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This new Android 14 feature may be meant for the Pixel 8

Lacking hardware may prevent the Pixel 7 series from using the new safety feature on Android 14.

Published onFebruary 8, 2023

Android 14 UpsideDownCake
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
  • Android 14 has a new safety feature that protects against memory bugs.
  • The Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro don’t have compatible hardware to support the feature.
  • We might see it debut on the Pixel 8 series before it reaches other Android phones.

Google has released the first Android 14 developer preview, and code sleuths are busy digging out new features from the software update. One such feature coming to Android 14 is a safety update that likely targets Google’s upcoming Pixel 8 series.

Found by Mishaal Rahman of XDA Developers, the feature is called Advanced Memory Protection. It is designed to protect compatible phones from memory safety bugs, which, according to Google, accounted for over 60% of high-severity security vulnerabilities and millions of user-visible crashes till 2022.

If you’re running the Android 14 developer preview right now or when you get a build in the future, you’ll find the feature under Settings > Security & privacy > More security settings. Enabling it will toggle on memory tagging in supported devices running Android 14.

As Mishaal explains, Memory Tagging Extension (MTE) is a mandatory hardware feature on ArmV9 CPUs, which protects against memory violations that can compromise the security of your device. The new Android 14 feature enables Memory Tagging Extension on compatible ArmV8.5+ devices.

The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro feature the Tensor G2 chip that consists of ArmV8.2 CPU cores (Cortex X1, Cortex A78, and Cortex A55) instead of ArmV9 cores. That means the phones won’t be able to take advantage of the new feature when it comes with Android 14. However, the next set of Google flagships, aka the Pixel 8 series, may be the first to get the new memory protections if they feature ArmV9 cores like most other Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Gen 2 Android flagships.

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