Starting with Android 11 Developer Preview 4, a few Pixel 4 users, including us here at Android Police, noticed an odd display flicker bug, which we could pin down to some rapid flip-flopping between the 60 and 90Hz modes. While you might not be able to see it in screen recordings, the flickering is very visible and very annoying when you use the phone. Unfortunately, the bug is still present two development cycles later in Beta 2, but Google has promised that it will fix the issue with an update slated to be released in two weeks.
Making matters worse in Beta 2 is the fact that the Force 90Hz option has been removed from the developer settings, so it’s impossible to evade the flicker without resorting to more cumbersome solutions. At least the issue isn’t as widespread as it used to be, as many Redditors report that they only have the problem on the homescreen or in apps that frequently refresh the screen when you input text, like WhatsApp or other messengers. The bug also doesn’t seem to affect all Pixel 4 units.
Just look at this flickering. It’s very visible IRL. pic.twitter.com/e6a2b9VFqY
— Artem Russakovskii (@ArtemR) July 9, 2020
Luckily, Android Vice President Dave Burke himself noticed the issue and confirmed to Android Police’s Artem Russakovskii that the problem has been resolved internally and the fix will ship in about two weeks.
Yup, known issue (I had hit it too). Fixed internally, should make it out in an update in ~2 weeks
— Dave Burke (@davey_burke) July 9, 2020
As we’re waiting for the update to roll out, you can try to mitigate the problem by turning off Smooth Display in settings. If that doesn’t work for you, XDA Developers’ Mishaal Rahman found another potential fix, forcing the Pixel 4 to run at 90Hz at all times, even with the missing Force 90Hz toggle. Connect your phone to your computer in debug mode and run the following two commands in ADB shell:
settings put system peak_refresh_rate 90.0
While it would’ve been great to see the fix in Android 11 Beta 2, especially since the release is so focused on stability, it’s still good that Google hasn’t forgotten about it and is working on polishing the new OS even further.