Google Pixel bug is back, locking many users out of their phone's storage

Google hasn't announced a fix yet, but the problem is affecting almost every version of Pixel device. Here's what you can do about it.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Google Pixel 8 status bar and weather widget.
Max Buondonno/ZDNET

Just three months ago, a bug swept across Google Pixel devices that limited users' access to their phone's internal storage. 

The bug caused several problems, including app crashes (particularly the camera app), the file explorer app showing no files, and a variety of error messages being displayed, including "storage is full," "System UI isn't responding," and "Android system is corrupted."

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It turns out the issue was tied to having multiple profiles on the same phone and Google rolled out a fix just a few weeks later, but it appears the January 2024 Google Play System update has caused it to resurface. In the past few days, users have begun reporting similar issues – including internal storage not being recognized, screenshots not being saved, and files missing. 

Fortunately, the most recent Play update hasn't hit the majority of devices. You can check to see what version of Google Play you're running by tapping on the Settings app, then Security & Privacy, then System and updates. Some users have reported installing the new update without any problems, but if you are still running the November version, you should probably hold off on updating until Google gives the all-clear, especially if you have multiple profiles.

Users of just about every Pixel version have reported facing the problem, including the Pixel Fold, Pixel 8 Pro, Pixel 7, Pixel 6, and Pixel 5. It's not clear if the issue is again tied to multiple user profiles or another condition. 

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Last time, the problem was resolved with a simple system update, but Google hasn't issued a fix for the newest bug. Users have reported that factory resetting their device fixes things, but that's a last resort. In a comment to 9to5Google, a company representative acknowledged the bug, saying "We're aware of this issue and are looking into it." 

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