With Android 13, Google made it so that the Pixel 6, 6 Professional, and 6a can’t reinstall Android 12 with a purpose to handle a safety concern. In addressing that vulnerability, one other downside would possibly come up, and Google has launched instructions on the right way to keep away from bricking your gadget if you happen to flashed Android 13.

What’s completely different with the Android 13 replace for Pixel 6

A safety vulnerability exists with the earlier bootloader on the Pixel 6 collection, and Android 13 makes it so that the susceptible model related to Android 12 can’t be reinstalled. 

Nonetheless, even after flashing an Android 13 manufacturing unit picture – which is completely different than sideloading an OTA picture – on the Pixel 6 collection and efficiently updating, an Android 12 construct stays in your cellphone. This is because of Android’s A/B (seamless) system updates, which are supposed to present redundancy:

A/B system updates use two units of partitions known as slots (usually slot A and slot B). The system runs from the present slot whereas the partitions within the unused slot will not be accessed by the operating system throughout regular operation. This method makes updates fault resistant by holding the unused slot as a fallback: If an error happens throughout or instantly after an replace, the system can rollback to the previous slot and proceed to have a working system.

As such, the “inactive slot comprises an older bootloader whose anti-rollback model has not been incremented.” That mismatch may cause issues if you happen to flash your gadget and one thing fails with the set up. By design, Android will strive booting from the inactive slot, however that runs afoul of the vulnerability safety. Given it’s Android 12 (and the older bootloader), your cellphone won’t activate. 

(*13*)In the event you flashed Android 13

Google on Thursday afternoon offered instructions on the right way to keep away from that specific concern from arising. It entails flashing the inactive slot from Android 12 to Android 13. The only possibility is sideloading an OTA picture – which updates the inactive slot – however steps for utilizing manufacturing unit pictures are additionally offered.

This course of is primarily aimed toward these (i.e. tinkerers) who’re going to reflash their gadgets both with a manufacturing unit or customized picture (constructed from AOSP). 

In the meantime, Google within the coming days will replace the Android Flash Instrument – which flashes the energetic slot, like fastboot – with a immediate to flash the inactive slot with the Android 13 bootloader. 

In the event you used the Android 13 OTA

Those that sideloaded an Android 13 OTA picture or accepted the on-device OTA (which is Google’s advisable set up technique) and don’t intend to flash (once more, completely different from sideloading) their telephones “don’t must take any motion for now.”

Slot ASlot B
Android 12 (July sec patch)Android 12 (June)
Android 12 (July)Android 13 (August)
Android 13 (September)Android 13 (August)
The energetic slot is in daring, with OTAs putting in within the inactive slot

The corporate additionally tells us that there’s a really low likelihood of operating into the problem for the overwhelming majority of customers with locked bootloaders. The subsequent OTA (presumably the September safety patch) or sideload will replace the inactive slot.

Kyle Bradshaw and Dylan Roussel contributed to this text.

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