Pixel & Nexus January Android 8.1 Update: What to Know

Pixel & Nexus January Android 8.1 Update: What to Know is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

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.

Pixel & Nexus January Android 8.1 Update: What to Know is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

6 Things to Know About the November Pixel 2 Android Oreo Update

6 Things to Know About the November Pixel 2 Android Oreo Update is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about the latest November Pixel 2 XL Android 8.0 Oreo update. Including the changes that will fix the Pixel 2 XL screen issues.

The November Pixel 2 Android Oreo update is the monthly security patch for Google’s new phone. While most Nexus and Pixel devices received patches to protect their device, the Pixel 2 update is fixing problems too.

Google’s latest Oreo release is small, coming in around 59MB, but it has important changes that will have a big impact on your phone. You’ll want to know what’s new and get familiar with it before you download the update.

And while many Pixel 2 owners will likely download the new Android 8.0 update right away, some might be better off waiting or knowing what to expect ahead of time.

The company’s November Android Oreo update is rolling out right now as an over-the-air software update. If you didn’t get it on November 6th, you should see it today or within the next 24-48 hours.

Our guide below goes over all the important things you need to know about software changes, display fixes, and device performance after the update.

We’ll explain some steps to take before installing the November Android Oreo update. Detail some of the current problems plaguing users. Then offer some tips to help you get the most from your phone. In closing, we’ll look at what’s coming next for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

November Pixel 2 Android Oreo Update Impressions

November Pixel 2 Android Oreo Update Impressions

Everyone with a Pixel 2 is already enjoying Google's latest Android 8.0 Oreo update. That means this release is small, and you won't notice any major changes. The entire download and installation should only take a few minutes. 

In fact, at just 59MB in size, this is a small, fast, and painless update for most. 

We've been using the Pixel 2 November Oreo update for the last 24 hours and have been keeping an eye on performance, battery life, and testing Bluetooth. Three key areas for a lot of owners. 

This update added a slew of changes to Bluetooth for Android 8.0 Oreo. Google fixed connectivity as a whole, made changes to car connectivity, patched some security issues, and a few other things for developers. We're not experiencing any problems with Bluetooth on the Pixel 2 November update. It connects fine, does so very fast, and hasn't dropped once. The November update should fix Bluetooth problems once and for all, at least according to Google. This is for all devices, not just the Pixel 2. 

Battery life is as expected, working exactly the same as it was before the update. Which is to say it's pretty great. I got over 6 hours of screen-on time yesterday and didn't need to recharge the Pixel 2 XL until this morning. Even after doing something as intensive as a software update. 

If you didn't get the update yet head to Settings > System > System Updates > Check for update.

If that doesn't work, open the phone dialer and type *#*#2432546#*#* to force check. It will say check-in succeeded. Then, wait about a minute and you should get the update. Here's how to install it manually if you don't want to wait. 

6 Things to Know About the November Pixel 2 Android Oreo Update is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

How to use Android Oreo Picture-in-Picture Mode

How to use Android Oreo Picture-in-Picture Mode is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

In this guide we’ll show you how to use picture-in-picture mode on Android 8.0 Oreo, and share a list of the best apps that take advantage of it. After being available for nearly a year on Android TV, and something you’ve probably enjoyed on cable, picture-in-picture mode is now included with Oreo.

Sadly, there aren’t too many apps that support this feature right now. However, as Android 8.0 Oreo continues to arrive for more devices, developers will add it to their apps. Giving us more ways to make the most of our devices.

Read: What’s New in Android 8.0 Oreo

Google’s Picture-in-Picture mode is similar to multi-window, but it works completely different. You’re able to see and get Google Maps navigation instructions while reading a text message. Or minimize YouTube to answer a quick phone call or check your email. Check out the video below to see Android Oreo PIP mode, and a list of great apps to try it on.

The new Picture-in-picture mode works just like you probably remember it on cable boxes or your television. While you’re using Google Maps, YouTube, Netflix, or even VLC simply hit the home button. Instead of just going home, YouTube shrinks to the corner of your screen and keeps playing.

You’re then able to move it around, or expand it back to full screen and continue right where you left off. It’s worth noting that the system works the same for all apps, but how you actually get into PIP mode is slightly different on some.

For example, and as shown above, on Google Chrome you need to open a video to full-screen mode first. Then hit the home button to start PIP. You’ll see it on the bottom right, and it continues to play. Tap the window for an expanded look at the controls and options. You can pause, play, fast forward, close or open the video back to full-screen.

To dismiss the PIP window completely tap on it and hit the X, or simply drag it off the screen and let go. On VLC, you have to manually select PIP mode from the menu with a video playing. Try picture-in-picture mode with any of the apps below.

Best Apps that Support Picture-in-Picture Mode on Android Oreo

We first saw support with Google Maps, but it’s slowly expanding to other applications. In the coming weeks and months, we expect the list of supported apps to grow. This is the short list of apps that work so far.

  • Google Chrome
  • YouTube
  • Google Play Movies & TV
  • Duo
  • Google Maps
  • VLC (beta version)
  • Netflix
  • YouTube Red
  • YouTube TV
  • Pocket Casts
  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp (Beta)
  • Facebook

Most of these work without any changes. However, for WhatsApp you’ll need the latest beta. Or with Facebook, start watching a video then hit the home button. It doesn’t work throughout Facebook.

If you’d like, you can check and see what apps you have installed that work in PIP mode. Head to Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > Special Apps Access > and select Picture-in-picture.

These apps support Picture-in-picture mode on Oreo

In here you’ll see all the apps that work with this new Android 8.0 Oreo feature. To use PIP on VLC go to the Google Play Store, find VLC, and scroll to the bottom and tap “Yes, I’m in” to join the beta program. Then download the latest version of the app. We expect this to roll out for all users in the coming weeks.

