News: New Nexus 6 Update Downgrades Your Android Version Back to 7.0

New Nexus 6 Update Downgrades Your Android Version Back to 7.0

Google has done it again—they've pushed another broken OTA update for the Nexus 6. Except this time, it almost completely softbricks your Nexus 6 instead of just screwing up Android Pay and SafetyNet. Apps are force-stopping left and right, making the phone practically unusable.

You might be wondering how a giant company like Google could do this to a phone that's barely over two years old. The reason why the Nexus 6, a decent phone in all aspects, is now causing headaches and migraines, is apparently because Google's trying to fix what they broke with the previous OTA.

UPDATE: A Google community manager replied to the Reddit thread stating that the 7.0 OTA was not a mistake, and that the Nexus 6 had intentionally been downgraded. The CM went on to say that if users wanted to guarantee future OTA support, they should take the 7.0 OTA. A final tidbit of advice from the CM was to wipe your Nexus 6 if you faced any issues with your device after taking the 7.0 OTA.

What Went Wrong?

Just a brief backstory, Google pushed out an Android 7.1.1 update to the Nexus 6 last week, but SafetyNet was failing, which caused Android Pay to break. So Google took down the bad OTA and pushed out a new one as of last night. This OTA, believe it or not, is an Android 7.0 "update."

Yes, you read that correctly. Google somehow managed to downgrade the Nexus 6 with the newest OTA. In theory, this shouldn't even be possible, as Android's built-in recovery is supposed to check each update to ensure that it's a newer Android version than the one currently running on your phone. But it's apparently possible after all, as Redditor Time_Lord_John has shared a screenshot of his device receiving the broken OTA.

The Android 7.0 update appearing on a phone running Android 7.1.1. Image by Time_John_Lord/Imgur

Not only does the OTA say Android 7.0, but it actually does "update" your phone. The reason why this is such a massive blunder is because Android should never be downgraded without wiping all of the data, since each update brings something new under the already-existing system applications that use the same package names. This isn't even mentioning the fact that the OTA downgrades your security patch level from January 2017 to August 2016, exposing the device to older security exploits again.

How Widespread Is the Problem?

For starters, we know that all devices on US carriers are getting the bad update. There's only one way to avoid this horrible OTA, and that's by sideloading the previously-broken March 2017 update with Fastboot.

If you did take the broken 7.0 OTA, the only way to regain use of your device is to wipe your data and sideload an entire system image. This isn't a viable fix for all users, since most of them will lose sensitive data by having to do so. So if you do see this update pop up on your Nexus 6, be sure to avoid it—it will ruin your phone.

We'll keep you updated with all any and all news regarding this matter, so be sure to check back and find out when Google finally fixes this month's OTA issue. Seeing how carelessly Google is treating the Nexus 6, it makes one wonder what will happen to the Pixel in two years. Hopefully you avoided this nasty OTA and managed to keep your phone alive.

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Cover photo by Crosa/Flickr

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