A number of Google Pixel 5 users are experiencing a complete loss of sensor functionality within their phones. The issue affecting everything from GPS navigation to automatic app and photo orientation, while serious, seemed to previously only occur in older Pixel models. However, new reports indicate the problems' spread, despite a recent patch released earlier this month.
Multiple users, multiple problems — As noted by multiple users on Google's Support Forums, their phones initially performed fine, but after seemingly random, concurrent reboots, the on-device sensors completely shut down. According to one forum poster, their "compass, proximity, accelerator, barometer" and all other sensors were suddenly unavailable. "Same issue for me after 15 days," another person responded, adding that Google's November update appeared to solve their issues, only to have the sensors malfunction again recently.
Rebooting may only provide temporary help — To test whether or not your own Pixel 5 is on the fritz, 9to5Google recommends running Google's Science Journal app, or "a third-party sensor testing app from the Google Play Store."
A temporary solution could also come from doing a full device reboot, although the solution might only be temporary until a new software patch arrives. 9to5Google notes that the issues are almost certainly stemming from programming problems, and not from the actual hardware itself.
Not a deal-breaker — Given that these issues are still affecting a relatively small portion of Pixel 5 consumers, we don't honestly suggest the bug be taken into serious consideration if you're currently looking to upgrade your own smartphone. And heck, at least it's not as bad as Apple's recent AirDrop hacking loophole.