In order to address issues with the battery and the biometrics on these Pixel phones, Google has made four specific improvements. After updating to Android 13, there have been reports of batteries rapidly draining(opens in new tab). “Some launcher background activities” are to blame, however the patch notes don’t specify what these background activities are. Additionally, a flaw that blocked wireless charging is fixed with the update. In August, users on the Google Pixel subreddit discovered that their phone’s wireless charging feature had abruptly stopped functioning. A few people discovered a workaround that involved pairing the Pixel Stand with the phone and performing a hard reset, but it wasn’t a reliable solution.
The first upgrade to Android 13 since its August launch includes a security patch for the Pixel and several updates for Android devices. The Pixel 4 series, including the 4, 4 XL, 4a, and 4a 5G models, the Pixel 5 series, including the 5, 5a, and 5G models, and the Pixel 6 series, including the 6 and 6 Pro models, will all be impacted by the September patch. The roll out will “continue over the following week in phases depending on provider and device,” according to Google(opens in new tab). Later in the month, the update will also be made available for Pixel 6a devices. Once the patch is released, device owners will receive a notification telling them to download it.
As for the other two changes, the patch fixes a Bluetooth connectivity problem that prevented certain devices from connecting to Pixel phones and Google is making some adjustments to the user interface. Apparently, notifications would appear way shorter than it should on the lock screen. Apart from the four Pixel specific updates, there are 51 additional fixes that will come out to all Android devices that address security vulnerabilities. This update will be released periodically throughout the rest of the month.
For biometrics, Google improved “fingerprint recognition and response in certain conditions.” Some Pixel owners discovered(opens in new tab) a bug that would unlock the phone using a fingerprint not registered with the scanner. And in some instances, the scanner would accept the fingerprint of a completely different person. Needless to say, this was a major security flaw.
For the second package, referred to as the September 5th security patch, it fixes some problems with certain third-party components like those from MediaTek and Qualcomm. The patch notes don’t go into deep detail what exactly is in the September 5th package. Instead it tells readers to look at the respective security bulletin webpages for these third-party components if they want details.
Looking at the September Security Bulletin(opens in new tab) on the Android Open Source Project website, the fixes are split across two packages and concern bugs that range from moderate severity to critical. One of the more important fixes will arrive in the first package, referred to as the September 1st security patch. According to the notes, there is a problem with the Android framework that could allow a bad actor to gain elevated access to a device’s resources without needing administrator permission.
Looking at the September bulletin for MediaTek(opens in new tab), the company’s patch appears to be focused on fixing improper validations that could give bad actors a similar elevated access on Android devices. For Qualcomm(opens in new tab), its update address the same vulnerabilities, while also fixing some memory corruption issues.
So in total, Pixel owners are potentially looking at 55 security fixes coming to their device. If you’re interested in getting the various updates, Google has a set of instructions on how to update your phone(opens in new tab). And in case you weren’t aware, Google recently confirmed that the upcoming Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro smartphones will be revealed on October 6 in the Made By Google event. Be sure to check out TechRadar’s Pixel 7 coverage to learn more.