Google clarifies confusing Android 12 update amid Android 13 rollout

Android 12
(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

Update (Aug 16, 7:30 pm ET): Google says its a separate update for Android 12.

What you need to know

  • Some Pixel device owners report weird software update bugs on their devices.
  • While waiting for Android 13, they weirdly got Android 12 instead.
  • Users took to Reddit and Twitter to complain about the issue.

This week, Google launched the much-awaited Android 13 update for its Pixel devices. While many Pixel device owners have received the update, it turns out some received Android 12 instead.

As weird as it sounds, the issue was reported by a couple of Pixel device owners on platforms like Reddit (via Android Authority). One user posted their concern regarding the update, sharing a screenshot of the System Update page. It shows that Android 12 is available to download and install instead of Android 13, even though the respective device is already running Android 12.

Other Reddit users have found the same issue on their devices as well. A Pixel 6 user even tweeted a response to Google's Android 13 announcement post with a screenshot of getting the Android 12 update instead of 13, with an update size of 2.02GB.

It is still unclear what's causing this weird "System Update" bug to some Pixel owners. Google is yet to provide a statement on this strange issue and was not immediately available for a comment when we reached out. Hopefully, it gets fixed soon, as the update is still rolling out for Pixel devices (Pixel 4 and higher), with Android devices from different OEM makers likely to get the update later this year.

Some of our devices were able to upgrade to stable Android 13 with no issue, although I'm still waiting to receive the update on my Pixel 6a.

One Reddit user suggests a possible workaround: enrolling into the Android 13 beta and trying the update again. This should present users with the stable Android 13 update, after which they can opt out of the beta without the need to wipe their data. A few users say that this method worked for them, although we haven't tested this ourselves. The other option is just to wait for Google to figure it out, which hopefully shouldn't take very long.


Following the confusion of some users seemingly receiving an erroneous Android 12 update while expecting Android 13, a Google spokesperson provided a statement to hopefully clear the confusion:

"On August 15, Pixel devices running an old version of Android 12 received a notification about a previously released Android 12 update with bug fixes. The messaging in the notification was confusing with the timing of Android 13, and is currently being changed for clarity."

"This update is separate from the Android 13 release that started to roll out to all supported Pixel devices yesterday and will continue over the next few weeks, depending on the carrier. Users will receive a notification once the OTA becomes available for their device. We encourage users to check their Android version and update to receive the latest software when it is available for their carrier."

So it looks like it was an error on Google's part, but one that resulted in the wrong text used for the Android 12 update. Based on Google's statement, this new update is likely related to the recent patch that was issued to select Pixel devices, with some users even reporting a change in the build number. However, that 2GB file size is still questionable.

Either way, it seems users should still expect Android 13 as it continues rolling out to more devices.

Vishnu Sarangapurkar
News Writer

Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.

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