Google Pixel 5a 5G overheating problem: How I fixed it

Google’s Pixel phones are loved by a small but vocal fan base around the world. This is partly due to the quality of images that Google’s camera app delivers, thanks to computational photography. But Pixel phones have been plagued by poor battery life and heating problems for quite a while.

The Pixel 5a 5G has the best battery life of any Pixel phone in the market today and delivers such good usage times in between charges that it deserves accolades. But, and a very big but, the heating problem is much worse. The Pixel 5a 5G overheating problem is so bad that many times, you have to shut down the camera, or turn off hotspot, or shut down the phone outright, to get it to cool down.

I am not exaggerating. For months, it was painful trying to use the phone in everyday scenarios that I had used other phones from Apple, Samsung, Nokia, TECNO, and Xiaomi. The 5a 5G just kept heating up and disabling features by itself. Below is a notification that I got used to seeing multiple times every single day.

Google Pixel 5a 5G overheating problem
A notification due to the Google Pixel 5a 5G overheating problem

This would pop up even when the camera wasn’t in use. Perhaps I was browsing the Web and using social media. Perhaps I was using the phone as a hotspot to get work done online on my laptop. It would warm up and the above notification would pop up on the screen in a little while.

While the phone also heated up and popped a different error while using the camera, often, it would also overheat if I left the camera open but not in use. I found that disturbing: overheating from an idle camera? This was ridiculous.

Google Pixel 5a 5g camera device is too hot
I was not recording anything when this error popped up. I just had the camera app open and switches to video, and voila.

I checked Google support forums and scoured the Web for anyone who had found a solution to this persisting problem. I found none. The best words of comfort out there were those that said Google was aware of the issue. There was no timeline for a fix.

Reading others describe the issue helped me narrow down the problem. And then, I thought to change a few settings on this unit. And the result is that while the phone still warms up a little (and many phones do that now), the Pixel 5a 5G overheating issue that caused the phone to disable features and services has not popped up again since then. So, hopefully, this is a valid fix.

What I did to fix the Google Pixel 5a 5G overheating problem

I figured this has something to do with the camera, so I dived into the camera settings and fiddled around a while with settings that looked like could be behind this stressing of the phone. I won’t bore you with all the details. Here are the settings that I now have disabled in the Google camera:

  • Google Lens suggestions
  • Social share
  • Frequent Faces
  • Framing hints
  • Exposure
  • RAW+JPEG control (under Advanced)
  • Social media depth features (under Advanced)
  • Enable time lapse for Astrophotography (under Advanced)

I know these are a lot of features to disable, but I was desperate to have a stable and functional phone that I could actually use daily without being sabotaged in the middle of an important task. And it looks like I achieved just that. There is still some warmth when you use the phone for a while, but it doesn’t get severely warm any more and those warmth/heat notifications don’t pop-up anymore.

It might be too early to say that I solved the Google Pixel 5a 5G overheating problem for myself. Feel free to try out the above settings for yourself and see if it makes a difference. If it works for enough people, at least, we’d have given Google an idea of where to look to fix the underlying problem.

For now, it is a relief that I am able to use the Pixel 5a 5G without feeling like I am carrying a hot plate around. If there is anything you have done to successful get your Pixel 5a 5G to not warm up so badly, do share. Lastly, if you are interested, please see my Google Pixel 5a 5G review.

6 thoughts on “Google Pixel 5a 5G overheating problem: How I fixed it”

  1. I disabled all the setting as listed in the article and my pixel 3 doesn’t overheat as often anymore. I was able use my phone while charging it without being given an overheat warning like before. Thank you Mr Mobility.

  2. Mine is bricked and died today. I bought it used last June. I got that warning in the first couple of uses which was concerning. But today popped up while I was scanning packages for my delivery job and the phone became non-responsive 10 minutes later. It’s the third Google phone I’ve had that has bricked itself from overheating. It’s the second time it happened while I was working. But I was prepared because of previous issues and had a backup phone to swap the sim over to. I threw in the freezer since that restored my other failures for a short amount of time to get a few things off but so far no luck for the 5a.

  3. Hi Tim,

    So sorry about that. Personally, I am resolved to not buy another Pixel phone till I am sure Google no longer makes phones that overheat like this. I will not be subjecting myself to this ordeal any more.

  4. Mr. Mobility, it’s been a minute since you wrote this article, which I just found today, I’m curious what the long-term ramifications were for you after making these changes. Did you ever have an overheating problem again? If yes, how did it occur relative to how it was coming on prior to the settings changes?

    I just turned off all of the settings you recommended because other than “social share,” I wasn’t using most of them and if I need to QR something, I figure I can just turn that back on.

    My overheating happens a lot, usually when cycling (previous iterations of Pixel phone didn’t do this to me, even previous 5a 5G variants but this current phone is a refurbished warranty/insurance replacement that has overheated since the first week) or using Android Auto.

  5. Hello Shutt,

    Thanks for your question. These fixes did not eliminate the overheating completely, but it happened less frequently and in less severe measures.

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