According to several consistent reports, the Pixel 4a 5G is suffering from touch reliability issues following last month’s software update. Besides taps not registering, those that use 3-button navigation are particularly affected.

Update 2/1: The February security patch is rolling out with a fix for this issue. Google explains how there is “further tuning & improvements for touch experience” on the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. This update will be fully available over the coming days. Those that want to sideload should note the three different builds depending on your (US) carrier.

Update 1/15: Google has updated its original December acknowledgement to explain how “Improvements for this issue will be available in the February software update on Pixel phones.”

Original 1/12: The issue (via Android Police) appears to have been introduced with the December security patch — as there were no problems before that update or at launch. Taps to buttons and other UI elements at the edges of the screen are not always registered and require multiple presses before they are recognized. It’s not a hardware issue as finger drags are consistently recognized in one shared video. 

This is particularly problematic for those that use 3-button navigation. The ‘back’ button is particularly impacted for those that do not use gesture navigation out of preference for the old system or accessibility reasons. Meanwhile, problems also arise in fullscreen apps that have corner or edge buttons.

Google acknowledged this was an issue on December 23rd, and said that a “fix will be included in an upcoming software update.” However, it was not addressed by the January patch and there has been no further comunication since. The company does offer two tips on how to improve touch recognition: 

  1. When tapping icons on the edge of the screen, tap the center of the button or the side of the button/icon furthest away from the edge of the display.
  2. When tapping icons, including the navigation buttons on the bottom of your screen,  use the tip of your finger or thumb instead.  This will help improve touch recognition. 

In the meantime, the only real fix is rolling back your phone to the November security patch. It’s an arduous process, but the one of the only solutions for 3-button navigation users plagued by touchscreen issues on their Pixel 4a 5G. 

More about Pixel 4a 5G:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: