and promises to monitor and measure usage of your phone in a transparent way, while at the same time providing ways to minimize screen time in certain apps.

However, as appears from several threads on the r / GooglePixel subreddit it seems that the app is responsible for cases of slow performance on the latest Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL flagships and their just-released, more affordable counterparts, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.

At the moment, the only solution seems to be to disable the app's access to certain Android OS functions – which to some extent paralyzes the possibilities.

  • Google Pixel 3a review
  • Google Pixel 3a XL review
  • Google brings its Digital Wellbeing tools to Home and Assistant

Disabling user access for the Digital Wellbeing app can resolve performance issues (credit image: TechRadar)

Disabling the feature would smooth out frame rate issues, such as stuttering in certain situations, as well as improving the speed and fluidity of everyday actions such as switching between apps.

Tested on a new Pixel 3a that was delivered to TechRadar for review, we did not notice any direct changes after turning off the feature – an experience shared with a number of Reddit commentators – although a significant number of answers to the thread indicate significant speed increases for other handsets in the Pixel setup.

For those with a Pixel handset who want to try out the solution, you can do this as follows. Open Settings and search for "Use Access" and tap the relevant result. From here, select Digital Wellbeing and turn off the slider labeled "Allowed user access".

Fortunately, this does not affect all the functions of the Digital Wellbeing service – the unwinding function (which allows you to schedule a time for the Do Not Disturb mode, the Nightlight mode and the gray scale filter, all of which help to discourage unwanted phone use at certain hours) still works great, for example.

  • Apple defends the removal of habit-breaking apps from the App Store
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