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March 2019 Android security patch is here for Pixel and Essential devices

The update also has some functional fixes for the Pixel 3 line, and Digital Wellbeing for the PH-1.

Published onMarch 4, 2019

google pixel 3 clearly white color design

We are officially in March, which means it’s time for Google to reveal the latest Android security patch for its line of Pixel devices. Right on schedule, the search giant is rolling out the patch now to Google Pixel smartphones and the Google Pixel C tablet.

Also right on the money, Essential is rolling out this patch to the Essential Phone right now, too. This update notably brings Digital Wellbeing support to the handset.

The March 2019 Android security patch resolves many security vulnerabilities. While none of the bugs had been used to harm users, below is the most severe problem that is getting patched.

The most severe of these issues is a critical security vulnerability in Media framework that could enable a remote attacker using a specially crafted file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process. The severity assessment is based on the effect that exploiting the vulnerability would possibly have on an affected device, assuming the platform and service mitigations are turned off for development purposes or if successfully bypassed.

Pixel-specific updates

Along with the security patch, Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL devices are also receiving some functional updates. Unlike last month, Google is actually listing out what those updates are:

  • Improved startup and responsiveness of the camera app
  • Improved recovery in the instance of OTA failure
  • Improved storage performance
  • Improved Bluetooth reliability
  • Improved playback of encrypted media in some video apps
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Google Pixel 3 XL vs Pixel 3 screen

Some of those updates will likely be very welcome to Pixel owners who are dealing with these various issues. Let us know in the comments if this update brings any big difference for usability.

If you don’t want to wait for the February security patch to make its way to your phone or tablet, you can download the latest factory image or OTA file from the links below. From there, you can either flash a fresh build to your phone or sideload the OTA update.

As a reminder, Google has stopped pushing updates to the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. If you’re still using either handset, you will have to check for third-party ROMs and other resources online if you want ongoing firmware and security upgrades.

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