The issue happens seemingly at random when an app freezes. According to reports, when this occurs, the frozen app can lock up the phone’s entire user interface. The result is users can’t leave the app with the home button or gesture navigation, nor can they access the notification shade.
So far, the only real fix is a temporary one. Users can lock and unlock the phone and that seems to set things right, although people with older Pixel devices can reportedly use the fingerprint swipe gesture to open the notification shade to get out of the frozen state.
Another thing that really bothers me on the Pixel 4 XL – when an app freezes up, it oftentimes locks up the whole UI. Notifications, home gesture – everything becomes unresponsive.
Sometimes the UI unfreezes when the app does, sometimes the app remains frozen.
— Artem Russakovskii (@ArtemR) April 17, 2020
The problem can be annoying if it happens once in a while. However, some users report encountering this issue multiple times every day. Further, some of the apps reportedly causing the issue are fairly popular: Amazon, Twitter, YouTube Music and the Play Store, for example.
Worse, the problem seems to extend across software variations. Again, most reports stem from Pixel devices with the Pixel launcher, but OnePlus and Xiaomi phones have also been affected, even those running Nova Launcher and Action Launcher. Additionally, most people encountering the issue are running Android 10, but it also affected the Android 11 Developer Preview running on a Pixel 3.
For my part, I haven’t experienced the issue on either a Pixel 4 running Android Developer Preview 2 or on an OnePlus 7 Pro. I have experienced several other bugs and glitches on the Pixel 4, but almost all of them can be attributed to the developer software running on the device.
Regardless, hopefully Google can find a fix for the problem soon, and before it starts to affect more people.