Google Pixel 3 XL screen remains black after calls

While it’s perfectly normal for a phone’s screen to turn black during calls, a case mentioned below tells a slightly different story and one that requires intervention. Basically, a Google Pixel 3 XL user wants help because the phone’s screen remains black 5 seconds after the call ended. By design, a Pixel device has a proximity sensor in front that causes the screen to turn black on calls. This happens when the phone senses that your face is near the screen. The screen should turn back on immediately though once the phone is nowhere near your face.

Problem: Google Pixel 3 XL screen remains black after calls

Hi. My names Russta and my mom got the new Pixel 3 xl just a couple days after Christmas. She’s already encountered some big problems with the hardware. First, whenever she answers a phone call the screen goes entirely black and she can’t access it until around 5 seconds after the call is ended. A video call app she uses to talk to my dad who lives elsewhere also turns her screen black, rendering it useless. Voicemail also doesn’t work for her. Although we tried restarting the phone it didn’t work, and I couldn’t find anyone else with similar problems online. Hope you can help!

Solution: There can be a number of different reasons for this problem. Follow our suggestions below on what you can do to fix this issue.

Forced reboot

Sometimes, this simple procedure can fix bugs that developed after the system has run for a long time. By manually forcing your Google Pixel 3 Xl to reboot, you’re basically simulating a battery pull, which, in older mobiles with removable battery packs, was an effective way to refresh the system. If you haven’t tried this one yet, here are the steps that you can do:

Forced reboot clears the RAM and refreshes the system in general. If the reason for the calling issue you’re having is temporary in nature, it may go away after a restart. Try rebooting your Google Pixel 3 this way:

Press and hold the Power key for 30 seconds or even more and when the logo shows up on the screen, release it.

Unlike other devices wherein you have to press and hold a couple of keys, you only need the power button on Pixel phones and again, it’s hard-wired to respond to it. So, if it actually boots up, that would be the end of the problem but try to do it a few more times if the first try didn’t work. After that and your device still remains unresponsive, try the next solution.

Install Android OS updates (system updates)

Android evolves so new bugs and problems may happen from time to time. To minimize the chance of bugs from developing, you want to make sure that the software runs the latest Android version. Make sure to set your Pixel 3 XL to automatically install updates so you’ll not miss anything.

Like Android operating system, apps regularly need updates to stay in optimum shape. Make it a point to install app updates whenever they are available.

  1. Open your device’s Play Store app.
  2. Tap Menu icon.
  3. Tap My apps & games.
  4. Apps with available updates are labeled “Update.”
  5. If an update is available, tap Update.
  6. If more updates are available, tap Update all.

Manually close or quit apps

Sometimes, manually closing a problematic app is all it takes to fix a problem. Make sure to do that for each and every app you’re having a problem with. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps & notifications.
  3. Find the Phone app and tap it. If needed, tap App info before the app.
  4. Tap Force stop.

Clear app cache

Another way to troubleshoot the Phone app is by clearing its cache. Follow these steps to clear an app cache on your Google Pixel 3 XL:

  1. From a Home screen, touch and swipe up to display all apps.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Tap Apps & notifications.
  4. Tap See all ‘xx’ apps.
  5. Tap the appropriate app.
  6. Tap Storage.
  7. Tap Clear cache.
  8. Restart your Pixel 3 XL.

Clear app data

If nothing changes after clearing the Phone app’s cache, a follow up troubleshooting step is by deleting the app’s data. This will return the app to its factory state. If a bug occured after this app had been updated, or if something was changed, this might help. Follow the steps below on how to clear an app’s data:

  1. From a Home screen, touch and swipe up to display all apps.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Tap Apps & notifications.
  4. Tap See all ‘xx’ apps.
  5. Tap the appropriate app.
  6. Tap Storage.
  7. Tap Clear data.
  8. Restart your Pixel 3 XL.

Use another calling app

In case the problem is caused by a bug within the app itself and it can’t be fixed on your level, you should still be able to make a call using other apps. There are many calling apps that you can find in Google Play Store so it’s up to you what to use.

Boot to safe mode

If nothing still works after trying to use another app, you want to check if a third party app is behind the trouble. To do that, you want to restart your device to safe mode. Once the phone begins running on safe mode, you won’t be able to use any app you added, called third party apps. What you can use to call is the stock Phone app that came with the software only.

To boot your device to safe mode:

  1. Press and hold the Power button.
  2. On your screen, touch and hold Power off.
  3. Tap OK.
  4. After you see “Safe mode” at the bottom of your screen, wait to see if the problem goes away.

Once the phone is running on safe mode, try to replicate the problem by calling someone using the stock app. If it works normally and the screen won’t turn black, that’s a clear indication that there’s a problem with the one of the apps. To identify which of your downloaded apps is causing the problem:

  1. To exit safe mode, restart your device.
  2. One by one, uninstall recently downloaded apps. After each removal, restart your device. See whether removing that app solved the problem.
  3. After you remove the app that’s causing the problem, you can reinstall the other apps that you removed.

Reset network settings

One of the reasons that we can think of that may be causing the problem you’re having is incorrect network configuration. To clear the current settings and force the device to set them up again, you can do the Reset Network Settings troubleshooting. Resetting network settings will delete all previously connected wifi networks, wifi passwords, VPN settings, and cellular settings. To do it:

  1. Open your device’s Settings app Settings app.
  2. Tap System.
  3. Tap Advanced.
  4. Tap Reset options.
  5. Tap Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth.
  6. ​If you don’t see “Advanced,” tap Network & internet > More t> Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth.
  7. At the bottom, tap Reset settings.

Reset app preferences

Some users were able to successfully make their device work by clearing their network settings. If you haven’t tried it yet, here’s what you need to do:

  1. From a Home screen, tap the Arrow icon Up to display all apps.
  2. Go to Settings app icon.
  3. Tap System About icon.
  4. Tap Reset options icon.
  5. Choose from the following:
  6. Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth
  7. Reset app preferences
  8. Erase all data (factory reset)
  9. Tap RESET SETTINGS. If prompted, enter the PIN, password or pattern.
  10. Tap RESET SETTINGS to confirm.

Factory reset

This may be drastic but factory reset is necessary in this situation. By wiping the device, you want to find out if an unknown software bug is the reason for the problem. If the problem goes away after a factory reset, then that’s probably because of a bug unique to your device. Make sure to back your personal data up ahead of time. Also, you want to remove your Google account from the device to avoid encountering problems related to Factory Reset Protection.

To factory reset your Pixel 3 XL:

  1. Create a backup of your personal data.
  2. Make sure to know the username and password for Google account in the phone.
  3. Open Settings app.
  4. Tap System.
  5. Tap Advanced.
  6. Tap Reset options.
  7. Tap Erase all data (factory reset) and then Reset phone. If needed, enter your PIN, pattern, or password.
  8. To erase all data from your phone’s internal storage, tap Erase everything.
  9. When your phone has finished erasing, pick the option to restart.
  10. Set up your phone and restore your backed-up data.

Contact your network operator

If your phone was provided by your carrier, we recommend that you get help from them should the issue continues after a factory reset. There may be a firmware or coding problem that causes the screen to turn black. It’s also possible that there may be an issue with the proximity sensor. You want to let an expert check the phone so it can be repaired if needed.

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