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Google releases March security patch for Pixel and Nexus devices

Almost anyone else with an Android device will likely wait a few years until the patch hits their devices.

Published onMarch 6, 2018

  • Google started rolling out the March security update for Pixel and Nexus devices.
  • The 03/05/2018 patch date includes its own set of fixes, as well as those included in the 03/01/2018 patch date.
  • The patch includes several vulnerability fixes and a handful of functional updates for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

It’s the beginning of the month, which means it’s time for Google to release the March 2018 security patch for Pixel and Nexus devices. The security patch comes in two dates: 03/01/2018 and 03/05/2018. The 03/05/2018 patch date includes its own set of fixes, as well as those addressed by the 03/01/2018 update.

The March security patch cleans up vulnerabilities tied to the media framework and one’s ability to run arbitrary code using a specially crafted media file. Keep in mind that these are issues that affect every operating system, unless someone figures out a better way to package up media files.

The patch also includes fixes from NVIDIA and Qualcomm, as well as fixes for the upstream Linux kernel that address vulnerable issues in the USB driver. You can learn more about the fixes in the Android security bulletin and the Pixel/Nexus security bulletin.

Security fixes are not the only things included in the patch, as it throws in three functional updates for the latest Pixel devices:

  • Improve screen wake performance with fingerprint unlock (Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL)
  • Improve audio performance when recording video (Pixel 2 XL)
  • Improve crash reporting (Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL)

That first functional update will come as good news to those who noticed a slightly slowed-down fingerprint sensor following the Android 8.1 Oreo update. Google said it would reach out to affected device owners back in December, so it is nice to see something come of it.

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You have your choice of either factory images or OTA files. Factory images require an unlocked bootloader, but you can flash them on top of anything. OTA files do not require an unlocked bootloader and do not delete your data.

Keep in mind that there are no carrier-specific builds for Pixel devices, though the same cannot be said of the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. Also, files for the Pixel C are not yet available, but that should change in the coming days.

Alternatively, you can wait for the OTA update to hit your device. That can take its time, since Google goes with staged rollouts for software releases, but it allows the search giant to stop the update if a serious issue pops up.

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