Samsung is pretty widely rolling out its Android 14 update over the past week, but there’s a slight chance you should wait to actually install it, as it seems Samsung has left out a method that prevents burn-in from the status bar.
Burn-in on smartphone displays was once a major problem, with a few years on the same smartphone often resulting in display elements showing up nearly constantly on the screen. A common trick to prevent this is to slightly shift UI elements so they never stay in the same place too long. It’s nearly invisible to the user, but goes a very long way in preventing burn-in.
In One UI 6 (Android 14), though, it seems Samsung might have left this out.
Users on Reddit noticed that the status bar elements (time, battery, etc) no longer seem to shift over time. This was spotted by comparing screenshots over time, with the status bar elements perfectly aligning. Back in One UI 5 (Android 13), comparing screenshots over time showed that the elements would move a fair bit, resulting in an almost blurred effect when stacking screenshots on top of each other as seen below.
Notably, the navigation bar buttons still move, so Samsung doesn’t seem to have given up on this method entirely.
As for what exactly is going on here, it’s really hard to say. It’s entirely possible that Samsung has just adjusted screenshots to where they compensate for status bar elements moving, or that the company is using a new method for preventing burn-in. It’s also noteworthy that the comparison is made on two different devices – a Galaxy S23 Ultra on One UI 6 and a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra on One UI 5.
In any case, it’s at least a little worrying, and we’ll be curious to see if things change with further updates.
One UI 5 (1st photo) vs One UI 6 (2nd photo)
Samsung posts a new Android 14 update schedule for over 50 Galaxy devices
Samsung’s Android 14 rollout is well underway this week, and the company has now posted an updated schedule for the release, which details over 50 devices set to be updated over the next couple of months.
In Germany, Samsung has posted (as spotted by SamMobile) a new schedule via the Samsung Members app that details over 50 different devices set to get Android 14. The updated schedule shows updates going through February 2024, with the bulk of the work being done in November and December of this year.
Of course, we’ve heard this story before. Earlier this month, a roadmap posted by Samsung in another European country also detailed the company’s plans before being scrubbed from the web. But there are a couple of reasons to believe this latest roadmap is much more accurate. For one, it has far more devices, and it also lacks specific dates, which are always tough to hit. Beyond that, it’s being distributed through the Samsung Members app instead of the company’s forums, and the Members app is where we’ve seen this sort of roadmap released in the past.
Presumably, Samsung will add this same list to other countries in the days to come. It’s not live in the US as of now.
That’s not to say this is a concrete, definitive schedule. It’s still lacking plenty of lower-cost models, and things are always subject to change. But, that said, this is the closest we’re likely to get.
Samsung Android 14 update schedule
Galaxy S23 – Completed
Galaxy S23+ – Completed
Galaxy S23 Ultra – Completed
Galaxy Z Fold 5 – November 2023
Galaxy Z Fold 4 – December 2023
Galaxy Z Fold 3 – December 2023
Galaxy Z Flip 5 – November 2023
Galaxy Z Flip 4 – December 2023
Galaxy Z Flip 3 – December 2023
Galaxy S22 – December 2023
Galaxy S22+ – December 2023
Galaxy S22 Ultra – December 2023
Galaxy S21 – December 2023
Galaxy S21+ – December 2023
Galaxy S21 Ultra – December 2023
Galaxy S21 FE – December 2023
Galaxy A72 – December 2023
Galaxy A54 5G – November 2023
Galaxy A53 5G – December 2023
Galaxy A52 – December 2023
Galaxy A52 5G – December 2023
Galaxy A52s 5G – December 2023
Galaxy A34 5G – November 2023
Galaxy A33 5G – December 2023
Galaxy A23 5G – January 2024
Galaxy A14 – December 2023
Galaxy A14 5G – December 2023
Galaxy A13 – February 2024
Galaxy A13 5G – February 2024
Galaxy A04s – February 2024
Galaxy M53 5G – December 2023
Galaxy M33 5G – December 2023
Galaxy M23 5G – February 2024
Galaxy M13 – February 2024
Galaxy XCover 6 Pro – December 2023
Galaxy Tab S9 – November 2023
Galaxy Tab S9 5G – November 2023
Galaxy Tab S9+ – November 2023
Galaxy Tab S9+ 5G – November 2023
Galaxy Tab S8 – December 2023
Galaxy Tab S8 5G – December 2023
Galaxy Tab S8+ – December 2023
Galaxy Tab S8+ 5G – December 2023
Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra – December 2023
Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra 5G – December 2023
Galaxy Tab S7 FE – January 2024
Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G – January 2024
Galaxy Tab S6 Lite – November 2023
Galaxy Tab Active 4 Pro – January 2024
Galaxy Tab Active 4 Pro 5G – January 2024
Galaxy Tab A8 – February 2024
Galaxy Tab A7 Lite – February 2024
Again, the list here certainly isn’t definitive or all-inclusive, but it offers a much clearer picture of Samsung’s Android 14 update schedule compared to what we’ve had thus far.
