Two weeks ago, Google announced a massive system update for the Pixel 6 series. But most users still don’t have it. What’s going on?
The original schedule was confusing but clear enough. On December 6, Google announced the December 2021 update for Pixel, which would include three components: the December 2021 Android security update, the first Pixel Feature Drop for the 6 series, and a massive list of Pixel 6 series updates and fixes. This is important because the Pixel 6 is one of the buggiest and more unreliable handsets I’ve ever reviewed, despite some obvious advantages.
The confusing bit was the timing. Though the Pixel 5a and older supported Pixels would get the December 2021 Android security update and the Feature Drop immediately, Pixel 6 and 6 Pro users would need to wait until “later this month.” For some reason.
Later that week, we learned the exact schedule for Pixel 6 and 6 Pro: these handsets would begin getting this massive update on December 13. But it’s December 21 as I write this, over a week after the update supposedly started rolling out to Pixel 6 series users. And despite checking multiple times every single day on the unlocked Pixel 6 Pro I purchased directly from Google, I’ve still never gotten the update. My Pixel 5a, by contrast, also unlocked and purchased from Google, got it the first time I tried.
As it turns out, I’m not alone: it seems that very few Pixel 6 series users have gotten this update. Droid Life openly wondered what was happening at the end of last week, for example. And yesterday, at the one-week mark, 9to5Google did the same. That latter publication also published a poll to find out how many of its readers have received the update. And as of this writing, 87.3 percent—over 8600 people—have NOT received it.
To be clear, this is unusual for Google Pixel handsets, and the situation there is generally not what we see with installs of new Windows versions. And in my own personal experience, having owned almost every single Pixel model ever released, I’ve never had to wait like this. I’ve always received updates right away.
This isn’t about getting something early or first. As noted, the Pixel 6 is a disaster. And users who have been putting up with its many issues need some relief. And that relief is there. They just can’t get it.
One approach would be to sideload the update. There are a few methods for doing so, but one of them resets the phone and forces you to set it up again from scratch. And neither is exactly a normal procedure for average users. But as the days tick on, I’m seriously considering it.
This is just weird. And it’s another mark against Google and the Pixel at a time when I’m evaluating the Apple iPhone 13 Pro. Which, by the way, received its latest software update, for iOS 15.2, on day one.