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Google changed power saving settings on some Pixel devices — without users knowing

According to Google, the error came about due to an experiment being “mistakenly” rolled out to more users than intended.
By
September 14, 2018
Google Search bar Google Pixel 2 XL AA 3
TL;DR
  • A Google representative said the company automatically changed power saving mode settings on some devices.
  • This was due to an internal experiment that was “mistakenly” rolled out to more users than intended, according to Google.
  • Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 XL, and Essential Phone users were reportedly amongst those affected.

Google has admitted to changing the power saving mode settings automatically on some devices. According to a post on the company’s official Reddit account, this is due to the search giant having “mistakenly” rolled out an internal experiment to test battery saving to more users than intended. Google says it has now changed the setting back to the default.

On September 13, Reddit users reported that the power saving mode on their Google PixelPixel XL, and Pixel 2 XL phones had been set to turn on at 99 percent without their input. The Essential Phone was also reportedly affected. Those who noticed the change seemed to be running Android Pie and most reported having not recently installed any updates.

Google’s official statement (via Android Police) brought up more questions than answers. Many users wondered why Google thought it was okay to test out a feature on people who hadn’t agreed to be part of any beta program. Others were surprised that Google was even able to make such changes.

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The changes likely came due to the fact that the Google Play Services app has permission to change system settings by default.  While it is possible to turn this permission off, doing so could cause you to miss out on crucial updates.

However, it is nonetheless worrying to see Google take advantage of the setting for such a seemingly trivial experiment. Even if it does say it happened by accident.

Next up: Google Pixel 3: All the leaks and rumors in one place