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Part of Google's third generation of Pixel phones, the 3a is a budget-minded option with the same camera as Google's flagships. Available in Clearly White, Just Black, or Purple-ish. Released May 2019.

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Pixel 3a not booting after fall. Buttons are unresponsive.

I have a Pixel 3a that fell, now the device is not responding; charging, button reset, or battery disconnect.

I took the phone apart and checked the motherboard and battery with a multimeter. It seems to be working. I was thinking of buying a parts phone and just removing the motherboard and putting it into a different device to just retrieve data. Will that work?

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Boy, that's a real crapshoot as to whether it will work or not. I'm not sure exactly what checks you did with a multimeter on the motherboard, but it's entirely possible for the power input section to be fine but another part, say the CPU, to be non-functional.

No response on connecting it to a computer, I take it? That right there is a fairly good test, since it requires minimal functionality to be recognized by the computer, so if you're not even getting that, it's not a good sign.

A parts phone would be valuable in diagnosing the issue with your phone if you don't mind spending the money. At the very least you could swap motherboards and see which one comes alive when you do that. But if you really need the data, you might have to start considering professional repair or data recovery services.

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I appreciate the response. I went back to check the C port with the multimeter on the motherboard. It's definitely receiving juice, the battery is also in great shape.

There is no response when connecting it to a computer. It's not even vibrating when you push the power button down for 30 seconds.

What I don't get, is how does the motherboard give out from a fall? It looks like I might have to send this out to a professional microsolder. What does data retrieval go for nowadays? Any recommendations?


@troubleshot All of these are fabulous questions.

Have you ever seen that mythbusteres episode where Jamie slaps Adam in the face (for science) and they film it in high speed? His whole face is affected not just the bit where Jamie's hand made contact.

That's the same sort of thing your phone does when it hits a surface from a drop only mush less drastic visually.

There is a lot of force involved. Parts flex. Thousands of tiny solder connections, chips and other miniscule components experience the vibrations from the drop.

Transplanting your board into a new housing is definitely a good idea and it would be a good diagnostic step.

Microsoldering repair is difficult to price because it depends a lot on where you are located, the specific shop and the device. Pixels, in my experience, are not widely repaired on the microsoldering community but for data recovery it can get pricey regardless (at least a few hundred dollars).


That mythbusters video in slow motion is amazing, it makes sense now lol, I do think I'm going to have to send this phone out to have it checked at a microchip level. I do believe something may have been shaken out of place after the fall.

After testing the charging port, battery, and realizing it's not even vibrating to signal a power on. I narrowed it down to the motherboard. Even if I were to transplant the board into a new housing, I have little faith it will work.

Thank you all for the explanation and input.


@troubleshot because the solder joints are microscopic and not very strong at all. A good impact can crack or even break solder joints which is what could of happened to yours.


I just took a look at the IC chips on the motherboard. The Micron chip on the board contains the ram and flash memory.

I just purchased a transplant phone, would I be able to just solder that chip into the transplant motherboard? Or is this like the iphones where the data is encrypted with the CPU/security chips?


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