The Pixel 8 Pro brings an updated camera system, an impressive display, a new and improved chipset, the promise of 7 years of software support, and an unexpected design change – what is Google’s flagship phone for 2023 all about and should you get one?
The bread and butter of Pixel phones has been their camera, and the 8 Pro has no shortage of improvements in that field. Key among those is the ultrawide on the back, which gets a new, larger sensor, while the main camera and the telephoto get revamped optics. It may not sound like a lot, but evolutionary steps can mean a lot when they add up.
Super Actua display is Google’s branding for the new panel on the Pixel 8 Pro that should go as bright as 2400nits – while we didn’t quite get that, we measured some remarkable numbers elsewhere. The Tensor G3 chipset’s performance in the things Google deems important is more difficult to measure, but it’s undoubtedly an upgrade over the previous generation in the things we can quantify. Putting a number on software support is also somewhat difficult, but 7 does sound remarkable – years of updates, that is.
And while the Pixel design language has been mostly dialed in these last couple of years, it turned out that 2023 did still have something new to bring – or, rather, the well-forgotten old flat display. Time is a flat circle and all that.
Here’s a quick refresher on the key specs of the Pixel 8 Pro before we move forward with the unboxing.
Disclaimer. We can not guarantee that the information on this page is 100% correct.
Google Pixel 8 Pro unboxing
Not that there’s a whole lot of unboxing to be done, really. The Pixel 8 Pro shows up in a rather standard half-height white cardboard box with a likeness of the phone printed on the lid.
Inside, the list of accessories is pretty short – you get a USB-C cable and a USB-A-to-C adapter to facilitate data transfer from as many types of older phones as possible. Sure, there’s also a SIM eject pin and some paperwork, but nothing all that useful, like a charger.
Being the company’s ultimate smartphone, the Pixel 8 Pro only competes with similarly top-tier offerings from rival brands. And with the increased price this year (€1,100/$1,000), looking at it from the perspective of a value proposition isn’t quite as justified as before.
A Galaxy S23 Ultra costs about as much as the Google flagship and has a lot going for it – the S Pen is essentially a one-of-a-kind feature, battery life is better on the Galaxy, the Samsung cameras are about as close to the Pixel’s in versatility as it gets. The Pixel 8 Pro does counter with unique features of its own (in supported regions), the longest software support in the industry, and, if we have to admit it – a camera experience which, if you’re a fan of, you can’t really be entirely happy with a Galaxy.
Pixel 8 Pro (left) next to Galaxy S23 Ultra
Another similar comparison is against the iPhone 15 Pro – that non-tangible and very subjective ‘it’s about how it makes you feel’ debate. On the objective side of things, we have the iPhone’s generally superior video quality and notably longer battery life, which the Pixel counters with €350/$200 of savings, though the situation gets trickier if the 15 Pro non-Max joins the discussion. We’d be happy to leave this dilemma to ecosystem considerations and personal preference.
