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Don't redownload Android 12: Google accidentally pushes Verizon update to unlocked Pixels

Google Pixel 6 Material You Themed Icons Angle
Google Pixel 6 Material You Themed Icons Angle (Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

Update, Nov 10 (6:50 p.m. ET): Google has "resolved the issue."

What you need to know

  • Unlocked Pixel phones running Android 12 are receiving a new Android 12 OTA update of nearly 2GB.
  • It appears to be a Verizon software update mistakenly pushed to non-Verizon phones.
  • If your phone has received this update, you should disregard it.

Some Pixel owners probably experienced a severe case of deja vu on Wednesday, when Google pushed out an Android 12 update to their phones. An unexpected OTA update appeared "introducing Android 12," listing out "new" features like Material You and scrolling screenshots that they've had access to for weeks.

If you yourself have received this update — which comes in at about 1.8GB — you should ignore it. While Google itself hasn't commented on the situation as of publication, Android sleuths have determined that this was a Verizon Android 12 security update accidentally pushed out to non-carrier phones.

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Esper Senior Technical Advisor Mishaal Rahman said that the update caused the build number to change from SP1A.211105.002/7743617 to SP1A.211105.002.A1/7807550. That latter number corresponds with the update recently found on Verizon-locked phones. We're unclear what differences the Verizon build has compared to the unlocked build, but you probably don't want to find out.

We're uncertain of the scope of this error, but Pixel 3(a), Pixel 4(a), and Pixel 5 owners across a wide range of countries have reported the issue. It doesn't appear that Pixel 6 phones were affected, however. A quick survey of the Android Central staff found that none of them had received the update, so we can't experiment with downloading the mistaken patch for ourselves.

For whoever did download this patch, we can only hope that Google quickly rectifies the situation. We've reached out to Google for comment to see what caused the error and how it will fix the phones that downloaded it — assuming they need fixing.

Update, Nov 10 (6:50 p.m. ET) ― Google says it has "resolved the issue"

A Google team member got back to us, saying that "The team looked into this and has resolved the issue," though he didn't provide any further context. Google is also responding to social media complaints on Reddit and other sites, saying "you can disregard" the update.

We're still not certain what this means for people that downloaded the update already. But given this statement, at least you can rest assured that you won't have to factory reset your phone or anything drastic to "fix" the issue on your end.

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Michael L Hicks
Michael L Hicks

Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.

14 Comments
  • Google needs to send out the correct version now, and someone at Verizon needs to be moved from current position to pushing a broom in the parking lot.
  • Too late. I thought it was a feature drop on my 3aXL and installed it. It was 1.5 gig. I don't see anything odd with it. My new 6 didn't get it. I'm on Mint Mobile.
  • Exactly the same, here. No issues and I'm not doing a factory reset. It's playing fine with TMobile and my 6 Pro should, hopefully, actually ship in the next few days, anyway.
  • I thought that was weird. My phone started the download but then it arrested the download saying I already have the update.
  • Should we be expecting a rollback, I wonder?
  • I installed it on my unlocked Pixel 4XL on Telus Mobility. What should I do?
  • It should be fine. It just adds some minor verizon settings for verizon sim cards. it'll be ok
  • I'm on Verizon and I got the update but a different build number. SD1A.21087.036
  • I'm pretty sure that's the non-Verizon firmware, that's what my unlocked UK pixel 6 is running Classic Google lol.
  • Lol I figured it was the unlocked international verison
  • For my unlocked Pixel 5, the build number is SP1A.211105.003. It did try to install the update this afternoon. It downloaded the update and optimized apps but it didn't ask to restart the phone instead just saying the phone is up to date. The build number did not change. Manually restarting the phone did not change anything either.
  • My 3a is working fine so far. Hopefully it stays that way.
  • Well, Google resolved it by stoping the push. Still no solution for ones who have installed it already. Or explanation how bad it is or how it will be solved. I guess to push the correct version will be the solution if builds can be changed so easily by OTA, what this mistake done.
  • doing great, everybody!