Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G Receive Unexpected February Update: Bug Fixes or More?

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In a move that surprised many Pixel owners, Google released an unexpected update for the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G on February 6, 2024. Both devices officially reached their end-of-life (EOL) in November 2023, meaning they were no longer eligible for further software support, including security patches and new features. This surprise update, therefore, stands out as an unusual occurrence.

Key Highlights:

  • Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, despite reaching end-of-life, received a surprise update in February 2024.
  • Update size suggests minor bug fixes, not the latest security patch.
  • Google’s motivation for this update remains unclear, sparking speculation in the Android community.

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What’s Included in the Update?

The update, with build number UP1A.231105.001.B2, is relatively small, clocking in at around 10MB. This suggests it primarily focuses on minor bug fixes rather than introducing new features or functionalities. Several reports indicate the update doesn’t even include the latest February 2024 security patch, leaving both devices on the November 2023 patch level.

Why the Update Now? Google Stays Mum

Google hasn’t provided any official explanation for this surprise update. This lack of transparency has fueled speculation within the Android community. Some speculate the update addresses critical bugs discovered after EOL, while others believe it represents an extension of support due to unforeseen circumstances.

What’s Included in the Update? A Deeper Dive

While the official size of the update is around 10MB, users digging deeper have identified specific fixes addressed. Reports mention improvements in:

  • Camera app stability: Users who encountered app crashes or glitches with the camera app report increased stability after the update.
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Some individuals with persistent Bluetooth pairing issues claim the update resolved their problems.
  • Battery life: While anecdotal, some users perceive slightly improved battery life after the update.

It’s important to note that these are user observations, not officially confirmed fixes. Additionally, the update doesn’t include new features or functionalities, staying true to its presumed focus on bug fixes.

Should You Install the Update?

While the exact nature of the update remains unclear, installing it is generally recommended. Even minor bug fixes can improve device stability and performance. Remember, however, that this update doesn’t bring the latest security patches, leaving your device potentially vulnerable to newer exploits. If security is a major concern, consider upgrading to a Pixel device still receiving active support.

What Does This Mean for Pixel Phone Support?

This surprise update doesn’t necessarily signal a change in Google’s EOL policy. It’s more likely a one-off response to address specific issues. For future Pixel models reaching EOL, users should still expect no further official software updates after the designated end date.

Looking Ahead: Continued Uncertainty

While this update provides unexpected support for Pixel 5 and 4a 5G users, it leaves the future of EOL devices shrouded in uncertainty. Google’s lack of communication leaves users wondering if similar exceptions might occur in the future. For those holding onto older Pixel devices, this event serves as a reminder that relying on unofficial support after EOL comes with inherent risks.

About the author


Jamie Davidson

Jamie Davidson is the Marketing Communications Manager for Vast Conference, a meeting solution providing HD-audio, video conferencing with screen sharing, and a mobile app to easily and reliably get work done."