Pixel 8 Pro (right) next to iPhone 15 Pro Max
Less obvious alternatives can be found too. For example, the OnePlus 11 can save you several hundred Euros or dollars (depending on who you ask and when, but around €300/$300), and it’s only going to be a significant compromise if you’re after long reach with your camera. Or, of course, the Google software, but that’s a concession you might be forced to make anyway.
An unorthodox option could be a Xiaomi 13 Pro – we’d consider the Ultra, but that could prove difficult to track down. For about Pixel 8 Pro money, you could get a higher-specced 13 Pro with a 1-inch sensor main camera and a unique close-focusing telephoto – it’s not the Pixel’s camera system, but it’s a hugely capable camera system that may align more closely with your wants and needs.
Last, but not least, why not an Xperia 1 V? It’s about as Pixel-like as you’d get in this bunch when it comes to software, before you get to its myriad camera apps, and those can open a world of possibilities for your photo and video capture. And the Sony also has quite remarkable imaging hardware, even if not all of it translates into real-world image quality. It does also feature a microSD slot and a headphone jack, if you’re that kind of person.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra • Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max • OnePlus 11 • Xiaomi 13 Pro • Sony Xperia 1 V
With the Pixel 8 Pro Google has made strides to address a host of the complaints we had about the previous generation. No longer is the selfie camera a hit-and-miss affair, and the new ultrawide is also miles better than before. The improvement in charging speed didn’t go unnoticed either, but the Pixel had so much to catch up here that it couldn’t all happen in one generation.
Some of the old pain points remain, however, key among them is the battery life that’s a bit below average. The in-house chipset isn’t quite up to the standard of the day in absolute performance and doesn’t handle sustained load with much grace. The limited regional availability of the exclusive software features also rubs us the wrong way, though a valid counterargument is that if Google doesn’t sell it in your country, you can’t expect it to work to its fullest in your country.
Moving to the good stuff, it’s not just that the ultrawide camera is no longer a source of grievances, but the telephoto has been improved too. So, with both flanks of an already great main camera now covered, the normally excellent cameraphone is now somehow even better.
The brand-new display is now up there with the leading efforts in the industry – not that the old one was bad, it’s just that this Super Actua panel is more deserving of high praise, than a simple ‘yeah, that’s good enough’. Similarly, the already stellar software support gets promoted to best-in-business – we’ll see how quickly Google will forget about that 7-year promise, but right now, it sounds really nice.
When first introduced, the visor on the back of the Pixel 6 Pro was quite polarizing, but two years later, it’s evolved into a somewhat appealing trademark design element. This year Google has also fitted a thermometer in there – we’re not quite sure just how useful it is yet, but if no one else has one, it has to be a plus for the Pixel 8 Pro. What we find to be another welcome development is the flat display – even one of the biggest supporters of curves in this office has grown to appreciate screen protectors and truly trouble-free handling.
In the end, we think the Pixel 8 Pro is the evolutionary upgrade you’d expect it to be and then some. Google could have done less this generation and still charged the extra $100/€200, but instead, they actually did bring some meaningful improvements that move the series forward. We approve.
Always evolving, the visor still makes for a recognizable design; the flat screen helps with usability and screen protectors.
Spectacularly bright display, but also sharp, color-accurate, and with a competent adaptive refresh rate.
Android from the source, exclusive feature set, 7 years of software support.
Great camera quality overall.
There’s a thermometer on board?
Battery life is not competitive.
While improved, charging speed is still behind the curve.
Some software features are limited to certain countries.
The Tensor G3 chipset doesn’t compare well in raw performance or stability under load.
With the latest beta updates to Android 14, Google seems to have drastically sped up how fast Pixel devices can install an OTA update. Now, we’re getting a closer look at how that’s been accomplished.
First spotted with Android 14’s QPR2 Beta 1 update, the “Seamless Updates” feature has gotten a whole lot faster on Pixel phones.
Where Google’s updates used to take upwards of 20-40 minutes to install a simple OTA, the new process could be as quick as 10-15 minutes, perhaps even less. It’s extremely impressive and would make anyone wonder how Google pulled it off.
