Nexus 5 bug causes device to stop receiving calls and text messages

Nexus-4-and-Nexus-5-608x492

Smartphones will, on occasion, be somewhat buggy, simply as a natural consequence of their complexity. Of course, that doesn’t mean that bugs aren’t annoying when the compromise the functionality of a phone, especially without giving any indication that something is wrong.

Back in early December, a post on the Google Product Forum for the Nexus 5 identified a problem where the device would not ring when an incoming call was received, or show any notification or indication that the call was missed, even if the caller had left a message. Similar problems have been reported on all four carriers, such as one where the Nexus 5 will appear to be connected to the network but not actually allow any apps to connect, and one where the Nexus 5 will lose GSM signal.

The first problem, however, is the most concerning, as when it occurs the Nexus 5 still appears to be working and connecting properly for everything else, yet call and text notifications are for some reason not coming in. This makes it extremely difficult to know when the device has stopped responding to calls, and was primarily noticed only when Google Voice pushed a voicemail notification to users without the phone ever appearing to have received a call. (The Google Voice app still works independently off of the data connection when the devices is not responding to calls.) Making things even stranger is the fact that calling out from an effected Nexus 5 still works and for some reason suddenly causes all of the previous notifications to show up.

While a total data connection loss and intermittent signal are certainly annoying, these bugs are much easier to notice. A phone that appears to be working but doesn’t receive calls, though, presents a number of problems. I saw this in action earlier this week when I ordered a pizza and was waiting for the driver to call so that I could go to the entrance and pick it up. I waited for the call, but eventually became concerned and called the pizza place. They said that the driver left some time ago, and of course as soon as I hung up I noticed a number of missed calls from the driver, dated ten minutes ago.

Luckily, he was still there (though very annoyed), and all that the bug cost me was a couple extra dollars for the tip. The problem, though, is that for some people the call that gets missed might not be just the pizza driver. There are so many different situations where this bug could cause significant problems, whether the missed call is from your boss or your significant other.

Though the issue has been around since at least December, and in one thread it is claimed that LG will fix the problem in an update by January 2014, the problem clearly hasn’t gone away. Even the cause is not clear, though it seems that the bug is most likely to arise when LTE and WiFi are on, and the Nexus 5 has been in sleep mode. (Which is likely a very common occurrence.) For me, calling out from the Nexus 5 was enough to get incoming calls and texts working again, (at least for now) but others report that disabling LTE completely or WiFi during sleep is the only surefire way to prevent the bug from reappearing.

Clearly, neither of these solutions is ideal, but the problem has been acknowledged by a Community Manager on the Android Consumer Products team who appears to think that a fix will be coming sometime soon. Still, for at least a few people this is a significant problem. I don’t really get many seriously important calls, and still I now  feel as if I can’t trust my Nexus 5 to let me know when someone is trying to contact me. For someone who has to know when calls are coming in, this is a problem serious enough to warrant returning the phone. The Nexus 5 has impressed me so far, but Google and LG should be communicating with users and working quickly to fix a bug that for some could be a serious problem.

[Google Product Forums | AndroidPolice]
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Aaron Orquia

Aaron Orquia is an associate editor at Pocketables. He has been using Android and Linux since he bought his first computer years ago, and his interest in technology, software, and tweaking both to work just right has only grown stronger since then. His current gadgets include a OnePlus One, a Pebble smartwatch, and an Acer C720 Chromebook.

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