Many Pixel owners have been left with a bad taste in their mouths after it took Google over a month to fix a serious bug, Ars Technica has reported. It first appeared with the launch of Android 14 back on October 8th, locking some users with multiple accounts out of their device’s local storage. It affects multiple devices ranging from the Pixel 4 to the Pixel 8, and for many users, it was akin to being locked out of their phone by ransomware.
Some folks were unable to unlock their devices, while others were able to boot up but had no access to lock storage. However, the bug rendered some phones completely unusable, as they would continuously bootloop and never reach the home screen. Reports of the issue appeared shortly after Android 14 launched, but Google kept rolling out the buggy release and only acknowledged the flaw some 20 days after it appeared.
The November update patch is now rolling out, but the initial November 2 release notes weren’t very positive. Google said users locked out of their storage may only get some data back, and those experiencing a bootloop may lose everything. Today’s update, however, states that users who were unable to access media storage should get all their data back once they install the November patch.
Those stuck in a reboot may not be as lucky, though. Those folks will be able to at least get up and running again after submitting a form. However Google said that “data recovery solutions are still being investigated for devices that are repeatedly rebooting,” adding that “we’ll share additional updates soon.”
The sordid episode shows how Google failed to properly implement its own much-touted failsafe systems, as Ars Technica noted. It kept rolling out Android 14 with the flaw despite multiple reports, and the vaunted dual partition system didn’t work because it didn’t accurately detect a boot failure. Finally, it took Google ages to elevate the issue to a higher priority, leaving many users stuck with bricked phones for weeks. “Little did I realize that ‘seven years of updates’ was not a feature, but a threat,” said one disgusted user on Google’s issue tracker.