On Twitter/X, APKMirror founder, Artem Russakovskii, discusses a few main points of improvement that seem to be responsible for faster seamless updates. Russakovskii cites “Google’s tests” and Google’s David Anderson (a software engineer working at the company since 2018), but Google itself doesn’t seem to have publically shared this data.
That starts with compression operations, which Android is now parallelizing for a speed boost of 26% in Google’s own tests, Russakovskii explains. OTA updates on Android require the compression of thousands of “small blocks” of data, so putting those operations in parallel certainly speeds things up.
Related to that, Android is now batching operations for those same blocks. Where the OS previously would make 200 separate writes of 4KB files, it now makes a single write of one 800KB file. Google apparently found a 24% reduction in install time with this method.
Finally, the biggest improvement comes in newer Pixels switching from the GZ compression method to the LZ4 method. Google describes LZ4 as “extremely fast compression,” and it certainly shows here.
This apparently results in a 50% reduction in install time but only applies to specific devices. Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7a, Pixel Tablet, Pixel Fold, Pixel 8, and Pixel 8 Pro are the only devices eligible for this new compression method, as older Pixels will stick with the slower GZ method. It’s unclear why this is the case, but it could have something to do with the chip. Mishaal Rahman highlighted on Twitter/X that, when installing Android 14 QPR2 Beta 1, Pixel 8 Pro was taking advantage of Tensor G3’s mid-cores to speed things along, and Google specifically notes that LZ4’s faster compression is “scalable with multi-cores CPU.”.
Google is, according to Russakovskii, changing its guidance for other Android OEMs with this new method in mind, so there’s a chance we could see similar improvements outside of Pixel in the future.
3. Google switched the Pixels (I'm getting clarification on exactly which, but at least P7) to use LZ4 compression instead of GZ. This resulted in a 50% (!!) decrease in install time.
All of these combined take a ~25 min install time down to around 6 minutes.
With Android 14, Google removed the ability to long press an icon on the homescreen to quickly see notifications from that app.
Previously, you’d be able to see any available notifications from an app by holding down on the icon in the launcher or grid. Only one was shown in its entirety with a counter in the corner if there were more. Besides opening it from there, you could also swipe it away.
This was useful if your notification tray was overflowing with alerts, while it went hand-in-hand with the notification dot, which continues to feel like an iOS trait more than an Android one.
In Android 14, long pressing on an icon just shows app shortcuts, as well as App info, Pause app, and Widgets. In fact, now that notifications no longer appear there, Google made it so that those three shortcuts appear as a full list at the top instead of being merged together. The Android team presumably decided to remove notifications and then introduced the tall list.
Android 13 vs. 14
This change was brought up during the Android 14 Beta Program over the summer. In August 2023, Google said the removal of notifications was the new intended behavior and that it “won’t fix.” There’s no reason behind this change, but the company presumably has usage stats.
With the stable launch of Android 14 on Pixel last month, there have been over a hundred new comments requesting the capability be brought back.
Personally, I didn’t notice the removal and have never used that app menu for anything beyond shortcuts and quick access to the App info page. Most users are presumably all in on the notification tray. However, Google does not seem to really be doing anything major with the app long press menu in Android 14, so the restoration of notifications doesn’t seem like it would be overly disruptive.
Qualcomm is following last month’s big announcement with the Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 November 16,2023. The goal remains bringing more flagship features down the chip lineup.
The 4nm Snapdragon 7 Gen 3 has one Prime core (up to 2.63 GHz), three Performance cores (2.4 GHz), and four Efficiency (1.8 GHz). Compared to the 7 Gen 1, Qualcomm touts a near 15% improvement in performance (based on Geekbench 6.1 Single Thread) and an over 50% jump for the GPU (Aztec Ruins 1080p), while offering 20% power savings.
Meanwhile, the AI Engine offers 60% better AI performance per watt, with INT4 precession support new for the 7-series. Qualcomm is also highlighting improved AI-based face detection in regards to challenging scenes and extreme combinations, like glasses and low-light conditions.
