Thankfully, the November 2023 security patch contains a fix for this bug
Some Pixel 6 users got a rude shock after updating their phone to Android 14, as they were locked out of their phone's internal storage. The issue primarily affected Pixel users who had multiple user or guest profiles set up. Following an increasing number of reports, Google acknowledged the bug and confirmed it was working on a fix. Late last week, the company made the patch available for affected users through a test, noting a wider release could commence in the next two weeks. That fix is now rolling out as a part of the November 2023 security patch, with more insight also being available on what exactly went wrong.
Manage apps on all your connected devices from one smartphone
Android’s versatility extends far beyond smartphones, powering the best Google TVs, vehicles, and wrist-worn wearables. The operating system is open to developers, and allows you to build and install apps from any source. However, Google’s Play Store offers a few advantages, including support for remote app installation on any of your connected devices. Now, the facility could extend to remote app removal as well.
Fixes for bugs and vulnerabilities are heading to a Google Pixel near you
Android 14 took a little longer to make its debut than we were expecting, but after going public alongside the release of the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, development seems to be chugging along. Google's beta program has already started testing the December Pixel Feature Drop, and right on time, the company has begun to roll out its first official update to Android 14 for eligible Pixel phones.
Turns out you don’t have to enable developer options when an app uses custom animations
Google added new back animations to Android 14 that allow you to see the next step ahead of finishing the gesture. To use this, you need to activate predictive back gestures in your system setting's developer options. However, the latest update of Google Calendar makes clear that apps don't even need developer options to be enabled to display Predictive Back Gestures.
If your phone is stuck in a boot loop, your only option is a factory reset
An inadvertent bug in Android 14 has locked many Pixel users out of their phone's internal storage. The issue primarily affects Pixel devices with multiple users or guest profiles. Following reports and complaints from numerous Pixel 6 owners since Android 14's release, Google acknowledged the bug. In its response, the company noted that a fix was in development and rolled out a Google Play System update to ensure more users were not affected by the issue. Google has now confirmed that it will roll out a fix for affected Pixel users locked out of their phone's storage in the next two weeks.
We're getting close to a stable release
Samsung is so close to releasing the stable version of One UI 6 to all of its flagship smartphones after finally dropping a stable version of Android 14 for the Galaxy S23. It’s a big step towards moving on from One UI 5, which is currently on its last legs, for not just the latest foldable offering from Samsung but for the rest of its recently-released models. Today, Samsung released the second beta of One UI 6 for the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Squashing more bugs than Starship Troopers
Android 14 wasn't even officially available when Google launched the beta program for its next major release, the December Pixel Feature Drop, otherwise known as Android 14 Quarterly Platform Release 1. This is the version that's expected to bring a round of features that were advertised with the Pixel 8 series, but not available at the time of launch — things like Video Magic Eraser and an improved Smart Reply. And it should also bring a nice selection of new functionality to older Pixels, so you'll be happy to know that development is churning along nicely.
Google Maps, Assistant, and more from the Play Store will be integrated
Through Android Automotive, you can leverage a wide array of apps in your car while on the go. It’s this type of integration that makes it convenient to do everything from queuing music to getting directions home. Many automotive manufacturers have already begun to integrate the software into their infotainment systems, and now, Porsche is joining the group.
2020's Android 11 comes second with a 21.6% share
Android's distribution numbers are depressing to look at. They lay bare the fragmentation problem of the platform despite Google's best efforts. No wonder Google no longer actively publishes Android's distribution numbers, and has made it harder to see. The stats were last updated for the period ending May 2023 and revealed that Android 11 remained the most popular distribution of the OS, running on 23.1% of devices. Thankfully, the latest numbers are less depressing and paint a better picture.
Android’s new Credential Manager is rolling out — here’s what that means
Passkeys are the latest step forward when it comes to protecting your precious data. They’re meant to replace passwords and two-factor authentication, all in one. However, with so many different authentication options available these days, it gets harder to remember which method you’re using to sign in to which service. Google is looking to combat this problem on Android with its new Credential Manager, an API developers can use to automatically guide you to the right login method in their apps.
