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My biggest Google Pixel 4A annoyance — auto-brightness — is apparently about to go away


The $349 Pixel 4A is such a good phone for the money, but there’s one thing that’s bugged me from the start: my new phone is really, really bad at figuring out when its screen should be bright and when it needs to be dim. I’m constantly fidgeting with the brightness slider just to see the screen properly when I move from dark to light environments, even though I keep auto-brightness turned on.

But Google has just issued an October security patch for Android 11 on the Pixel 4A, Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 3A and 3A XL, Pixel 3 and 3XL, and even a penultimate update for the 2 and 2 XL — like the original Pixel, Google confirms the 2 and 2 XL are one more update than promised — and one of these fixes looks like it could be the auto-brightness update I’ve been waiting for.

I can’t yet confirm whether “improvements to auto-brightness response in certain lighting conditions” is actually a fix, partly because it’s still installing on my phone as I type these words and partly because it’s really hard to prove a negative.

Many Pixels are getting a variety of fixes, including “inadvertent disablement of call notifications” and “fix for some devices stuck during boot,” which sound pretty bad.
Image: Google

But I should be pretty confident after a couple more days of using the phone, and if not, I’ll let you (and Google) know. The Pixel 4A has a light sensor that lives underneath the screen, so it might be a little trickier to tweak than most. It’s also just not that bright a screen, as Dieter pointed out in his review, so I’m not expecting it to suddenly be great in direct sunlight.

As you can see in the image above, there’s a handful of other interesting fixes as well around auto-rotation, “inadvertent disablement of call notifications,” and a “fix for some devices stuck during boot.” The latter two apply all the way back to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and they sound like important bugs to squash.



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