Another new addition to the Snapdragon 7-series this generation is spatial audio with head tracking, as well as multi-device Snapdragon Seamless experiences.
On the camera front, Qualcomm explicitly references mentions the Google Ultra HDR image format on Android 14. There’s also continued support for capturing from three cameras simultaneously. An “AI Remosaic” feature lets you “eliminate grainy discoloration for higher-res results” that have more vivid colors
There’s the Snapdragon X63 5G modem for up to 5 Gbps downloads, as well as 5G Dual-SIM Dual-Active (DSDA) in 5G+5G or 5G+4G SIM card configurations. Qualcomm is also touting triple frequency location support for improved accuracy even with a lower-quality GNSS antenna.
Honor and Vivo plan to use the Snapdragon 7 Gen 3, while the first commercial device is set to be announced this month.
AI has taken over just about every new tech product, and Samsung is officially joining in with “Gauss,” a generative AI model that will run on-device starting with the Galaxy S24 series.
Announced today in Korea, Samsung “Gauss” is a generative AI model that, as reported by The Korea Times, will launch the Galaxy S24 series in the “first half of 2024. The AI model was developed by Samsung Research and includes image generation alongside typical text generation, with use cases including editing photos, composing emails, and summarizing documents.
Samsung explains that the AI would be used for “core functions.”
We plan to apply generative AI to core functions used by customers daily. This is aimed at providing more meaningful and innovative experiences based on individual usage patterns and preferences starting from 2024.
The name “Gauss,” Samsung explains in a blog post, is inspired by Carl Friedrich Gauss, the “legendary mathematician who established normal distribution theory, the backbone of machine learning and AI.”
Where Samsung’s generative AI differs from the likes of Google Bard is in that, at least in part, it can run on-device for tasks such as summarizing small portions of text, correcting grammar, and more. “Gauss” would also be applied outside of smartphones, with Samsung saying it “will be expanded to a variety of Samsung product applications to provide new user experience in the near future.”
Samsung is expected to put a heavy focus on AI as a selling point of the Galaxy S24 series, with its own Exynos 2400 chip as well as the “Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy” touting stronger AI capabilities. This also comes after Google’s debut of the Pixel 8 series, which ships with a large list of AI features and more on the way. Many of Google’s AI features run through the cloud, but the company is set to expand on-device offerings.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 series is expected to debut in mid-January 2024.
Samsung Galaxy S24 series reportedly launches on January 18
Over the past several years, Samsung’s launch events for Galaxy S flagships have moved around a lot. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the launch events were largely in March, but have creeped up earlier in the year every year. Following last year’s Galaxy S23 series debuting in mid-February 2023, the Galaxy S24 series will apparently move into the earliest release date yet.
Ice Universe reports on Weibo that Samsung is aiming for January 18 as the release date (or at least the rough timing for the launch event) for the Galaxy S24 series. That’s a month earlier than last year, and a couple of weeks earlier than the last January launch for Samsung, the Galaxy S21 series.
Why the early date? Really, that’s not clear, but it is worth remembering that Samsung moved up the launch of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 by a few weeks to land in July, where the company’s foldables have traditionally debuted in August. Notably, this early date still doesn’t put Samsung within the timing of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which in 2024 will run from January 9 through January 12, but that doesn’t really come as a surprise – CES hasn’t really ever been about phones.
Translated Weibo post
Also rumored to launch with the Galaxy S24 series is the “Galaxy Ring” health tracker, and the event also presents Samsung with a fresh opportunity to show off its anticipated XR headset.
With the November security patch, Google today is rolling out the first update to Android 14 since launch for the following Pixel devices: 4a 5G, 5, 5a, 6, 6 Pro, 6a, 7, 7 Pro, 7a, Tablet, Fold, 8, and 8 Pro.
