Sure, you probably have Android 12 on your Pixel phone by now, but what if you put it on there a second time?
That’s basically what happened to a bunch of Pixel users yesterday. They had the latest Android 12 build on their device, and the phone’s automatic update system prompted them to download nearly the same build through a whopping 1.8GB download. After questions on Reddit popped up, the official Google account responded to users, saying, “We’re sorry for the alert you received. Not to worry, we’ve resolved this issue and you can disregard it.”
We have no way of knowing which builds users were updated to, but the examples we’ve seen online all involve a Verizon build of the Pixel software going out to non-Verizon users. Devices running Android 12 with the November security update were updated to the Verizon version of that update. As far as we can tell, the differences between the normal build and the Verizon build are about what you would expect: the Verizon version contains extra code that helps the phone work on Verizon’s network. The affected devices seem to include many older Pixel devices but not the brand-new Pixel 6.
It’s not clear why the update was so big. Under normal circumstances, pushing a small amount of Verizon code to users should result in a small update. Google uses a delta update system, which should only ship changed code, but this looks like almost an entirely new copy of the operating system. A 1.8GB download is absolutely massive as far as Android updates go. Something seriously weird happened, and Google isn’t talking about it.
We haven’t heard of any side effects from non-Verizon users who accepted the update and suddenly switched to a Verizon build. There have been no reports of unreliable cellular access, which presumably could have been an issue.
Google has pulled the update, so if you were getting the prompt, it should be gone now. If you did accept the update… everything should still be fine? Whoops!