For the second month in a row, Google has issued a monthly update to all supported Pixel handsets except the Pixel 6 series. The January 2022 Google Pixel Update is now available on the Pixel 3a, 4, 4a, 4a with 5G, 5, and 5a series of handsets.
“All supported Pixel devices running Android 12 will receive these software updates starting today, with the exception of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, which will receive the update later this month,” a Google support document notes. “The rollout will continue over the next week in phases depending on carrier and device. Users will receive a notification once the OTA (over-the-air) [update] becomes available for their device. We encourage you to check your Android version and update to receive the latest software.”
I checked for—and received—this update on my Pixel 5a yesterday, the day it was released, and then installed it immediately. This is how it has always worked with unlocked Pixel handsets, in my experience: Google issues a monthly update, you check for it, and it’s available immediately.
That was not the case, however, with the Pixel 6 Pro I purchased in November. When the first monthly update for this device was announced in December, Google for some reason delayed its release on Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro only by one week; other supported Pixels, including my Pixel 5a received it immediately. But when the day finally came, the update never arrived, and as the days and then weeks passed, Google remained silent.
Finally, three weeks later, Google admitted that it had silently “paused” the December update for the Pixel 6 series because of reliability issues. The new plan was to deliver it “by late January.” Given the language in the January 2022 Google Pixel Update, it’s reasonable to assume that Pixel 6 and 6 Pro users will simply get the January 2022 update “later this month,” and that it will include everything we expected a month ago.
And to be clear, this is a very important set of updates for the Pixel 6 series, which arrived in November with several high-profile problems related to its fingerprint reader, display, camera, and underlying system. Why Google can’t fix the one issue with the December update and deliver it more quickly is still very much unclear.