There are 17 security issues resolved in the Android 14 November patch dated 2023-11-01 and 22 for 2023-11-05. Vulnerabilities range from high to critical. The dedicated bulletin for Google devices lists eight additional security fixes. As of today, there are just global builds.
Google lists seven fixes across Display & Graphics, NFC, System, User Interface, and Touch.
Of note, the 4a 5G and 5 are still seeing updates. While the Pixel 5 technically met its “guaranteed security updates” date in October, the 4a 5G doesn’t hit it until November. Google might as well update both. The Pixel 4a also sees another Android 13 ipdate.
Monthly Pixel security bulletin now includes changelog of ‘Functional updates’ & fixes
Several months ago, Google added a section in the main Android Security Bulletin that listed patches specific to Pixel and Nexus devices. For October, that list was broken out into a dedicated “Pixel / Nexus Security Bulletin.” With the November patch, Google has added a section detailing “Functional updates” like bug fixes for its devices.
After listing the various security issues that have been patched for Pixel/Nexus devices, Google displays a new section called “Functional updates” or “issues not related to the security of Pixel devices.”
These updates are included to address functionality issues not related to the security of Pixel devices. The table includes associated references; the affected category, such as Bluetooth or mobile data; and a summary of the issue.
Notably, it only references “Pixel devices,” though this changelog of sorts does not specifically identify any particular phone or tablet, leaving the original Pixel, Pixel 2, and Pixel C as possible recipients of these fixes.
Each entry includes a description of the “Improvements” and a category, like Audio, Bluetooth, Camera, Mobile data, and Stability. There are also reference numbers, though it does not correlate to any publicly accessible bug tracker.
In November, 12 items are listed, with the bulk related to Bluetooth, including resolving issues related to cars and general pairing.
This is a very good step towards transparency and provides a centralized repository to list what has been resolved. In the past, Google has relied on posts in the User Community. This comes as the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are due for a slate of fixes for display issues, high-pitched noises, and clicking sounds.
One UI 6 is finally available for some users in full, bringing a list of changes to the OS. One change is the addition of a new security tool called “Auto Blocker” which acts as additional security for Samsung Galaxy phones.
According to Samsung, Auto Blocker is intended to be somewhat of an expansion of additional and optional security tools at your disposal. Heading into the settings with bring you to a new page with a suite of options that are entirely a matter of preference, similar to how some would use malware protection on a computer.
One security option on this page is the familiar “Block app installation from unauthorized sources” feature. Normally, that option would be on a different page, but has since moved with One UI 6/ The option is now also off by default, which is a big change from previous versions of One UI where the first time users tried to sideload an app, it was blocked.
Now, users can sideload as much as they want with the knowledge that it’s not always entirely safe. The option will act as a prevention tool whenever apps are not being sideloaded intentionally.
Auto Blocker also brings app security checks to keep third-party programs in check, as well as a blocker for USB commands. Turning Samsung’s Auto Blocker on with the toggle at the top of that page looks to enable all three of these features at the same time. Below is an “Advanced” section with more tools that can be turned on and off individually, like Message Guard, to protect users from Zero Click attacks and malicious code in direct messages.
Auto Blocker is available for every Samsung Galaxy device running One UI 6, which is rolling out globally now.
Samsung confirms a list of over 20 Galaxy smartphones that will get Android 14
Earlier today Samsung officially announced that its Android 14 update is now rolling out to the Galaxy S23 series, and the company has also confirmed the first few Galaxy smartphones that will be eligible for Android 14 in the coming months.
Android 14 for Samsung devices comes in the form of One UI 6.0, an update that delivers platform improvements from Google as well as updates to Samsung’s skin. Those updates include a bunch of new camera features, updated emoji, and more. But, to start, it’s all exclusive to the Galaxy S23 series which is getting the update now.
What comes next?
According to a small list that Samsung has provided, other Galaxy smartphones getting Android 14 will begin with the past few years of flagships, foldables, and a couple of A-Series devices.
In talking about the new features coming to “Enhance-X,” Samsung also confirmed over 20 devices that will be updated to One UI 6.0, many of which come as no surprise. That initial list includes devices released in 2020 and newer, starting with Galaxy S series devices.
