Savegate: Google Pixel 3 Cameras Aren’t Saving Pictures Sometimes, But There’s A Work-Around

Google launched its Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL smartphones not long ago and we specifically had the opportunity to spend some hands-on time with the Pixel 3. We've also spent time with the camera of the Pixel 3 and found that the smartphone makes for a nice shooter, taking great shots in simple full auto mode. You can check out our full review of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL for our thoughts on the smartphones. However, an issue has surfaced for some users of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL and it's something we didn't observe in our full review. The issue is with the camera and causes some shots to fail to save to the device as expected.

pixel 3 banner

Owners of the devices have taken to Reddit and the Google support forums to talk about the issue; on Reddit, users seem to have figured out what the causes the missing photos. Interestingly, the root cause identification of the photo saving problem comes from a person who owned what they call a "5X" (presumably meaning the LG Nexus 5X), who noted that the same issue with images not saving happened "somewhat often" on that device.

pixel 3 1

Eventually, the user pinpointed the cause of the issue, which had to do with taking images with HDR turned on and exiting the camera app before HDR processing was complete. This user claims that the images lost via this bug weren't recoverable via root/developer access to the phone either, even with recovery software. In that instance, the user says the workaround for missing photos was as easy as leaving the camera app open until all HDR processing completed. The other workaround is to turn off HDR processing for images.

The problem with disappearing images is something that multiple users have complained about and doesn't seem to be limited to just a few devices. However, some users are reporting they have never run into this issue before. Google hasn’t offered any comment on the image save bug, nor has the company indicated that it is working on a fix right now.