February 24, 2024

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Google Pixel phones are unusable after the January 2024 system update

Google Pixel phones are unusable after the January 2024 system update

Google Pixel smartphone owners have reported issues after installing the January 2024 Google Play system update, or being unable to access their device's internal storage, open the camera, take screenshots, or even open apps.

The case is being made mentioned By owners of multiple Pixel models, including the Google Pixel 5, 6, 6a, 7, 7a, 8 and 8 Pro, indicating that it is not limited to a specific hardware architecture.

The root cause is unknown but it's likely a software issue in the January 2024 Play System Update that Google has yet to identify or fix.

Most of the suggested solutions received from affected users do not address the issue, with some reports solving it by performing a factory reset, in which case, all data is lost.

However, these recommendations come from affected Google Pixel owners and not from Google themselves Simply admit it They are aware of the issue and are looking into it.

“I wonder why this isn't blown out of proportion and forced to fix Google. Spending a lot of money on a phone just to make it unusable with an update is very aggravating.” Posted by the affected owner In the Google Pixel Phone support forums.

Google Play system updates are separate from monthly security patches, and can be accessed via Settings > Security & privacy > System & updates.

Google introduced Play system updates in Android 10 as a way to deliver important security updates and improvements to system components and protect them in devices that are not running the latest patch level and those that have reached the end of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) support.

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They are offered directly by Google, bypassing OEM update channels, are effective at keeping older Android versions compatible with modern apps and Google services, and are relatively safe.

In the case of the Pixels, Google appears to have done a phased rollout of the January 2024 Play system updates, so not every Pixel owner has received the problematic update yet.

If you are still using an older update (the last update was on November 1, 2023), it is recommended to stick with it and postpone applying the January 2024 update until the situation becomes clearer.

BleepingComputer has contacted Google for comment on the reported issues and its plans to address them, but we did not receive a response before publication.

The same thing happened a few months ago

Although the nature of the current issue has not yet been confirmed, memory bugs introduced by the Play system update rendered Pixel devices completely unusable in October 2023.

Google eventually directed Media storage access and frequent reboot issues with an update released on November 7, 2023. However, by then, many users had already resorted to performing a factory reset, and lost their data as a result.

To have this type of issue occur again in such a short time frame is very worrying for Pixel device users, who are unable to use their phone's features.

This situation undermines confidence in Google's quality assurance processes and raises concerns about the accuracy of the tech giant's verification and testing protocols before deploying a system update.