Galaxy S23 series
Galaxy S22 series
Galaxy S21 series
Galaxy S20 series
Beyond that, almost every Samsung foldable is going to get One UI 6.0 except for the original Galaxy Fold.
Galaxy Z Fold 5
Galaxy Z Fold 4
Galaxy Z Fold 3
Galaxy Z Fold 2
Galaxy Z Flip 5
Galaxy Z Flip 4
Galaxy Z Flip 3
Galaxy Z Flip 5G
Galaxy Z Flip
And, finally, Samsung has also confirmed that Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy A54, and Galaxy A53 will all be eligible, as well as some M-series devices.
Galaxy Note 20 series
Update: To address the elephant in the room, the Galaxy S20 series, Note 20 series, Flip/5G, and Fold 2 were not expected to get One UI 6.0, but Samsung’s wording here is pretty clear. The quote below is a footnote on Samsung’s blog post and refers to a new camera feature which requires One UI 6.0 or higher, meaning that the devices listed would need to be getting the update.
Available on Galaxy S23 series, S22 series, S21 series, S20 series, Note20 series, Z Fold5, Z Flip5, Z Fold4, Z Flip4, Z Fold3, Z Flip3, Z Fold2, Z Flip 5G and Z Flip LTE, A54, A53, A34, A33, M54, M53, M34, M33 devices operating on One UI 6.0 or above.
We have reached out to Samsung for comment on the status of 2020 device updates.
These devices will all get One UI 6.0 in time, and likely pretty quickly if last year’s Android 13 rollout serves as any indication. For now, though, we’re still waiting on Samsung to release Android 14 to the Galaxy S23 series in the US, which is coming “soon.”
This initial list, notably, is by no means complete. Samsung’s current policy for software updates means that many more smartphones and tablets will be updated to Android 14, but the company has not officially confirmed anything outside of this initial list.
Depending on the device, this issue can result in the primary user being unable to access media storage. Alternatively, the issue can reboot the device with a “Factory data reset” message. If this message is accepted, data that is not backed up can be lost, and if it is declined, the device repeatedly reboots with the “Pixel is starting” message.
Google starts by saying that this storage issue impacts the “Pixel 6 and later models” that “have both received the Android 14 update and have multiple users (other than the primary user) set up.” This includes “users, guests, restricted profiles, and child users,” but not simply having more than one Google Account signed in “within the primary user or work profiles.”
The company has already rolled out a Google Play system update to “help prevent this issue from being triggered on additional devices.” To install, open Settings > Security & privacy > System & update > Google Play system update. The latest version we’re seeing today is October 1, 2023.
For those currently “unable to access media storage,” Google is working on a system update that “will repair the issue and restore access to media files without requiring a factory reset.”
Google is also “investigating methods that may be able to recover some data” for devices in a “Pixel is starting” boot loop. However, this seems more tentative: “We’ll provide more information as soon as it is available.”
For all other users, including those that factory reset their device, Google says to avoid “creating or logging into a secondary user on the device until the OTA update is available.”
Google ends with an apology:
We’re sorry for the inconvenience this has caused, and we appreciate your patience.
Android 14 breaks storage on Pixel 6 phones with multiple user profiles
Android 14 is a solid update to Google’s smartphone OS, but the update does seem to be causing some significant issues regarding user profiles on Pixel 6 series devices.
Following the update to Android 14 that rolled out earlier this month, some Google Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 6a owners are seeing some considerable issues with their devices, specifically around storage becoming unusable. A growing number of users across Google’sforums, Reddit, and elsewhere reporting that their Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro devices are drastically hindered, to the point of breaking most tasks users would perform on their devices.
The storage problem takes effect if the user, before installing Android 14, had multiple profiles on the device.
Following the installation of Android 14, the main profile on a Pixel 6 series device seems to lose access to storage, which prevents users from taking photos or videos, downloading files, and both installing or uninstalling applications. However, on the second profile, things seem to work as expected.
