Google will allow one group of Pixel users to rollback to Android 12

Google will allow one group of Pixel users to rollback to Android 12
The update to Android 13 for the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 6a came with an update to the Pixel bootloader. Simply put, the bootloader is software that is required to load the operating system and applications on your device. With the update, Google prevented Pixel users not happy with Android 13 for whatever reason, from rolling back their Pixels to Android 12. While this was done to prevent bad actors from taking advantage of any bootloader vulnerabilities, the update also prevents developers from rolling back to Android 12 and that is a problem.

A post made on the Android Developers website (via AndroidCentral) reveals that Google has devised a way for developers to rollback to Android 12, although Google does warn that this will require the phone in question to be wiped of all data. Google reminds developers to back up their data before proceeding.

The post explains what Google is doing for developers: "To facilitate app development and testing, we provide modified Android 12 system images for these Pixel devices called Developer Support images. Developer Support images are system images that are based on stable, public builds of Android 12 (API level 31) and the 12L feature drop (API level 32) that also include an updated version of the bootloader with security fixes and an incremented anti-rollback counter."

Obviously, the average non-developer Pixel owner should not be looking to rollback to Android 12 regardless if this method is used. If those words aren't enough for you to comply, Google itself notes that "Developer Support builds are for developers only and aren't suitable for general use." Get it? Got it? Good!

Additionally, devices that use the developer support builds do not get sent over-the-air (OTA) security updates, and Developer Support images do not feature the latest security patches. The Developer Support images do feature an updated bootloader that includes security fixes and an incremented anti-rollback counter. Google notes that the Dev Support images are not verified, official releases of Android and are meant only to be used by app developers who are testing their wares.

Google reminds developers to use the issue tracker if they find a new issue that has yet to be brought to its attention. If you're not a developer and wanted to know if you could rollback to Android 12 on your Pixel 6 series phone, the answer is a resounding "No!" And if you want to know why Google won't let you do this, well, now you know.

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