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Bugs push Android 7.1.1 update for Nexus 6 to early Jan 2017

Nexus 6 back
Nexus 6 back (Image credit: Phil Nickinson/Android Central)

Google may have long since killed off support for the beloved Nexus 5, but it's showing a bit of mercy with the Nexus 6.

The Motorola-made Android phone will see its update to Android 7.1.1 in early January, according to Android Police, so it's not obsolete just yet. The two-year-old device will share software features with the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and the Pixel family, including new emoji and app shortcuts from the Home screen. Just don't hedge your bets on major features like the Night Light mode and Daydream VR because of hardware constraints.

Google said it would support devices for up to two years, but this is already beyond that, though that could be due to the delayed 7.0 OTA. Regardless, this software update brings Android 7.1.1's features to a nearly-expired device. Part of the incentive is to appeal to developers, though, who may wonder if implementing a feature like app shortcuts is worth the code and deciding which shortcuts to provide. The other part is reminding those who stuck with the Nexus 6 of the future that lays ahead with a Pixel in hand.

Florence Ion was formerly an editor and columnist at Android Central. She writes about Android-powered devices of all types and explores their usefulness in her everyday life. You can follow her on Twitter or watch her Tuesday nights on All About Android.

47 Comments
  • Still a great phone. Very relevant still
  • Yes it is
  • I heard there was a bug they had to quash.
    Better late than never.
    With the death of CyanogenMod, I may have to revert to stock and get the update.
    Mav.
  • You are correct, big bug. The last hurrah for the 6
  • Google should really try to support the Nexus and Pixel phones with new system updates for as long or longer than Apple provides. If they want to make their own phones, brand them, sell them at premium prices and support them, consumers should expect no less. As long as the hardware can run it the phones should support new operating system updates. It won't stop people from buying new phones, rather people will be encouraged to buy Google branded phones because they know the devices will receive support. This is a diferenciator from other Android and maybe Apple phones that works in Google's favor.
  • I agree, but only Pixel going forward. I guess my question is, would you accept some functionality be limited because the hardware cannot handle it. Same goes for iPhone updates for older models.
  • They can't do anything if Qualcomm doesn't update the graphics drivers, such as the drivers for the Snapdragon 800 and 801.
  • Didn't see your comment before I posted.
  • And yet, CyanogenMod (RIP) just put out CM14 (Nougat) Nightlies for several devices, including the 2014 Moto X, running a SD801, as well as the Nexus 4, running a SDS4Pro for crying out loud. The graphics driver thing is complete and utter bullshit.
  • Yeah, but those ROMs almost always have debilitating bugs, like camera crashes, "random" reboots, network issues,... Y'know, stuff that renders a phone USELESS. Unless you have those drivers correct, you're effectively flying blind when you try to shoehorn a new ROM in an old device.
  • Scott Lowe, exactly right sir
  • Don't forget the outdated Linux Kernel
  • There may be hardware limitations. I'm not sure if the 805 will support updates beyond Nougat.
  • I agree, but it'll never happen with Qualcomm SoCs and ancillary chipsets. QC likes to abandon older hardware quickly and move onto their newest hardware. So, you get about a year or two of decent driver binary support, but even after a year, software (value added SDKs)/binary/source code resources are put towards their latest hardware. Unfortunately, Qualcomm insists on keeping many of their IPs closed source, and that is their right, but it's ultimately not healthy for an open ecosystem like Android and Linux. I'm hoping Google will pickup AMD for their Chromebooks, as they've been adopting open-source development platforms for their hardware. Their Linux drivers aren't very mature yet (behind Nvidia), so that could be a reason (along with lack of Zen-based APUs/SoCs until 2H 2017) . You need stability in the mobile space, and certainly need battery life.
  • I agree. You couldn't have said it better. I'm still using the Nexus 6 but instead of just running the 7.0 Nougat that Google/Nexus Project released I am running a custom ROM from CyanogenMod with Nougat 7.1.1 -- and it's pretty stable. If the hardware supports the OS why not continue to update the device? This way there'll be more loyalty to sticking with Android phones. Seamless updates and long-term device support is what Apple/iOS kicks Google/Android **s.
  • Are we still going to get security updates
  • My Nexus 6 start to slow... Even after a reset.. Hope this will fix it.
  • Mine too, I think it is due to the forced encryption on the device. I wish I could disable it easily. The SD805 should be much faster than it is the N6.
  • Mine as well. Did a factory reset after the final 7.0 update. It was good for a while, but is getting laggy. I'll probably reset again after 7.1 since that'll likely be our last update. Hopefully it'll be more stable. I'd like to get another year out of my N6.
  • A factory reset must be done after every major OS update
  • Yes my Nexus 6 is less buttery smooth than it was until a couple of months ago. Still very good most of the time, but freezes occasionally, whereas it never used to. That said, it's all relative, I have had phones that froze and stuttered when much less old than two and a bit years.
  • In particular with the camera.
  • Night light implementation has been done on the custom ROMs for Nexus 6. How can it be a hardware limitation in that case? Its really helpful and helps with reduced eye strain at night, though the screen looks dramatically different.
  • I received the December security update, but have yet to receive the OTA to 7.0. I'm on 6.0.1 unless I side load it with the factory image which I'm trying to avoid.
