My 16 GB Nexus 7 arrived a few days ago. It's my first mobile device, believe it or not, and I've already found it to be incredibly useful. It has performed flawlessly, but there is one small issue that's an annoyance, nothing more. The screen flickers.

It happens in dimmer light, and only for a second or two at a time. I suspect, though I can't prove this, that it occurs during WiFi transmissions. Has anyone else encountered this? Is there a fix for this, even if it has to be some sort of warranty thing?

  • flickers a color? flickers on and off? lighter or darker? can you elaborate any one what you mean by flickers?
    – FoamyGuy
    Jul 21 '12 at 18:09
  • Lighter and darker: brightness. It's a similar effect to a lightbulb with a loose filament.
    – Matt
    Jul 21 '12 at 18:29
  • Does the flickering occur regardless of what you're doing? I notice something like this but only when using Google Play.
    – gary
    Jul 28 '12 at 17:33
  • I've seen it across several apps including Chrome, Google Play, Currents, Google+, etc. I do think it happens when there's WiFi transmissions. It's pretty subtle. (Certainly not a deal-breaker.)
    – Matt
    Jul 28 '12 at 17:39

There just was a Blog on Land of Droid covering this issue. The author summed up a few conditions under which this "flicker" occurs:

  • back-light is dimmed under 30%
  • a weak WiFi signal
  • the device is accessing the net

According to that report, these 3 things are "AND-connected" (i.e. the flicker occurs when all of the 3 conditions are met). He's also hoping for a fix to come soon.

You might as well want to read the comments there, some seem to indicate possible solutions (including flashing a new stock ROM), but so far none of them are yet confirmed.

  • +1 Thanks for contributing this (even after I already accepted an answer, at least temporarily). Since the issue appears to be ongoing, perhaps we can keep this question updated until a more permanent solution is found.
    – Matt
    Jul 26 '12 at 14:50
  • Exactly my intention -- though I don't even have a Nexus device ;) The mentioned post just caught my eye on the RSS feed this morning, and I immediately remembered the question here...
    – Izzy
    Jul 26 '12 at 14:59

Sounds like this is one of two things to me.

Either a faulty screen / hardware. OR depending on the severity of this flicker it may be that the device has a light sensor that is trying to change the screen brightness based on the ambient light surrounding the device.

You could rule out the second option by going to your screen brightness in the settings and make sure that it is set to a static amount and that "Automatic brightness" is turned off. If after you do this you still notice the flickers I would lean more towards faulty hardware.

I have seen on some devices (don't have Nexus 7 so never on that) that the automatic brightness feature will sometimes cause the brightness of the screen to flicker somewhat wildly from all the way low to all the way high within a few seconds.

  • I hope it's just the auto-brightness. I'll turn it off for a while, see if it still flickers, and report back.
    – Matt
    Jul 22 '12 at 4:16
  • Unfortunately, it appears to flicker even with auto-brightness disabled (esp. in low light; I have yet to try it with full brightness).
    – Matt
    Jul 23 '12 at 12:48
  • So, I notice the flickering extraordinarily less when the brightness is at least 50% with auto-brightness off. Do you think this is a software or hardware issue? (ie. Should I wait for an update or see about replacement?)
    – Matt
    Jul 24 '12 at 0:57
  • I wouldn't know unfortunately =/. If you've searched around online and not seen anyone else reporting similar problems though I'd lean towards trying for a replacement.
    – FoamyGuy
    Jul 24 '12 at 3:30
  • It looks like it's a somewhat common issue, and it's really not even a big deal (I'm just picky about new toys) -- I still love the device. I'm going to accept this answer since turning off auto-brightness does seem to help considerably, esp. if I turn the brightness level up above 50%.
    – Matt
    Jul 24 '12 at 14:02

Turning off auto brightness worked for me.


As a recent (Christmas time) buyer with a new device, I can acknowledge this issue with Android 4.2. As per the bug report and the user tests here (under brightness heading), it looks to be a hardware problem rather than software.

  1. New devices even after warranty and replacement have shown the same issue (4 out of 4 replacements)
  2. Disabling wifi optimization/keeping brightness above 30% is seen to fix it only temporarily which is disappointing.
  3. As per report update, 4.2 made it worse which could also mean that a software patch can fix this for good in future. But on the other side, there are users who never faced this issue with a fresh buy and 4.2 update.
  4. New nexus 7 users may be better off with 4.1 until there is a fix.

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