Skip to main content

How to disable the annoying flashing dot on your Pixel 5

The death of notification LEDs is one that many of us lament but with the Pixel 5, there is another annoying flashing status bar light or “dot” that early adopters are already complaining about. Do not worry though, there is a simple fix to stop it from ruining your day.

If you didn’t already know, Google’s Pixel 5 has a proximity sensor under the display that is used to determine if the display is close to your ear during calls. Using this sensor, should you have your phone to your ear, the display will be powered off to save battery and ensure that phantom touches are eliminated.

Under your Pixel 5 phone’s screen, at the top centre, you can see a white dot. This white dot is your proximity sensor. When your proximity sensor is on, the dot shows through the display. The dot can blink or stay solid.

Google Pixel Phone Help pages

When restoring from a backup, some devices are now having issues whereby the proximity sensor — or the “flashing dot” — may be visible at the homescreen and in apps. The problem seems to be most prominent for people that have restored an old backup when using a cable to copy data from an older device to their new Pixel 5.

Previous Pixel devices didn’t have a proximity sensor with a flickering light, so the problem is not seen on older hardware. Now when using the Pixel 5, any apps that monitor or access the proximity sensor will cause this status bar flashing dot to appear — with varying degrees of brightness.

Unfortunately, it looks like Google hasn’t provided a way for developers to disable the light if applications do access the proximity sensor. Those believing they have a faulty unit, you need not worry. This is supposed to be there — for better or worse.

What’s more annoying is that the dot is actually slightly off-center, making it feel far more pronounced than it might be if centered. Luckily, we have a solution or a couple of solutions — a simple one and a slightly time-consuming one.

How to fix the annoying flashing dot on your Pixel 5

The easiest fix for most people is to head to your device Settings > Gestures > Flip to Shh. If the option is enabled, disable Flip to Shh and it should disable the flashing dot on your Pixel 5 display. This does mean though, that putting your device face down will not instantly enter “Do not disturb” mode.

Now, this might not be the best solution if you have other applications that are accessing the proximity sensor though. A notable culprit is Home Assistant, although there are undoubtedly others that might be causing an annoying flashing dot on your Pixel 5.

Certain applications will require the removal of in-app permissions or changing in-app settings to remove the annoying dot. You can “Force Stop” an app to help pinpoint problematic applications too.

Alternatively, if the problem still persists, restore your device. Then setup as a new device. Restoring from an old backup seems to be the cause of the issue for many — although Flip to Shh is the biggest culprit.

More on Pixel 5:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel



Avatar for Damien Wilde Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter @iamdamienwilde. Email

Damien Wilde's favorite gear