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Pixel Android phone: need info/advice

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by Sunkist, Mar 8, 2022.

  1. Sunkist

    Sunkist Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I received a Pixel XL phone from a Lifeline company- no user manual, no charger, and as there were scribbles inside the box I'm guessing the phone belonged to one of their previous customers, so I'm even more concerned about security issues.
    Initially, I noticed the photo section said 'no longer supported,' and there's no sound recorder.
    When I checked system, it says there have been no updates- security or otherwise- since 2019. It also says the version is Android 10.

    I am not tech-savvy. Is it possible to update/upgrade to a newer Android version- and, if so, is it free?
    Any info or advice would be appreciated.

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  2. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ...eschew obfuscation...

    I moved this to the Pixel XL forum as updates would be device specific. Luckily this is a google phone, so there should be some option, even if not via Google. Good luck!! :)
    mikedt and ocnbrze like this.
  3. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    not sure what a Lifeline company is.......is this a phone service provider? and if you are concerned about security you, you can do a hard reset. this should delete most malware that might be installed on your phone. after that you should be good to go.

    the pixel xl came out in 2016, so i'm not surprised that the last security update was in 2019. most manufacturers and providers only support a particular phone for 3-4 years which yours is way past that.

    and no you can't update to a newer os. newer updates are mainly meant for newer phones with better hardware as tech grows. older phones sometimes can't handle the newer os. you can root the phone and be able to try out custom roms that are based off of the newer os. other than that, you are pretty much stuck with android 10.
    mikedt and Dannydet like this.
  4. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    @ocnbrze , Lifeline is what is derogatorily referred to as an 'Obama Phone'- a device and meanial service is provided for free to people on assistance or of low income.

    @Sunkist , no judgement here, as I am on the same program.

    After a factory reset, probably the best thing to do would be to download and use the following apps, to avoid conflict with outdated built-in apps.

    These are all apps that I recommend to any device, especially old or low memory devices.

    Google is not always your friend, and if you have 'auto update' on in the PlayStore settings they can quickly use up your valuable memory space.
    (I tend to stay away from Google at every chance, and this is only but one reason.)


    Lightning is an incredible browser.
    Use it to get onto social media instead of the individual apps (Facebook, Twitter, Gab, Instagram, Twitch, etc.)
    PitCarver, mikedt and ocnbrze like this.
  5. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    A Pixel XL phone is an eight-year old model that Google no longer actively supports. It was a solid performer back in its day but at this point you need to set your expectations accordingly, especially since this involves a pre-owned, subsidized phone provided to you by a social services agency.
    Use the phone as is and disregard hopes you can readily just make this phone run the latest versions of Android. Apps you'll be using will continue to be updated and current for quite a while, as Google does continue to support that end of things and third-party developers tend to do so for an even longer amount of time. A current Android OS would be optimal but it's not like Android 10 is lacking, and it's typically your apps that you use to interact with various online services, the OS only incidentally so there is that.
    Sit down and go through all the options that are in the Settings menu. That's a good way to get comfortable with your phone's unique features and capabilities. There's also going to be a lot of sub-menus and contextual icons that bring up their own sub-menus.
  6. Sunkist

    Sunkist Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Thank you all for your replies.

    As this phone probably won't last long anyway, I'm hoping you might have input on a previous phone.
    It, too, had the habit of shutting itself off for no reason, I never knew it was off or for how long til I tried to use it, and may have missed important calls.
    I only used it for less than 4 months. It appeared to be in good condition. It's a Tracfone Blu, not sure which version. I've read tons of info on why phones shut off, so I'm clueless on what the actual problem could be.
    Would you have info/input?
  7. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    In my experience, phones shut themselves off or restart on their own for a few different reasons.

    Probably the most common reason is that the device has been crammed too full of stuff by the user to function properly.

    The modern devices clear caches and shut down unused apps during a restart, so a device that is overtaxed may do this of its own accord to try to make some room for it to function as it is designed to.

    The second most frequent cause is most likely due to failing batteries.
    Batteries age even if they are never used, and sooner or later they cannot power their devices correctly.

    These devices always run on the battery, even when they are plugged into their chargers.

    The next most common reason for this issue may well be due to the user meddling with certain system apps.

    Personally, I like to eliminate any app that I don't like or want on my devices.
    Sometimes this will have secondary effects, caused by apps (that can't be eliminated) that are designed to make sure some other app(s) are running.

    In this case, the app can't find the other app or it is not running, and it will trigger a restart in order to start the app that it islooking for.

    These situations are from my own experiences, and in that order.
    It very well may be that in general, the battery should be the first suspect.
  8. Sunkist

    Sunkist Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I'm with ya on apps- all kinds of junk that I wouldn't use anyway, but trying to get rid of anything brought up message that removing apps could cause device to malfunction. I've never added any apps myself on any of these phones

    As a previous poster said my Google Pixel is an 8-year-old model, there probably isn't much hope for it.
    I rarely make calls, but tried twice yesterday, and both times the calls disconnected. Unfortunately it's currently my only active phone.
    The one I received from same company last year was a Sky Device, and in worse shape than this one.

    Would there be any way to determine the battery "health" of the Blu? It's either a BluView 1 or 2, not sure which.
    Whenever it turned itself off, it didn't turn back on. Each time I found it was off, I rebooted- but there's no guarantee that will always work. It wasn't too expensive, but it seems Tracfone should have replaced it when I told them about the problem. I don't know how old the phone is, but it has Android 10.
  9. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    Dont worry too muchabout that 'may cause malfunction' warning.

    Devices are set up to be difficult for the user to actually cause a real malfunction, ie. you wont be able to turn off or disable anything of any real importance.

    Most times, a restart would fix anything of the sort- or else you just cannot disable that type of thing.

    What COULD happen is that you disable something that causes other things to not work or to work differently.
    Like if you disable Google, then many things you may be accustomed to might change or no longer work.
    (Google is one of the first things I disable on any device, btw.)
  10. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    @Sunkist ... you say this is a Lifeline provided phone, and that both calls you made disconnected, right?

    I am in the same boat, and no device will be of any difference.

    My guess is that like myself, your provider is using T-Mobile as a carrier.

    Their cellular coverage is terrible.
    Basically, if T-Mobile is the carrier then you really won't have cellular service- because their system and coverage is garbage.

    What I do is take my device somewhere that has free wi-fi.

    Most fast food places have it, all libraries do, as well as many other places like stores.
    It is actually easier for me to find free wi-fi than it is to get a T-Mobile cellular signal.

    Then I use a free wi-fi calling app like Dingtone, or a calling/messaging app like Telegram to call and message people.

    Back when Sprint was the Lifeline carrier around here, it was great.
    Then T-Mobile bought Sprint, and ruined the service completely.

    I went 3 months without a working cellphone, changed SIM cards, changed devices, and finally changed Lifeline provider.
    Nothing worked, as even the new provider uses T-Mobile as a carrier.

    Finally, I bought an unlocked phone so that I can use any carrier.

    But I still have the worthless T-Mobile service for now.

    Seriously, I will not bother trying to keep the Lifeline service, as it is basically worthless unless you can find and then climb to the top of a T-Mobile tower and hold your phone directly against the antenna.
    Even then I bet it drops a call, if it even can connect.
  11. Sunkist

    Sunkist Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Thank you all for the info.

    Problem solved: got a different phone and different provider.
    puppykickr likes this.

Google Pixel XL Forum

The Google Pixel XL release date was October 2016. Features and Specs include a 5.5" inch screen, 12MP camera, 4GB RAM, Snapdragon 821 processor, and 3450mAh battery.

October 2016
Release Date

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