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WHOOPs: Google re-sent the Verizon version of Android 12 to non-Verizon Pixels

If you just got a notification to re-install Android 12, we'd advise you to skip it.

Published onNovember 10, 2021

android 12 easter egg on google pixel 5
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • Some Pixel owners worldwide are receiving a notification to re-install Android 12.
  • The update is the Verizon version of the operating system — even though the phones receiving it are not Verizon models.
  • We would advise users to skip this update until Google explains the situation.

In October, supported Pixel devices received the new upgrade to Android 12. At the beginning of this month, those same Pixels received an update to the November security patch. This is all normal and expected.

However, today some Pixel owners are seeing a new update that asks them to update to Android 12 — again. We’re seeing reports from multiple places, including Reddit and this Google support thread. Interestingly, the update notification appears to be mostly identical to the update they saw back in October when they jumped from Android 11 to Android 12.

See also: All Google Pixel phones released so far

Although Google hasn’t issued a statement yet, all evidence suggests the company erroneously pushed the Verizon-exclusive Android 12 upgrade to non-Verizon Pixels. We’ve reached out to the company to get clarity on this, but hadn’t received a response before publishing.

Evidence for this theory includes an examination of the MD5 checksum of both the new download notification and the Verizon Android 12 update. Additionally, some folks have already installed the update and report their build numbers now match with those from Verizon handsets.

Theoretically, the big differences between a Verizon version of Android and a non-Verizon version would be related to radio bands. Verizon uses mmWave for its 5G connections, for example, while most 5G networks around the world use Sub6. Verizon also is a CDMA-based network while most others are GSM. With that in mind, there’s probably nothing wrong with installing this update, but it probably wouldn’t do you any good, either.

Until Google makes a formal statement on this, we would advise people not to download this update. If you already did, you probably won’t have too many problems. However, this could negatively affect your ability to make a clean switch to the next updates coming down the road.

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