  • Sideload it. I did and didn't have any issues. They might not be pushing the OTA since the next version is due. Even that will be delayed if one waits for OTA.
  • There is no reason to not have it. With the new beta program now there is a small window during updates that you can sign up, it then downloads the official, stable release and updates the phone, all without side loading, you then unregister from beta and done... This worked for me on my n6 and my 6p. They have been offering this to make it a little faster for many and it's a lot like ios updates where the user can initiate it.
  • My Nexus 6 is unlocked and rooted using Wug's toolkit running, I flashed 7.0 with no issues, hoping to see 7.1.1 soon.
  • Google seems to have **** for developers lately....Bugs everywhere
  • Still loving my N6! I might have considered a Pixel XL if it wasn't for that tiny screen. I guess when the N6 does finally die I'll be "upgrading" to the 6P. Maybe Google will impress me more with the 2017 Pixels and go back to at least a 5.7" screen. A wide angle camera would also be nice too (wife's got a V20 and the wide camera is awesome) but I'm probably hoping for too much.
  • Yes, going to a smaller screen will be a wrench, I'm used to 6 inches.
  • I have a nexus 5X running 7.1 My wife has the nexus 6 running 7.0 Ideally she won't have to upgrade to 7.1 because the new dialer sucks donkey balls. Instead of the time tested slide right or left to answer or reject a call, Google has, for some ****** up reason, made it so you now have to slide up or down. By itself that isn't so bad, except that they put the stupid widget at the bottom of the screen. So you have only something like a quarter of an inch to try to reject a call. If you let go before you drag your finger completely off of the screen it just registers as a missed drag and the phone keeps ringing. You usually end up trying to reject the call multiple times before you succeed (or it just goes to voice mail). Similarly with answering calls. Dragging left or right is within the range of your thumb. Dragging up, however, stretches your thumb further. If you don't drag far enough the goddamn phone thinks you didn't want to answer, and you have to try again, dragging further (if your thumb can reach). More to the point, there isn't any indication how far you have to drag. When you went left and right it was clear that you had to drag at least 3/4 of the distance to the edge of the screen in either direction (and if you just dragged to the edge it would perform its function). Now the distance is different depending on whether you are trying to answer or reject the call. And if you are trying to answer there isn't any visual cue how far you have to drag. The dialer is such an abomination that I wish I were still on 7.0 myself. That's what happens when Google lets the interns write finished code.
  • Nexus 6, still the best mobile phone I've owned.
    Magic camera.
    I have a 6p but I'm partial to the beast.
  • The Nexus 6 runs real nice with 7.0, but can use a bit of improvement with 7.1.1, checking Googles web site every day for 7.1.1.
  • I'm already running Nougat 7.1.1 since November 2016 thru custom ROM CyanogenMod.
  • Yes, we read that. Thrice.
  • N6 was not performing well with Lolipop, became much better with Marshmallow and is even better with Nougat 7.0. Excited to see 7.1.1 on it.
  • I'm already running Nougat 7.1.1 on my Nexus 6 since November 2016 using CyanogenMod custom ROM.
  • Good news for me since I still use the Moto Nexus 6. Just not wild about the price of the Pixel. Google SHOULD support devices for AT LEAST 3 years.
  • I totally agree with you^.
  • I agree. I happen to like and still use the Nexus 6 and installed a custom ROM with Nougat 7.1.1 thru CyanogenMod.
  • Does anyone think that Project Fi could leverage longer support for the N6? There are only a very few (and expensive) phones "qualified" for Project Fi. I should think that N6 owners would be somewhat important to Google, as current, or potential wireless customers. Why not keep us happy?
  • Two big updates are a "promise" for flagships, yet the articles make it sound that the second update is more like charity!!
  • My Nexus 6 ironically crashed and rebooted while reading this article, which has been a daily occurrence since the Android 7 update. Hopefully this update fixes that bug. And the adaptive brightness bug. And the headphone jack bug. Otherwise, I'm going back to Android 6. Maybe most people don't use their phone screen or headphone jack, but those fall under the "vital" category for me. I'm usually not one to complain, but come on; these are big problems. The Nexus 6 has been so awesome; it'd be sad for its last updates to leave it in such a buggy state.
  • First thing to do is review Apps you've installed, quite possibly one is the cause.
  • I just don't get why we have to lose the Night Mode feature currently in 7.0. It works just fine on my N6 after I enabled it. No bugs or battery drain, and the blue light filter is much easier on the eyes in low light. That alone might make me skip the 7.1 update. The third party blue light filter apps don't work nearly as well, I've tried a few in anticipation of the update.
  • Try an app called twilight. I use it in my N6 and it works great. It can even dimm the display beyond what the settings allow which is great for in bed reading or movie watching.
  • Why wait to experience Nougat 7.1.1 when you can install it through custom ROM such as CyanogenMOD 14.1 or Resurrection Remix. They've been out since November 2016. If you know how to unlock your bootloader, install a custom recovery GApps and root your device, there really is no need to wait. The custom ROM is pretty stable so far as I am running it on the Nexus 6. Custom ROMs in most cases are better in that it gives you more optimizations and flexibility as to which features you'd like to enable and use. Many of them still support older devices as well. And those devices that are no longer being supported by Google/Android/Nexus Project are still being updated to the latest Marshmallow and/or Nougat such as the Nexus 4, 5 and 7.