Butt-dials can range from slightly embarrassing experience to downright mortifying, but they are, at least, blessedly rare. Unless you have multiple contacts telling you that you have recently called them unexpectedly — that’s no mere butt-dial. If this situation is happening to you, and you happen to be rocking a Pixel 6 or a Pixel 6 Pro, you’re not alone, but there is a simple way to stop these unprompted outgoing calls.
On both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, users are noticing their phones placing random calls to numbers in their contacts lists. What makes the issue even stranger is these calls are often placed when the phone is inactive. On smartphones, butt-dials usually occur when the device is unlocked, so Pixel users are understandably confused and concerned that it’s happening when they…aren’t.
As it turns out, Google Assistant is likely the culprit behind these mysterious calls. Afflicted users can take a peek at their “Google My Activity” history to see that many of these calls were made by the Assistant, even though these users never actually asked for the calls to be placed. Pixel 6 owners don’t recall ever saying “Hey Google” in these situations, let alone asking the assistant to call someone else; as such, it appears the issue is a software bug.
9to5Google was able to replicate the issue on one of their devices. While some Pixel 6 devices would not place unwanted calls (a good sign that the issue doesn’t affect all Pixel 6s), they could consistently trigger the bug on one Pixel 6 Pro.
How to fix this issue
If you’re looking for a quick-and-dirty solution to this phantom calling bug, here it is: reboot your phone. According to 9to5Google, a restart appears to be a good, temporary way to stop Google Assistant on your Pixel 6 or 6 Pro from calling your contacts list at random. There’s no telling when the Assistant will start back up again, but at least you know you’re safe for some time after the phone turns back on.
You aren’t just limited to a temporary fix, however; for a more permanent solution, consider disabling Google Assistant when your Pixel is locked. It’s a trade-off, since you’ll lose some Google Assistant functionality while your phone is inactive, but doing so will save your friends and acquaintances from receiving continued calls without your knowledge.
To disable Google Assistant while your phone is locked, open the Google app, choose your profile, then tap “Settings.” Now, choose “Google Assistant,” then “Lock screen,” then disable “Assistant responses on lock screen.”
Luckily, you won’t be stuck with this option forever: Google is reportedly aware of the issue and actively working on a fix. Once the company patches the issue, it should arrive on your device via a software update. We’ll keep an eye on the situation, and update this article with any new information. However, until then, keep an eye on your settings app for any new software updates that might be issued.