Google is warning owners of recent Pixel smartphones that upgrading to Android 13 will be permanent – there will be no way for them to revert back to Android 12 or an earlier OS.
Specifically, if you own a Google Pixel 6, Google Pixel 6 Pro, or the new Google Pixel 6a and you upgrade to the latest operating system, you will not be able to revert to a previous version. So while Android 13 is already available to install, you might want to think twice if you want to downgrade to earlier Android operating systems.
The warning appeared on Google Factory images page – a font that allows older versions of Android to be quickly installed on Google smartphones. In the notice, Google says that “the Android 13 update for Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro and Pixel 6a contains a bootloader update that increments the anti-roll back version. Once you flash a version of Android 13 on these devices, you will not be able to flash older versions of Android 12.”
Blinking here is effectively another word for update, so you might read the last part saying that once you update your smartphone to Android 13, you can’t go back.
Unless you have a specific reason to downgrade, there’s usually no need to revert to an older OS on any device – especially if you’re concerned about your digital security and want your apps to work. But with Google’s new change to how its updates work, Pixel owners might want to take a little care before updating their operating system.
While this Android 13 release should be stable – with the issues resolved thanks to months of beta testing – issues with operating systems are not uncommon. Just look at Microsoft’s Windows 11 – this operating system has faced endless issues that often make users choose to downgrade to older versions of Windows.
That said, if you’ve already updated to Android 13, don’t panic. Going forward, you might want to wait a few days before downloading a new Android OS, to make sure there aren’t any major bugs that you’re stuck with until Google fixes them.
It’s unclear why the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and Pixel 6a are unique among Google’s phones in not allowing you to downgrade from Android 13, and it’s unclear whether this limitation will affect other devices that support Android 13. We’ve reached out to Google to learn more and will update this article if we receive a response.
If you have Android 13 installed, check out this fun easter egg that will fill your screen with cats.