You will have to wait for the fix to be available
Android 14's rollout has been relatively smooth for Google, with many Pixel 6 and 7 owners reporting longer battery life and better thermal performance after the update. But it was not exactly perfect, as Android 14 locked some Pixel owners out of their phone's storage. The issue primarily seemed to affect users with multiple user or guest profiles. Google has acknowledged the problem and confirmed a temporary fix is rolling out.
Nope, no stable version yet
Samsung's Android 14 update is almost ready to make its public debut, but it appears the smartphone giant has a few more kinks left to iron out. Today, the company has started rolling out the ninth iteration of its One UI 6 beta for the Galaxy S23 series. Initially making its appearance in the US, this update is set to grace other markets shortly.
You can view device controls in a centralized dashboard as well
Many of us have smart home devices that make life simpler through automation. That being said, these devices can add up over time, and it can become a hassle to manage them all. Even products by the same manufacturer can be challenging to synchronize, schedule, and automate, depending on the tasks. Home Assistant, an open source home automation platform, is making it easier for some homeowners by consolidating multiple devices. Now, it’s supporting Android's built-in smart home device controls, too.
The flaw was blamed on the Emergency SOS feature
If you’ve ever experienced an unexpected emergency in the digital age, you likely know the benefits of having a phone on you in these moments. An immediate connection to the outside world can be the difference between instant emergency care and an increasingly severe situation. However, Google may have made it too easy to send out a call for emergency services. After a reported spike in these calls, the situation has since been remedied.
Reducing background activity by 50% without sacrificing functionality
We've talked about it before, but Android 14 really seems to make a difference when it comes to performance. With the advent of Feature Drops, major OS version bumps aren't as packed to the brim with user-facing changes as they once were. But Android 14 has several major improvements that users will surely notice even if they're not visual upgrades or new functionality: Google has changed the way the system handles RAM and processor workloads, and the end result should be significant performance gains.
Things are looking pretty familiar to start
Xiaomi phones are really impressive. Besides boasting some of the best camera specs of any smartphone line on the market, the sheer quality of the company's internals as well as its ability to keep up with modern trends like foldable phones pushes it towards the front of the pack. It’s unfortunate for some of our readers that these products aren’t usually sold in Western markets, because with the right branding, they could really catch on.
Having to worry less about what's on your phone is a win in our book
Android is about as open as operating systems get these days. Compared to iOS, which allows very little wiggle room for non-Apple authorized customization, Android users can do almost anything to their phone — for better or worse — with a little bit of tinkering. One of the ways people can utilize the openness of their smartphone is by sideloading apps outside the Google Play Store, which can obviously be a bit dangerous regardless of whether you’re as careful as they come with technology or not. Malware can come in all shapes and sizes, so Google has taken the steps to finally roll out an enhanced version of Google Play Protect, which we mentioned was being worked on last month.
A version for the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro is 'coming soon'
The Pixel 8 and 8 Pro have several advertised features that are yet to launch, such as Zoom Enhance, Video Boost, and the ability to use the temperature sensor to check a human's temperature. We're expecting most of these to come as part of the December Pixel Feature Drop due out in about a month and a half. Testing for this new version is already underway, as Google has opened up the Android 14 Quarterly Platform Release 1 (QPR1) beta program. Today, the next major update for Pixel phones just got one step closer to release.
Finally plugging a massive corporate data loophole
Sharing files from Android devices was a rather janky affair, sometimes involving cloud storage or third-party apps, until Nearby Share burst onto the scene and simplified the process. It came even closer to Apple’s AirDrop in terms of function with support for sharing files, folders, and text to Windows computers introduced earlier this year. However, convenient data sharing is the bane of corporate data security, and with billions of people using Android for work, the concerns are amplified greatly. Google is finally addressing this concern with an update disabling Nearby Share by default on Android devices when you enable a work profile.
The company could make Chromebooks updateable beyond their official end-of-life date
Google’s Chromebooks have carved out more than a niche for themselves, having long become a viable alternative to Windows laptops and MacBooks for many. The one caveat that’s attached to Chromebooks is their limited software support, though. While Google vows to update the latest and greatest Chromebooks for up to 10 years from the moment sales start, this still leaves far too many current devices becoming obsolete before the hardware dies. Google might fix this by bringing ChromeOS Flex to those machines.