Google Finally Addresses the December 2021 Update for Pixel 6/6 Pro

Posted on December 30, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Google, Hardware, Mobile with 27 Comments

After an incredible period of silence, Google has finally told desperate Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro users what’s going on: as many suspected, the online giant has delayed the long-overdue and much-needed December 2021 because of quality issues.

“The Pixel team paused the December software update to Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro devices after some users reported calls were dropping or disconnecting,” a Pixel Community Manager posted on a support page less than one hour ago. “We have now identified a fix that will roll out in a software update by late January. This update will also include all the fixes and improvements that were originally planned in December.”

What’s missing from this overdue update is, of course, the new schedule: we still have no idea when this update will arrive.

UPDATE: The December 2021 update for Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will now be released “by late January,” Google says. Good thing I spent over two weeks checking for this update multiple times each day. –Paul

As you may recall, Google originally said that it would ship the December 2021 update for Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro on December 13. But as I and many others noticed, that update never arrived. And Google has been, until now, silent on the issue, frustrating many because of the serious nature of the problems this update fixes.

This is troubling. I’ve always purchased unlocked Pixel handsets directly from Google, in part because they receive updates the moment they’re released. This month was the first time that didn’t happen.

Some of those few that did receive the December 2021 update are experiencing the cellular connectivity issues that triggered the deployment pause. For those, Google offers the following advice:

“If you received the December software update on Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro and are still experiencing mobile connectivity issues, you can revert to the previous software version using the Android Flash Tool (flash.android.com) and performing a factory reset,” the a Pixel Community Manager notes, not mentioning that doing so will completely wipe out the device. “Please back up your phone before restoring to the previous software version. If you are not experiencing mobile connectivity issues, no action is required. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we roll out the fix.”

Yes. Patience.

Like many others, I’d like to communicate how patient I am to Google directly. But go figure, it has locked the support post, disabling commenting. Happy Holidays from Google, you Pixel-loving idiots!

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Comments (27)

27 responses to “Google Finally Addresses the December 2021 Update for Pixel 6/6 Pro”

  1. rob_segal

    This is unfortunate. This could be an important update to improve or fix some of the major issues people have been having with their Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. Problems and delays happen. However, it becomes hard to depend on Google's phones when they keep having problems.

    • aretzios

      For Google, phnes are a side-show. They are not crucial to its business. In addition, you have a culture in Google quite used to releasing rather buggy software fixed after a number of patches. If one wants a solid phone, one should go with manufacturers for which the phones are a key part of the business such as Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Oppo or others. These can ill afford to piss off their customers.

      • jchampeau

        Yep. I've made similar comments about how Surface is a "side hustle" for Microsoft. And if the issues we've seen in recent years with reliability and inconsistency are any indication, Microsoft now thinks of desktop Windows as a side hustle too. It's frustrating to anyone who expects more but frequently feels let down. It's like an abusive relationship.

  2. omen_20

    Glad my Pixel 6 has had no issue so far. It's easily the best phone I've had since the original G1.

    • SvenJ

      Did you get the Dec update? Again the update didn't seem to affect everyone who got it, but enough to warrant pulling it. Of course this never happens to iOS or Windows.

    • crunchyfrog

      I'm with you. My Pixel 6 has been virtually trouble free. It looks as though the Pro model is the problem child of the two.

      • JerryH

        It may well be that the 6 is less problematic than the pro. I've got the pro and although I have none of the problems the December update was supposed to fix, I definitely have a few really annoying problems:


        • Pick up the phone and the screen comes on (the mostly dark style like the always on mode) about 75% of the time. Everything in settings that would cause it to do this is off. Since I use my FitBit as a trusted device, it is unlocked, so sliding it into a pocket in this state causes random presses.
        • Even though "lock immediately on power switch press" is off, and both trusted devices and trusted locations are setup, it often locks anyway (in much less than the 4 hours that it is supposed to) and says "device manually locked" and then only allows PIN and not fingerprint. So that slow fingerprint reader? I almost never even get to try it because it keeps saying manually locked and requiring the PIN.

        Unfortunately, neither of those - even though reported a lot on the Google forums - was slated to be fixed in the December update.

