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Nexus 6 owners facing Android 7.1.1 to 7.0 downgrade

The Android 7.1.1 Nougat update for the Nexus 6 hasn't gone entirely smoothly so far, with the most recent March 2017 security patch breaking Android Pay on the device. And now in another bizarre development, Nexus 6 owners who updated to 7.1.1 are seeing an over-the-air update back to Android 7.0. Worse still, some are reporting that the downgrade back to 7.0 has caused issues with apps upon completion.

Over on Reddit, a Nexus community manager — listed a verified Googler on the side — said that the move was made "to guarantee future OTA updates."

There was a recent OTA update for Android 7.0 that is causing confusion for some Nexus 6 users. For those of you that want to guarantee future OTA updates, you will need to get back on the 7.0 supported track. If you are experiencing issues after accepting the 7.0 update, please factory reset your device to help resolve any problems.For any Nexus 6 users that want to continue flashing/sideloading future builds, you can stay on 7.1.1 and continue to do so.

It's not clear whether this means all updates for the N6 will be based on Android 7.0 from here onwards, or whether there'll be another 7.1.1 push at some point in the future. The second paragraph suggests more 7.1.1 builds will be forthcoming, though perhaps only available via sideload. It's also not clear why the OS downgrade itself is necessary, but it's possible it has to do with the March 2017 OTA breaking Android's SafetyNet functionality, which was the root cause of the problems with Android Pay in that build.

The Motorola-built Nexus 6, released in late 2014, is no longer supported for OS updates beyond 7.1.1, and so future builds (whichever number they carry) will just include new security patch levels.

In the meantime, Nexus 6 owners are left in the unenviable position of having to decide whether to take an OTA which not only downgrades them to an older OS, but which may also break some apps when it's done.

