February is already one-third underway, yet the Google Play System update for Android, dated January 2024, is only just beginning its rollout. Initially released at the onset of January, this update gained notoriety for inadvertently locking users out of their phone’s local storage, leading to its swift retraction.
Rectification Efforts and Gradual Reintroduction
Reportedly, the update has now been rectified and is gradually being reintroduced to devices. According to Google, the problematic Android update was described as “multiple apps crashing, screenshots not saving, and external storage working inconsistently.” This was during the first time the update was rolled out last month when multiple user accounts and work profiles experienced problems. Users, on the other hand, described this update as “unusable.”
Subsequently, Google issued instructions for a manual fix on February 1, approximately two weeks after the update’s initial rollout. However, these instructions were quite complicated for the average user, requiring them to enable developer mode, download new developer tools, plug in the phone to a computer, and type in the right commands to manually buggy packages that were causing problems. While Google hinted at an automated fix in its February 1 post, it’s been nine days since then with no sign of its release.
New Format of Updates
With the December Play System update postponed due to the holiday season, this “January” update arriving in February marks the initial Play System update since November. For those unfamiliar, Play System updates represent a relatively recent Android update format distinct from OS-level system and security updates. Google delivers these updates via the Play Store, enabling direct updates to core Android components without relying on third-party manufacturers for implementation. While this approach appears promising in theory, its success ultimately hinges on the functionality of the updates themselves. But this is the second time in four months such an update has broken Pixel phones with downtimes measuring as long as weeks.