  3. lightbody

    I got my Pixel 6 (non Pro) at Christmas, and set it up yesterday. 24 hours on, and I think its a delight, and I've had no issues with it at all. I'm coming from a Oneplus 7T which had got more and more annoying. I presume mine hasn't had the offending update yet, so I'm happy to wait.


    Shoddy from Google though. How can they get this so wrong when its their hardware (I often think the same when Apple screw up their updates).

  4. owenm

    I recently had a thought. Android and iOS are on parity with features with very few advances with each release. Working in IT, why not switch between them with each alternative phone purchase to keep myself up to date on each platform?


    Working in enterprise IT, it's my job to stay on top of this stuff and explain it to customers.

  5. waethorn

    I've had a flip phone for the past 4 years. I've had exactly as many dropped calls as I've had software updates - NONE.

  6. Serling

    The fact that they are promising an update by late January shows you how deeply unserious this company truly is. You can’t do this crap on the 6th gen flagships. I tell everyone that is looking to upgrade phones to buy Apple and Samsung. The average consumer shouldn’t have to know what a flash tool is in almost any circumstance.

    • winner

      ...because Microsoft never waited 10 months to fix a critical Exchange bug that enabled foreign actors to infiltrate US companies, did they?

      • wright_is

        So did Exim, a widely used open source mail server. They were privately informed of a bug in October 2020, they released a patch shortly after Microsoft's Exchange in the May 2021 timeframe. I'm not defending Microsoft explicitly on this one*, just pointing out, Exchange (and Exim) are huge, complex systems and you can't just change a line of code and push out a fix, it takes weeks of work to make sure the bug has been found and fixed, and that nothing else broke in the process.


        A web browser misinterprets a tag and the page isn't rendered 100% correctly? Not that big a problem. You missed one check in a mail server and 20 years worth of corporate emails are trashed? Yep, that's a big problem!


        I'm not saying they weren't asleep at the wheel on this, but Exchange is such a huge and complex system (and they had to update 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 versions, with major paradigm shifts between 2010, 2013 and 2016, so you can't just patch & test once and say you are done), that it wouldn't surprise me that it took that long to find all the problems, patch, test, bug fix, test, bug fix, test and finally release. It has to work and it has to work in millions of possible constellations of real-world installations.


        (*) I use Exchange at work, because we have to. But I'm no Microsoft fan. I dumped Windows at home this year due to exasperation with their security problems, lying about Windows 11 and the general, Windows 11 is a step backwards for power users fiasco. My main PC is now running Linux and I also have a Pi400 running Ubuntu and an M1 Mac mini. But big software projects, especially business critical software is complex and often can't be patched in a weekend.

      • lvthunder

        Maybe that's why Microsoft wasn't on his list of recommendations. Also there is a difference between not fixing something and breaking something that was working.

  7. will

    I think most thought it was a quality issue, just would have been good to post on it sooner. Maybe Spotify can now do a similar post on what happened to HiFi they announced earlier this year?

  8. IanYates82

    I got a major update to my Samsung S21 ultra a few days ago. One UI v4 which I'm pretty sure means Android 12.


    So far it's all much the same, but I don't use much of the Samsung stuff so apart from some nicer notifications it's similar (MS launcher, edge browser, Outlook, etc)


    One thing that has annoyed me though is the return of Bluetooth issues... I had a problem that lasted a couple of months earlier this year where I'd have to restart the phone for it to work with Bluetooth. Guess what's returned since the update? :(

  9. brettscoast

    I would have to say that their inexplicable explanation of what's gone wrong with the update quite frankly falls far short of what you would expect from a major device manufacturer. You guys will need to have the patience of Job till you see these issues fixed. Considering everything this is nowhere near good enough from Google.

  10. jlmerrill

    I'm glad I bought a 5A 5G instead of a 6.

  11. michael

    Always worth reading to the end: "Happy Holidays from Google, you Pixel-loving idiots!" :-)

  12. Bart

    So, the update rolling out in the week of Jan 24-28 would be a fair assumption?

  13. ebarron

    FYI: I just checked and the update is installing for me now...

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