The Google Pixel 4 is having trouble with FreeStyle Libre sensors

Technology has changed the face of healthcare as many doctors and insurance companies are utilizing smartphones and other gadgets for medical monitoring and tests. One of the relatively recent advances has been Abbott Diabetes Care’s FreeStyle Libre sensors, which use a smartphone’s near-field communication chip to read data. Unfortunately, it sounds like the sensors aren’t working with the Google Pixel 4.

freestyle libre sensors google pixel 4

Image source: Google/Screenshot

What is FreeStyle Libre?

PiunikaWeb spotted a growing number of complaints about the FreeStyle Libre sensors and the Google Pixel 4. The FreeStyle Libre system offers continuous monitoring of glucose levels in the user’s blood. It’s designed to help diabetes patients manage their condition. The system includes a disposable sensor, a reader and a patch delivery unit so patients can check their blood sugar levels any time without having to prick their fingers.

FreeStyle Libre works with a smartphone’s NFC chip. Users download the app, which then turns their phone into a blood sugar reader. This keeps diabetes patients from having to carry a separate reader with them. The app reads and processes data collected from the FreeStyle Libre sensors. However, it seems the sensors are not working with the Google Pixel 4.

Problems with the FreeStyle Libre sensors on Google Pixel 4

Google’s forums contain a lengthy thread about issues with the FreeStyle Libre sensors and the Google Pixel 4. The original poster said no matter how they position the phone, they are unable to scan the sensor reliably. He said he’s seeing only about a one in 20 success rate. However, since the NFC works perfectly with Google Pay, it seems that the issue is with how the phone is supposed to work with the sensors. He also said that he was using FreeStyle Libre with his Pixel 2 XL without problems, but he started having issues after switching to the Pixel 4 XL.

Many other users responded to the original post to say they are also having issues with the FreeStyle Libre sensors on their Google Pixel 4. One person said they’re able to read the sensors using a OnePlus 7 Pro running Android 10 and a Galaxy Note 10 Plus running Android Pie without any problems. The person also said they experienced the same issue with the Pixel 2 when it launched two years ago, so the good news is that this could be only a temporary problem.

The original poster said in a later addition to the thread that the FreeStyle Libre sensors seem to work a little better when the Google Pixel 4 is in airplane mode. However, while the phone isn’t reliable when scanning the sensor, there seems to be a greater chance of actually getting a result from the scans that work.

One other contributor to the thread shared a screenshot of an error message they receive. They said they get only about 10 of 100 triggers when scanning the sensor, and only one of the 10 provides a reading. The error they receive on the other nine states that the device wasn’t able to scan the sensor and tells them to scan the sensor again.

The listing for the FreeStyle Libre app on the Google Play Store is also receiving a growing number of complaints about it not working with the Google Pixel 4. Users are posting reviews in the Play Store, and Abbott Diabetes Care is responding and asking users to call the customer care team at 1-855-632-8658.

Unfortunately, there seem to be no workarounds for this issue, so users will have to wait until Google or Abbott issues a software fix.



About the Author

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Michelle has been with ValueWalk since 2012 and is now our editor-in-chief. Email her at Mjones@valuewalk.com.