Pixel 6 gets a surprise mid-November update


A single-digit change in the build number with no explanation


Google’s Pixel 6 had a mild update snafu earlier this month, with the Verizon models picking up the November update later than expected after Google accidentally rolled it out to more phones than it should have. On the heels of that, Google has just released a brand new pair of updates for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro — your guess is as good as ours as to why.

The change in build number for this new release is tiny, with Google jumping from SD1A.210817.036 to SD1A.210817.037 (emphasis ours, ignoring a trailing distinction on the Verizon-specific version, which changed from A8 to A1). No changelog for this update was provided, and we haven’t seen it rolling out to any devices anecdotally just yet. There is a very small (roughly 160kb) difference in the size of the images between the two updates for the Pixel 6.

Comparing build numbers between the two releases.

Comparing build numbers between the releases for the Pixel 6 — the two new ones are at the bottom.

Given the small build number change and similar image size, it’s not likely much has changed in this latest version. The irregular timing (mid-month on a Tuesday vs. first monday of the month as usual) probably means it was released to fix a critical issue or vulnerability, but we can’t be sure. Google promised to fix an issue with screen flickering in December, and a bug with animation scale settings can break the always-on display, among other bugs, including an issue with SIM cards. However, Google hasn’t published any documentation related to this release anywhere we can see.

We’ve reached out to Google to see what may have changed in this latest update, but the company did not immediately respond to our query. If and when an explanation is forthcoming, we’ll be sure to let you know.

If you’d like to pull down this latest release before the OTA rolls out normally to see if it’s fixed any issues for you, you can sideload it here with Google’s handy in-browser Android Flash Tool, or install the full factory images to a bootloader-unlocked device.

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Ryne Hager (2837 Articles Published)

Ostensibly a senior editor, in reality just some verbose dude who digs on tech, loves Android, and hates anticompetitive practices. His only regret is that he didn’t buy a Nokia N9 in 2012. Email tips or corrections to ryne at androidpolice dot com.

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