If your Pixel 6’s vibration seems a bit weaker than usual, you’re not alone. Dozens of customers say that the March update changed how their Pixel vibrates when receiving calls, texts, or notifications. Thankfully, you can customize the Pixel 6’s vibration, though doing so will cost you a few dollars.
Update, 3/25/22: Previously, Google told us that the Pixel 6’s reduced vibration is intentional, but that the company would address customer complaints in a future update. But Google now says that its statement is “inaccurate.” You can read the statement below.
“We are aware of the user feedback. This was an update meant to take advantage of the more advanced Pixel 6 haptics capabilities, but we understand it is not an optimal experience for all users. We are continuously trying to provide a better long term solution in the future and will plan to address that feedback in an upcoming update.”
To clarify, it seems like Google intentionally “smoothed out” the Pixel 6’s vibration engine. This change probably isn’t a bug—very few customers are complaining on the Google Support forum, and many Reddit users actually enjoy the weaker vibration.
Note that this change only affects vibrations for calls and notifications. If it were a bug, it would probably impact all of the device’s haptics, including vibration when typing. Additionally, beta testers reported the “problem” to Google last month and were ignored, which seems to suggest that the change is intentional.
If you’d prefer a stronger vibration, you should install BuzzKill. It’s a well-known app that lets you customize notification settings on Android, and yes, you can use it to increase your Pixel 6’s vibration intensity. (For whatever reason, Android’s built-in vibration settings don’t help.)
But BuzzKill isn’t free. You have to pay $2.49 to use the app, and hey, maybe that’s $2.49 more than you’re willing to spend. If you’re trying to avoid that fee, I suggest waiting for Google to confirm whether the “smoother” vibration is a bug or an intentional change.