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The Pixel 6 gets its first stable update since November

The Pixel 6 gets its first stable update since November

 January 17, 2022 at 2:45 pm   |     Author:   |     Technology  

The Pixel 6 Pro.
Enlarge / The Pixel 6 Pro.

Ron Amadeo

Google is getting back on the update horse for the Pixel 6. After numerous delays and a recalled update, the company finally got caught up on patches for its flagship smartphone this past weekend. Assuming everything goes well, this will be the first Pixel 6 update that has stuck since November.

Software updates are supposed to be a major selling point of the Pixel line, but Google hasn’t been doing so well delivering them. The phone shipped with the “November” Android security patch, and in the middle of November, Google patched the fingerprint reader. Early December should have brought the December security patch to the Pixel 6, but Google delayed that update to the middle of the month, saying that a mile-long list of bug fixes would be included with it. The December Pixel 6 update launched in the middle of the month, but Google didn’t push the update to most users. The company ended up pulling the update due to connectivity issues and some broken features. January rolled around with more security patches and a fix for Android’s emergency call issues, but the Pixel 6 didn’t get that patch on time, either, with Google saying that the update would be out in “late January.”

Well, the time has finally come. This past weekend, Google started releasing the January security patch out to Pixel 6 users. For most users, this will be the first patch since November. The update includes everything in the November and December Android security bulletins, plus these two sets of Pixel 6-specific bug fixes. The list goes on forever. The update is rolling out now, and I was able to pull it down on demand by hitting the “check for updates” button.

Since launch, the Pixel 6 update situation has been a disaster. The phone saw the release of a major new Android version, Android 12, and an all-new hardware lineage, with the Pixel 6’s “Google Tensor SoC’ representing a switch from Qualcomm hardware to a Samsung Exynos-based SoC and modem. It looks like the Pixel 6 was rushed out the door to hit the market before the holiday shopping season, and Google obviously bit off more than it could chew. Hopefully the Pixel 6’s update problems are behind it, because it’s one of the best Android phones available.

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