Android 8.1 Bug will Brick Devices if Users Forget their Lock Screen Password After Factory Reset

Google recently released the first system images for Android 8.1 Developer Preview 1 for the Nexus 5X and 6P, as well as first and second-generation Pixel devices. The update includes major fixes and improvements as well as some small under the hood changes.

Android 8.1 brings a lot of new features and changes like Automatic Light and Dark Themes, Neural Networks API, Programmatic Safe Browsing Actions etc. Nevertheless, a jarring issue with the update was recently stumbled upon by a Reddit user.

Reddit user tombolger discovered that failing to remember the unlock method of your phone running the Google’s latest Android 8.1 build will have dire consequences. Forgetting your device lock screen pattern/pin/password will lead to your device getting permanently bricked. In the preceding versions of Android (<8.1), the factory reset protection (FRP) was implemented in such a manner that the Google account password would be required after a full wipe of the device.

This is where Google has drastically changed the approach. Incongruous to its predecessors, Android 8.1 demands the lock screen security which was previously cached in your device after factory resetting your phone. It might be a move which was crafted and intended by design rather than being a gaffe to bolster and add another layer of device protection.

It renders stealing these phones worthless (apart from the parts) as no person would be able to use and setup these devices.

The Reddit user further added that there were no options to change the previously used lock screen security i.e. pattern, pin or password. Google technical support recommended that he RMA his device. He further described that flashing the stock image of Android 8.0 or downgrading to the previous version via fastboot failed to help. The error which he reported is shared in the image below.

Android Factory Reset Protection Lock Screen Password

Source: /u/Tombolger

On a related note, Android 8.0 has pushed “rollback protection” into the Verified Boot process. With rollback protection, Verified Boot will no longer start up an OS that it detects has been downgraded to an earlier version.

In the meantime, Google has not made an official statement regarding this uncertainty. This time Google might have taken its gusto for encryption and protection of devices a step too farWe will update this story when a development occurs.

Source:
u/tombolger