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Pixel phones get a little something extra in the November security patch

Pixel 2 + 2 XL
Pixel 2 + 2 XL (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Google is an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and with the release of the November security patch notes, we see it acting like one. When you buy a phone like a Verizon-branded Galaxy S8, you'll get a few small updates that address performance and stability tweaks. Verizon has a web page that details these small updates (opens in new tab) so you can see exactly what was changed if you're the type of person who likes to know more than the blurb you see on an update screen. This is a good thing, as once people are using a phone there is always a thing or two that can be improved, and waiting for a full system update to happen might take a while. It's how you keep customers happy!

While the Google Pixel and Pixel 2 phones aren't really tied to any carrier, Google is doing the same thing. It has bundled a handful of small feature changes with the November patch that will soon be rolling out to all Pixel and Pixel 2 phones.

There's nothing here that a big change, but together they will matter to a lot of people. A quick look at what to expect.

  • The warning you get that your headphones may be too loud has been tweaked to appear at the correct volume for places that have a special requirement for it. Safety first!
  • Bluetooth should work better for older devices that don't support AVRCP 1.4, and pairing with a headset should be faster or have fewer errors.
  • Bluetooth connections with cars is a mess. That's been a hallmark of Android since the beginning. We see several fixes for media data and general connection wonk when using Bluetooth in your ride. Hopefully, these fixes filter down to all devices as they were ported back into AOSP.
  • Instant Tethering with BLE (Bluetooth Low-Energy) devices has been improved.
  • Autofocus when taking a video and the overall speed of the front camera has been improved.
  • YouTube should have fewer problems when you switch from Wi-Fi to your data connection. This is a big deal for Project Fi users who are in an area where they may jump between hotspots using Google's open Wi-Fi "VPN" service.
  • The Three network needed some adjustments for the phones to better use it, and those were made. Yes, carriers have a lot of input into every phone, even a Nexus, Pixel, or iPhone.
  • The ubiquitous application stability patch is here, too.

One thing not initially noted by Google, but discovered after the update started to roll out, is the inclusion of new display profiles aimed at addressing concerns over the Pixel 2 XL's screen colors and a couple other tweaks for limiting screen burn-in on the phone.

So this certainly isn't a huge list of highly critical bugs, but it's one of those small updates that will just make things a little better like we see from other manufacturers. We know a few previous monthly patches have also had a Pixel-specific fix or two in them, but it's nice to see them all broken down like this. That's what the web page was made for, after all.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Just got a Pixel recently (XL until the screen mess blows over). When will this release download?
  • Google stages these rollouts pretty slowly, but in my experience, you should get it within ten days of the rollout starting, at the very latest.
  • Nexus 6,5x,6P and Player + Pixel C, 2016 Pixels and Pixel 2 have the images posted. The code is pushing out to AOSP right now, so anytime after it's done uploading those devices should start to see OTA updates. Google hasn't said anything about a holdup for Pixel 2 XL, so unless they do, expect to see an image uploaded for it shortly and it will also go on the list. But there's a chance it gets a special patch with the screen fixes Google talked about earlier. We'll keep an eye on it all. Also, phones on the 8.1 beta won't see any patch updates so you'll either have to wait for the next version of the beta or see if an 8.1 image with November patch is uploaded (it probably won't be).
  • Jerry - if I wait to the jump to 8.1 until after this update, will I keep the benefits or will 8.1 overwrite my security and take me back to Sept?
  • you roll back on the security patches. most of these feature patches are in 8.1 Sucks, right? I want that Krack patch ...
  • Thanks Jerry - that's what I figured. Decision, decisions....
  • Yep, it does suck. This is why I haven't joined the DP this year, yet.
  • Yeah I'd feel a lot better if Krack patch was in the November update. Flicked via the BlackBerry keyboard on my Pixel
  • Check for updates, you will surely see it, most people already seen it
  • Yes it's there
  • Jerry, Since I updated my Pixel XL to Android 8.1 I noticed something new. My signal bars now show "LTE+" on some occasions. It never displayed this before. I was wondering if you had noticed this as well.
  • anything to address whining noises on Pixel 2 ? does Google ever update developer previews with security patches?
  • Jerry, After updating with this one, on an original Pixel with the SMS issue, low and behold, the SMS is now working again. Either the universe shifted, or it was actually the security update....I'll give them the benefit.
  • Wait till the Note 8 gets something extra in the next security update.
  • I got the update on my Pixel 2 XL and there are color options in the display settings. The new more saturated options are here. It looks much better to me.
  • I love my Pixel 2 XL, but nice try with the "Google is an OEM (original equipment manufacturer)" line. When you do a network scan and see "Apple, Inc" next to your iPhone's MAC address, but "LG Electronics" next to your Pixel 2 XL's MAC Address, Google is NOT the OEM. I don't care what the logo on the back says. The bootloaders don't even look the same between the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. It's so obvious they were not made by the same OEM.
  • After much thought I went back and gave the PIxel XL 2 another shot, I really don't like the Note *'s style and as much as my wife's new I phone X is a pretty nice phone it's still apple.
    Anyway, Google just released a update, without looking to far I went straight to Display and Advance Settings and voila a new way to adjust for color appears, Natural, Boosted, and Saturated (I like this One) the Samsung feel without the Samsung.
  • Good to know
  • oooops, Sadly the Blue is still pretty visible with minimal angles, I'll wait and hope or wonder if there is a fix before returning number 2, this is a nice phone, clean and uncluttered with BS, as much as I like Samsung, this is my new preferred devise.
  • Saturated on deck. Looking good
  • I just checked and my update was there! The saturated looks nice but I liked the boosted/vivid that it originally came with myself. I know a lot of people didn't but to me it was fine because performance was even more important and the pixel 2xl runs circles around the S8 I had
  • Does the Three Network mean Three in the UK? If so, any word on if whatever tweaks they made affect Project Fi users while connected to Three?