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Google paused its Android Q Beta 4 update after bricking some Pixel phones

Published Jun 6th, 2019 4:27PM EDT
Android Q Beta 4
Image: Google

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Google released Android Q Beta 4 on Wednesday, but then, less than a day later, the company was forced to stop the rollout of the beta. It turns out that some Pixel devices were sent into boot loops after they applied the update, an issue that Google is looking to fix before re-releasing the update.

Pixel 2 XL owners seemed to be the most likely users to experience the boot looping problem, per Android Police, and the issue apparently had a quick fix. Some people on Reddit discovered that performing a factory reset would solve things, although this fix would erase all the data on the handset:

Never had any issues with installing the beta OTAs but with Beta 4, my Pixel 2 XL was stuck on the Google boot screen for an unusually long amount of time (over 40 minutes). I tried powering it off by holding the power button and after the second time, it took me to the Android Recovery screen and says “Cannot load Android system. Your data may be corrupt.” There’s also the option to “Try again” or “Factory data reset.”

Selecting “try again” just puts me in a boot-loop and fails. Is my only option to select “factory data reset” or can I still flash the OTA manually? My bootloader is locked, unfortunately.

Edit: I selected the option to “Factory data reset” and while everything’s gone now, at least I’m up and running now with a backup. Hooray!

Others reverted to restarting in recovery mode and rebooting from there, reporting mixed results:

First, restart and go to recovery mode (and if you get no command, hold the power button and press the volume up key.)

Reboot the phone from that menu, and it’ll boot back into the system perfectly (although the update did fail, you’ll have to retry)

These aren’t acceptable fixes for the problem, and a more permanent solution is needed.

Thankfully, Google is doing exactly that, according to a swift update to a post on Reddit that announced the Android Q Beta 4 release and changelog:

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.

Note: this post was edited to reflect that Beta 4 updates have now been paused on all devices.

Then again, the purpose of any beta release is to make sure these bugs are caught early and dealt with before the final version of the software is released. If you want to test Android Q before it launches this summer, make sure you back up your data before performing the install to avoid losing any data in case something similar happens.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.