Google engineer Dan Morrill talks about Android OTA updates and why you need to be patient

Google engineer Dan Morrill talks about Android OTA updates and why you need to be patient
Every time the words "an Android system update is rolling out" is uttered on the Internet, there is a sudden barrage of comments with constant updates on who has and hasn't gotten the update, as well as furious googling to find out how you might be able to trick the system into getting you the over-the-air (OTA) update faster. Well, Dan Morrill of Google wants you make sure you don't follow the answer that you'd find to that question.

The general advice that you'll find on the web about getting an OTA update faster is to go into your app settings and clear the Google Service Framework data. According to Morrill, what this effectively does is change the primary ID that Google servers use to identify your device, which is basically like doing a factory reset without losing your data. This breaks the connection to Google Cloud Messenger, and will have a number of negative side-effects like messing with push notifications, and generally making apps that use GCM act screwy until it figures out what your new ID is (which sometimes won't happen unless you wipe the data for that app.)

Unfortunately, what this doesn't do is help you to get your OTA faster. Actually, Morrill suggests that if you're impatient, the best option is to do an adb sideload of the update package (assuming this is available for your device and you know what you're doing of course). Additionally, Morrill says that going to the Software Updates settings menu and mashing the "Check for updates" button also doesn't help you at all. 

Morrill also goes on to explain how and why Google does OTA rollouts of software. Essentially, the first 24-48 hours after the announcement of an update, only about 1% of devices will actually receive the update itself. If the error reports come back clean, the rollout will continue going at 25% of the user-base at a time until it gets to everyone, which Morrill says typically takes one to two weeks. 

Good things to keep in mind. All in all, the end result is just be patient, because there isn't much that you can do to get your update any faster. 

source: Reddit (GCM & OTA) via Android Police



1. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

Just happens when you think you're too smart and you mess around with the framework, freedom to be a stupid clown *smh*

2. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

I take back those words ^

3. abhishek2201

Posts: 9; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

This entire article deserves a one word reply : XDA If you want so much off your android device, and explore how brilliant the android platform is, look for your device on xda. It's 'messing' around when you are ignorant, when you explore and 'mess' around too much, you become a developer. And no you don't destroy your device unless you are dumb enough or don't read english well. I have a Xperia Sola I purchased back in june last year, which had recieved it's last update at 4.0.4, and I was just trying out the first build of KitKat 4.4 (CM 11) for my device a couple of days back :) P.S. It's great.

6. JakeLee

Posts: 1021; Member since: Nov 02, 2013

What do you think how many people actually do that, or even know about custom ROMs in first place? That I call the distortion field all those Android die-hards are in. Do you think that Android's current "dominance" (a very fragile one IMO) is due to the freedom you are so fascinated by? Admitted, my nephews love their *cheap*, *second hand* Android phones because they can root them and install some *shady* apps that allow hex-editing save files of their favorite *pirated* games. Even though they love that particular *freedom*, they would replace them with iPhone as low as 4S anytime, but iPhones are simply way too *expensive* for them.

8. E34V8

Posts: 109; Member since: Dec 16, 2011

Suuure. In what reality are you living? Have you seen all the Android flagships? The ones with full HD screens (400+ ppi) and superb performance. Anyway, the freedom of Android is not only in rooting it. In fact, the great thing about the OS is that you can do almost anything, without root. I'm talking about the simplest things like choosing your default web browser or app, freely managing files with a file manager, sending and receiving files, streaming flash videos, full integration with all apps and services... the list of simple things iOS can't do is endless, no time for all of them. But hey, you can do selfies and post them on fb... so a guess iPhone wins :D Go troll some other thread with your expensive iPhones.

10. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

oh man... your answer was great

4. 1701nino unregistered

How come Apple releases the update foe everybody at once? Ohh thats right they don't care about their customers and just wanna rip off people. BTW just got OTA for krt16S on my N4 two days after zhe begginig of the rollout(pleasantly surprised).

7. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Still waiting for update on my wifi Nexus 7 (2013). It's sad that a oem phone (Moto X) will be getting update before my Nexus device

9. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Update* This article is soooo wrong! When I was waiting for 4.2 update I tried clearing Google sfd & it worked. Now just received my kitkat update after clearing Google sfd & trying again. It can definitely speed up the ota update process!

11. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

Who said that it didnt work was Dan Morrill of Google, do you really think he would say "Yep, go clean your service homework to get the update and screw our rolling out schedule"???

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