Other limitations include that apps report the device as having no available storage, Google Photos can’t refresh a user’s library (only showing low-quality previews), and files can’t be accessed via USB from a connected PC, as one of our readers explained in an email.
Given that Android’s user profiles are more of a niche feature on smartphones (primarily used for personal and work profiles), this issue doesn’t appear excessively widespread, but the symptoms of the problem are affecting users pretty consistently.
Google has, so far, not offered any solution for this issue or public statement.
As was first announced at the Made by Google event at the beginning of the month, you can now use the Google Assistant to ask if an incoming call from a contact is urgent.
For years now, Pixel phones have offered an option to “Screen call,” allowing the Google Assistant to speak to an incoming caller on your behalf to find out who they are and what they want. This method is surprisingly effective for filtering out unwanted calls from unknown numbers, as many spam callers will hang up automatically, but it’s much less useful when you know who’s calling.
If someone in your contact list calls, you have the same option to screen their call and have the Assistant ask for more information. You can ask anyone who’s ever accidentally used the Assistant to screen a call from a family member why this is a terrible idea.
To address that, the Google Assistant call screening has gained a new option that only appears for people who are on your contact list. Appearing in the incoming call screen as “Ask if urgent,” tapping the option gives your friend or family member a somewhat friendlier greeting from the Google Assistant.
Hi I’m a Google virtual assistant on a recorded line. The person you are trying to reach wanted me to check is it urgent?
As before, Assistant transcribes and displays what the caller says in response, while the Phone app offers tappable options to ask for more information.
The feature was first demonstrated at the Pixel 8 unveiling event, with the company confirming the feature would be rolling out soon. As noted by Mishaal Rahman on X, the rollout has begun and includes older Pixel phones, not just the newly released Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. We’ve confirmed the new “Ask if urgent” option appeared on a Pixel 7 Pro over the weekend, but let us know in the comments if it appears on your older Pixel phone too.
I guess when Google said "soon" they meant "immediately" then. At least it's good to know this isn't exclusive to the Pixel 8, since my tipster saw this on their Pixel Fold.
Google brings Action Blocks customization to all Assistant Routines
Google is rolling out a number of new accessibility features, including the ability to use Action Blocks as Assistant Routine shortcuts on your Android homescreen.
Today, going to Assistant Settings > Routines lets you select one and add it to your homescreen as an app icon-sized shortcut that can start the macro.
Google will soon let you have Routines appear as “Custom rounded” or “Custom rectangle” widgets on your homescreen, with the old icon shortcut still supported. Besides being resizable, these Google Assistant Routine widgets support custom images and text without having to download the dedicated Action Blocks app.
Research has shown that this personalization can be particularly helpful for people with cognitive differences and disabilities and hope it will bring the helpfulness of Assistant Routines to even more people.
Google Maps Live View last year added the ability to search for nearby places, like restaurants, shops, transit stations, and ATMs, within the AR interface. Available in select cities, this feature is adding screen reader support starting today on iOS, with Android following “later this year.”
If your screen reader is enabled, you’ll receive auditory feedback of the places around you with helpful information like the name and category of a place and how far away it is.
Google Maps and Search business listings are gaining support for a “new identity attribute for the disability community.”
Google Maps is rolling out wheelchair-accessible walking routes. These stair-free routes can also be helpful for “people traveling with things like luggage or strollers.” This will be available “globally on iOS and Android wherever we have data available.”
Similarly, wheelchair accessibility information will be surfaced in the Android Auto and Automotive apps to find step-free entrances, as well as locations that have accessible parking, seating, and restrooms. Look for a wheelchair icon next to the search results.
Chrome on desktop can already “detect URL typos and suggest websites based on the corrections.” This is now coming to the Android and iOS browsers. It’s especially meant for people with “dyslexia, language learners, or anyone who may have typos.”
Finally, there’s the new Magnifier app for Pixel phones that Google designed in collaboration with the Royal National Institute of Blind People and the National Federation of the Blind.