All devices are made of hundreds of tiny parts and pieces that fit together to form what you know as a “smartphone.” That being said, it is a little disconcerting when you start to hear your Pixel 6 Pro make weird clicking or tapping sounds. So what is it, and is it a bad thing? This explainer will break it down for you.
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Don’t worry, your Pixel isn’t broken.
There have been plenty of times the Pixel 6 has been questioned in terms of its integrity. We’ve even had our own fair share of issues here at 9to5Google. Something that’s often perceived as a manufacturing issue is a strange noise that’s heard when you shake your Pixel 6/6 Pro. There are a few different situations that could theoretically be causing this. First, you might think that a piece of glass is loose and shaking back and forth, causing a weird tapping or clicking sound in your Pixel 6. Maybe it’s your volume rocker’s a little too loose and on the brink of popping right out. Don’t worry, that’s probably not it. Do you know what it is?
It’s your camera.
As phones have improved over the last few years, different camera modes have started making their way into our devices. Some of these modes require the camera to be very still during image capture in order to effectively work.
Now, we as humans are not naturally still at all. Think about it. We rely on electrical signals to move our muscles and are essentially fighting gravity at any given moment, causing minuscule movements in our bodies, especially when holding up a camera. For this reason, OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) was engineered into our modern devices so that we can take pictures without sacrificing clarity simply because we moved a little bit. That OIS sensor is what you’re hearing in your Pixel 6 Pro, and it’s completely normal.
What is OIS?
Optical image stabilization works in one very specific way. For the movement your Pixel 6 Pro experiences, the OIS sensor will try to exactly counteract that movement by allowing the camera lens and sensor to stay still in space. Optical image stabilization is generally accomplished by surrounding the sensor in a force-dampening material. This material can absorb movement and help the camera sensor remain mostly still. In general, OIS is always working on the Pixel since, as mentioned, we are always moving and the device needs to remain still for a clear image.
Why does OIS in my Pixel 6/6 Pro camera make noise?
Currently, smartphone cameras are compact, and the Pixel 6/6 Pro’s array is no different. That means there’s only so much room for a sensor to move around in an enclosed space to stabilize an image or video. Given that, if you shake your Pixel 6 and 6 Pro enough, what you’re going to hear is the sensor and lenses hitting the walls of its enclosure.
The Pixel 6 Pro has it worse than the Pixel 6. Just a gentle shake back and forth on a Pixel 6 Pro will utter a weird clicking sound that is surely the telephoto lens being knocked back and forth. The OIS on this lens has to be pretty sensitive given that the farther you zoom in physically, the more sensitive the sensor is to movement. While the Pixel 6 doesn’t have the 4x zoom telephoto lens, you can still hear a gentle clicking noise when you shake the phone around.
All in all, it’s nothing to be worried about. It just means the OIS is doing its job on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. You can even hear the clicking sound on other phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S22, where it’s even more pronounced.
More on Pixel:
- Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro get official Star Wars cases from Casetify, Samsung too
- May’s Pixel 6 and 6 Pro update primarily improves haptic feedback
- Sources: Pixel 6 Pro was supposed to launch with face unlock
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