Yesterday, Google released the fourth beta for Android Q, which was made available via OTA updates for Pixels and might have hinted at improved face unlock for future devices. Unfortunately, some number of Pixel users who downloaded and installed the Over-The-Air update have run into problems: their phones “bootlooped,” going into a constant reset state.
We’re aware of an issue with Android Q Beta 4 related to installing updates. We’ve temporarily paused Beta 4 OTA updates to all Pixel devices as we investigate the issue. We apologize for any inconvenience, and will provide an update once the issue is resolved.
Pretty boilerplate, but it’s weird that this note is appearing just as an update on a Reddit post — the Android twitter account hasn’t even noted it yet.
It’s also a black eye for what has otherwise been a fairly reliable program for Google over the years. It’s especially ironic because Google has been working to change the way Android installs updates work. There is a method called “A/B (Seamless) System Updates” which is supposed to work a little like how Chrome OS does it: when a new OS update comes in, it’s installed in a separate partition. When the phone resets, it checks out the new update and if it’s fine, it switches over. If it’s not, Android should be able to just revert back to the known good version of the OS. For whatever reason, that safety net failed for this beta update.
If you’re on the beta and haven’t installed the update yet, you should definitely hold off if it appears on your phone. If you’re one of the unlucky ones, Android Central has a few steps you can try to recover your phone (but it might involve a factory reset, sorry).
For everybody else: this is why you shouldn’t install beta builds of software on your primary phone. No matter how normalized it’s become in recent years with both Google and Apple offering public betas, they’re called “Beta” for a reason.