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

49 Comments
  • A downgrade to upgrade, makes sense
  • Just like we used to click on the Start button to shut down Windows.
  • C'mon Galaxy S8! Love my Nexus 6 but I'm ready for a good camera again. I've had this Nexus for 2 years and I'm growing sick of it.
  • Google just keeps getting worse at supporting phones. My goodness. On my 6p they never addressed many issues and I just got tired of it.
  • I was stuck on 6.0.1 because I never received the 7.0 or 7.0.1 OTA. 2 days ago I finally received the 7.0 OTA and I'm happy with it. I'll be getting a new phone in the Fall probably the Pixel 2 or the latest that OnePlus will be offering.
  • This is how Google treats customers of its first premium priced device while still in guaranteed update window. Potential Pixel purchasers should seriously consider this.
  • By doing a lot of extra work to fix a problem and issuing TWO more updates? Yeah, they suck.
  • Stop making sense Jerry! Just stop it. There is no room in amuricA' for that kind of hijinx anymore.
  • True point. What socks is visibility and intentions. The way it is worded sounds like there will be two tracks with OTA and sideload option, but would help to know if that is what they intend. Also I am very jaded N6 owner due to the long delayed updates when using AT&T SIM despite buying unlocked direct from Google.
  • Future Updates, just means security patches. They left the N6 with at 7.0, and security updates will be made for 7.0 only since they never seemed to push the 7.1.1 OTA update that was rumored, most people I've read said they have not gotten it. So if people are sidloading further updates and roms, they should not expect to get any more security updates since they will be developed for 7.0 only.
  • Work? Yes. Extra? No. If it's right when it's released then the other two updates aren't necessary. They were necessary, and the mountain of straws continues to grow on the proverbial camel's back. Ire increases among the once unquestionably faithful. Also, I think the statement to which you responded took issue with supported OTAs only happening on an older build. That is actually falling short of commitments and expectations. It shows how completely conditioned we are to tolerate suck that anyone could even remotely consider presenting the argument that two fix attempts mitigate throwing a steaming pile of broken on users (continuously).
  • My N6 is slowing down since 7.1..
  • Yes slow and laggy at times
  • More and more I want to switch over to the iPhone
  • Do it. I switched to the iPhone and it was the best decision I've ever made.
    I had an iPhone 4 back then and switched to Android because of the customization. But nowadays iPhones simply do a better job...
  • IPhones updates rarely go smoothly and it's by far the most boring phone.
  • Unlike with Android phones, including Google Phones, if there is any problem with an iPhone, Apple automatically sends an update to all iPhones, sometimes a day after an issue has been discovered carriers be damned, while Google takes its time slowly rolling updates out, and you have to consider carriers.
  • True.. Still boring af though
  • Because hey.....a phone is supposed to be exciting, amirite?/s
  • Ugh yeah actually... If you like technology and want the latest features. I have both phones. iPhone 6s and Nexus 6. Nexus 6 is far superior in everything but camera performance. N6 is still a joy to use and even better after this random Android 7 update I just received. I am glad they broke these updates because they ended up sending Android 7.0 to the T-Mobile customers who bought their n6 from T-Mobile finally!
  • Yes sir, especially the whole TMobile issue.
  • And neither do Android updates. Remember how some Nexus 7s got bricked when updating to Lollipop? Apple had their own boo-boo with iOS 8.
  • RIP Nexus 6
  • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • FU Google..thanks for nothing on a flagship phone! Downgrade to upgrade? Hahahahaha....morons
  • I'm beginning to lose confidence in Google, not so much because of the recent spate of OS/OTA glitches as their Airstrip-One approach to customer communications. The next step will be to proclaim that going forward all problems with Google products shall be known as "backend problems," which by definition may not be addressed openly for reasons of security. GG! ... GG! ... GG!
  • Hopefully this all this bs is eliminated with the Pixel line. They shouldn't make a Pixel 2 until 2018. Release a device every two years.
  • Just get a new phone.
  • Why? My phone works just fine. Other than the camera and lack of fingerprint sensor, I don't have a need to upgrade. Most phones weren't on Nougat until Samsung staying pushing it.
  • I loved my Nexus 6 and still used it as a media device. For a phone that dropped in 2014 it still holds its own. This nonsense is confusing and lazy at best. Downgrading to keep security legit seems counterproductive. I've been on a custom ROM for so long, this move is moot to me. My One Plus 3T is beasting along. The only thing I miss is that huge screen, but appreciate the easier handling footprint of the 3T...
  • After the March update my Pixel is having GPS issues and screen timeout issues. Maps keeps asking me to turn on GPS although it's on High and screen doesn't timeout properly. It does after fresh reboot, but then acts up again.
  • That is an absolutely terrible way to treat customers. Just do a factory reset... Yeah, FU.
  • Got that right! They get the big Jon Stewart! FU. Paid over $600 for this thing and now 2yrs later factory reset? Get ur heads outta ur a$$es...idiots!!!
  • Damn! Google. Get your sh*t together, on your own phones! Aaaand yes, sent from my Pixel XL.
  • Wow....
  • So, to get OTAs, you have to downgrade and wipe the phone...... Google, this is not how you treat customers who may have once paid over $650 for a Nexus 6. This is casting doubts over how well they will support the Pixel. Google can't maintain such an attitude when pushing forth a properly premium device. In the meantime, I guess XDA and Magisk is the only way to go moving forward. Also, don't you guys think that a proper built-in backup suite is long overdue? Google cloud sync isn't enough.
  • It's depressing, i love my Nexus 6 even though it's kind of slow sometimes but i can't bring myself to leave behind that huge of a screen. I was planning to get a Nexus 6P next, mid year but apparently i think i would better try to get a ONE+3T instead if Google is ******** people like that.
  • I use a Nexus 6p running Googles beta program with 7.1.2 and has no issues at all
  • That's nice, but how does that relate to the Nexus 6?
  • i'm still stuck with 6.0 WTH!!!
  • Have you tried removing the Sim and rebooting? Sometime the Att sims seem to stop updates on unlocked phones at least so I have heard.
  • I gave up and installed LineageOS 14.1 (based on 7.1.1) on my dad's Nexus 6 and it runs very well, especially with FrancoKernel and Nova.
  • I still use my Nexus 6 and it's a great phone but it has been behaving pretty badly since the March sideload. Had the broken Android Pay until Google fixed it behind the scenes. Purchased direct but always on AT&T, my phone has never been good getting OTAs. They stopped entirely when I flashed the first Marshmallow build in Oct of '15. Since then I've been ahead of everything that AT&T might try to push me. Been a messy journey to say the least. The N6 has also gotten really odd carrier specific updates that seemed to lock out OTAs. Really not what was intended. Looking forward to getting a new phone but the last two years (and watching the newer Google hardware continue to struggle) have me contemplating the unthinkable... Switching to the iPhone.
  • How does your Android pay work? Once I used NRT the unlocked phone broke Android pay and can't relock the bootloader.
  • I might be the only N6 owner here that feels this way, but I've had it since it was released, and just updated when an OTA showed itself. I lucked out in the sense that I never got the 7.1.1 update notification and am perfectly happy with how 7.0 works. Not laggy at all for me. Never factory reset it either.
  • Same here. Unlocked N6 on Verizon, and my 7.0 OTA works like a champ. In fact, it's run great on Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat. I definitely got my money's worth.
  • I say Google stops trying to fix the N6 just leave it on 7.0 and call it end of life... Then open a trade in program to trade in our N6 for $300 off the Pixel. Then the N6 that we turn in they can send to a 3rd world country as subsidized phones
  • So you're proposing to send your defective devices with a lingering defect, to other countries for people in those countries to buy your defective device, then?
  • My N6 is only up to 7.0. The last security patch is Jan 5, 2017. Updates have always been SLOW in arriving. I have owned many Nexus phones and tablets. I will never buy a Pixel.