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Pixel & Nexus January Android 8.1 Update: What to Know



Kicking off 2018 Google released a new January Android Oreo update for PixelPixel 2 and Nexus devices. This brings your device up to date with Google’s latest security patches, bug fixes, and new features. Then, in late January released another Android 8.1 Oreo update. Here’s what to know and which devices are getting updates first.

For those with an eligible phone, the January Android 8.1 Oreo update is readily available. Google is keeping good on its promise to release security patches each month. Additionally, they released an extra build for multiple different versions of its phones.

Read: Everything That’s New in Android Oreo

This January Android 8.1 update is available for the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, and the Pixel C Tablet. This is an important update that could affect your device and its performance. It started rolling out January 3rd, and here’s everything you need to know.

Every month Google updates all of its devices. These updates deliver the latest security patches, bug fixes, and occasionally new features. January’s release adds key security patches, fixes drivers for Bluetooth, WiFi, touchscreen responsiveness and a few other things.

Nexus & Pixel January Android Oreo Update Details

Starting Wednesday, January 3rd, multiple devices received this update. Google made the announcement on the 2nd, but sent the updates out a few days later. This is a free software update for all eligible devices and comes right from Google or those with a Pixel on Verizon. This is a small, fast and painless update that should only take a few minutes to complete.

Then, on January 23rd Google released more Android 8.1 Oreo update files. These are OTA files and factory images for the Verizon Pixel 2, along with SoftBank and Telstra Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P devices. Basically, a quick carrier-exclusive bug fixing update that was important enough that it couldn’t wait until February.

Typically these updates have between 20-30 changes mostly in the form of security patches, but occasionally other bugs or glitches are also fixed. Sometimes, Google slips in new features like for the aging Nexus 5. The January release made a change to improve the stability and performance of devices after installing an OTA update.

This means you likely won’t see anything new, or notice any major changes, but it’s still an important update we recommend everyone download and install. Especially because this is the first security patch after the December Android 8.1 Oreo update.

January Oreo Update Fixes & Patches

In November, Google issued a slew of fixes for Bluetooth to all of Android. Meaning the update wasn’t just for Nexus and Pixel users. However, we’re not seeing anything similar in the January release. It’s mainly to patch bugs or exploits and keep up with the latest security standards. We aren’t seeing device-specific changes.

That said, this release has the full patch notes for Android and a separate list of changes for Nexus and Pixel devices. We’re seeing a total of 20 entries for Android, with only four listed as Critical or High. Then, roughly 50+ for Nexus and Pixel devices with nothing listed as critical. Basically, this is a small security update and nothing more.

If you’re having problems with Google Music, or the Assistant, the January 23rd update fixed some bugs in that area. In closing, we did notice an entry for Bluetooth, WiFi, Touchscreen drivers, the kernel, and general device stability. Meaning we’re expecting some Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL bug fixes in the January upgrade.

When Will It Arrive?

For most users, this is an important update. Not only because it patches important security holes, but for potential bug fixes. It started rolling out January 3rd, and most are already enjoying it. Then, for those with other carrier models expect the update starting on January 23rd. This is via an over the air software update, or manual installation using the factory images.

Read: 15 Common Pixel 2 XL Problems & How to Fix Them

Some users manually installed the update with factory images, but are experiencing some od device slow-down. Just reboot your phone, and everything should be fine after.

That said, typically these monthly updates hit devices within a few hours of the announcement. With Google’s blog post on the 2nd, users will start getting updates on January 3rd, and throughout the week.

Those with a Verizon Pixel or Pixel 2 should see the update this week also. To get started head to Settings > About Phone > and check for updates.

Other Details

All said and done, expect an update on your Nexus or Pixel device within the next few days if you don’t have it already. You won’t notice anything new, but the phone will be more secure and better prepared for the future. Again, this update is only on Nexus and Pixel phones and tablets. Which means those with a Samsung, HTC, Motorola or other devices will have to wait for updates from that specific manufacturer. Most users are still waiting for Android 8.0 from their respective manufacturers, like Samsung. That’s likely coming within the next few weeks.

If you manually install this update, make sure you download the right factory images from Google’s site. Some phones have two versions available. No matter what version of Android Oreo you are on if you’re having problems we have a few tips. Those experiencing issues should check out this post for more help. Stay tuned for more details and drop a comment below with any questions or concerns about the January Nexus and Pixel Android Oreo update.

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