Here it is, folks. As promised, after receiving a new Galaxy Note 7 yesterday — with a battery from a different supplier — Samsung is rolling out an update to all Note 7s, pre- and post-recall, separating the haves from the have-nots.
Specifically, my Note 7, the one with the new, safer battery, has a green battery indicator in place of the traditional white, which Google has forced on all manufacturers since Android 4.4 KitKat. Ironically, before then, all Samsung phones shipped with green battery icons.
Samsung received special dispensation for the change from Google itself due to extraordinary circumstances.
Not only is the battery indicator now green, but the Note 7 has a handy green battery gauge in the Restart menu, which is accessed by holding down the power button at any time. This is another, more explicit way of Samsung notifying its users, and the public, that this new batch of Note 7s is different from the recalled one, with a battery certified from a different supplier.
If you are running any Note 7, new or old, your phone should be getting the update starting today in both the U.S. and Canada (we verified this on Verizon and Rogers units). The update blurb succinctly sums things up for us:
For new devices, the battery icon is green after the update. If the battery icon is white after the update, information on the safety recall will be provided.
The update is about 50MB, and shouldn't take too long to install. It doesn't affect the security patch level, nor does it add anything else to the operating system; this is strictly to make recalled phones less operable, and new phones more apparent.
When compared to the Galaxy S7 edge, you can see the difference in the battery icon is very subtle, though purists accustomed to the uniform aesthetic of all Android notification shades will balk at the change.
And while it's unlikely future Galaxy devices will have a green battery icon, it may be a good idea to keep the larger gauge in the Restart menu, since it's a pretty useful addition on its own.
So what happens if you are holding on to a recalled Note 7 and receive this forced upgrade? You'll be warned whenever you start up or power down the device to turn it off, put it in a box, and bring it in for exchange.
There is no reason, especially now that there is ample stock of replacement Note 7s in the U.S. and Canada, to hold onto that device.