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Android Q might give carriers stricter ways to lock phones

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Carriers might be able to blacklist specific carriers on Q

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

We probably won’t have the full details about Android Q for a few months, although a leak from last week should give us an idea of what to expect, including a system-wide dark mode and better security options. New code posted to Android’s Gerrit source code management, discovered by 9to5Google, has revealed that Q might bring some unpleasant changes in the form of increased carrier control over locking down devices to specific SIM cards.

The first change would allow carriers even more control over which SIM cards do and don’t work with a specific device, creating a list of “allowed” and “excluded” carriers that could be used to block things like MVNOs — even on devices that support the main carrier that those networks are using.

The other change would create even more restrictions to dual-SIM devices by allowing carriers add a limitation that would block the second slot from functioning at all unless a SIM card from an approved carrier was in the first slot. This would give carriers even more control over how customers use their devices.

It’s still early days, however. Android Q has yet to be announced, let alone even ship, and even if these options do make it to the final version of Android, carriers will still have to choose to enable them. That’s not even considering the fact that unlocked phones likely won’t be affected at all. But for customers who do buy phones through carriers, the new limitations could be something to consider when the first Q phones start to roll out sometime this fall.