Again, this is a very small list of apps that support a pretty great feature. This is something Android users have asked about for years, and it’s finally available. We expect some of the most popular video and media player apps to add it soon, including music players and more.

We’ll continuously update this list with the latest apps with Android Oreo picture-in-picture support. Before you go, check out how Android 8.0 compares to Android 7.0 Nougat.

How to use Android Oreo Picture-in-Picture Mode is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

4 Reasons to Install the Pixel Android 8.1 Oreo Update & 2 Reasons You Shouldn’t

4 Reasons to Install the Pixel Android 8.1 Oreo Update & 2 Reasons You Shouldn’t is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

Google recently released the official Android 8.1 Oreo update and it’s a tempting upgrade for Pixel and Pixel 2 owners. While there are certainly some new features and bug fixes worth trying, there are also reasons to avoid being one of the first to try Android 8.1 Oreo right away.

This is the first major update and milestone release to Android Oreo since it arrived in August. Delivering a slew of bug fixes and security patches, meaning it’s an important update for your phone.

Read: How to Install Android 8.1 Right Now

Users with any of Google’s recent devices have or will soon get the update. Here we’ll be sharing details on the Pixel and Pixel 2 update and if it’s worth installing. Of course, eventually everyone will get it, but here are some benefits, downsides, and risks for early adopters.

Android Oreo comes with a slew of new features and controls, all of which users have enjoyed since it arrived in August. However, users are facing lots of different problems and are looking for a solution. The update comes with some new features but it’s the bug fixes most are after. Especially when it comes to security, Bluetooth, and the Pixel 2 XL screen worries.

That said, there are more than a few reasons to avoid it during the first few weeks. We’re seeing reports of installation problems, battery drain, and for some, the update isn’t even available yet. Things always calm down after the initial rollout, and it might be worth waiting to see how things go. Often times, we see a few early bugs and a second update to quickly fix them.

We recommend waiting a few more days to see if there are any major problems. The update is still slowly rolling out, and most that have it got it by manually installing the files from Google. That’s also where some of the problems come from. Which is why we recommend waiting for the official over-the-air update notification.

We’ve been using the official Android 8.1 update on our Pixel XL and Pixel 2 and today we want to walk you through some reasons why you should, and shouldn’t, install it today.

Install Android 8.1 If You Can't Wait

Install Android 8.1 If You Can't Wait

Google announced the official Android 8.1 release on December 5th, but it's still not rolling out as an over the air update. We're expecting it by the end of the week, or early next week. 

If you're experiencing problems with 8.0 or just don't want to wait, go ahead and install it yourself with the factory images. After a few months of beta testing, the experience should be mostly positive. 

Another reason is that once the updates do start rolling out, that doesn't necessarily mean you'll get it right away. We've seen updates take upwards of 2-3 weeks for some. And in a few cases, even longer. That means you won't have Google's stable and safest software update the end of the year, or in early 2018. 

Again, if you want it right now, here's how

4 Reasons to Install the Pixel Android 8.1 Oreo Update & 2 Reasons You Shouldn’t is a post by Cory Gunther from Gotta Be Mobile.

How to flash Android Oreo on your Pixel or Nexus

Google may have launched the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL with Android 8.0, but we’re already getting a taste of the next version of Android. As of right now, Android 8.1 Oreo is available as a developer preview, though the final version is slated for release before the end of the year. If you aren’t keen on enrolling in the Android Beta Program for whatever reason, you can manually flash it to a supported device.

So what devices will work with Android 8.1 Oreo? The Google Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 5X all made the cut. As for how hard it is to flash? Actually, it’s pretty easy. There are a few hoops to jump through, but nothing too difficult. Of course, as with everything flashing, you’re doing so at your own risk.

For those that are familiar with flashing, there’s really nothing new about this process with Android Oreo. If you’re never flashed an update at all, this guide will take you through everything you need to know about the process.

What will you need before you get started?

  • A compatible Nexus or Pixel device along with a USB cable to connect it to your computer.
  • The Android SDK installed on your machine with ADB and Fastboot command successfully working. Here’s a tutorial on how to do that.
  • You’ll also need the appropriate factory image for your device. Go to this website to download them and make sure you get the right one for your device. It’s worth it to spend a moment to make sure you have the right one rather than have to deal with the issues of downloading the wrong one.
  • You’ll also need 7zip or a similar program that can handle .tgz and .tar files. You can download 7zip for free here.
  • You will also need to unlock your bootloader. Beware, this will erase your data. It’s also worth noting that flashing a factory image will also erase your data. Make sure to back it up!

Unlocking your bootloader

Before you get started, if your phone’s bootloader has never been unlocked, you’ll need to do a few extra steps before manually installing Android O. Remember, opening the bootloader will reset your phone, losing all personal data.

With that out of the way:

  1. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to turn on developer options. To do so, you just need to go to “About Phone” and tap seven times on “Build Number”.
  2. From there, enable USB debugging and OEM unlock on your Nexus/Pixel device. These can be found in “developer options” section.
  3. Go ahead and plug in your device to your PC via USB cable now.
  4. Open a command window on the PC.
  5. Boot your Pixel device into bootloader mode using the following command: adb reboot bootloader (if it requests you to authorize this, say yes)
  6. Your device will boot into bootloader mode. From here type the command: fastboot flashing unlock
  7. For the Pixel family, you’ll get a confirmation screen. Press Volume Up to highlight yes, and power to select it. This will begin bootloader unlocking process.
  8. Once unlocked, your device will reboot into bootloader mode. Now you simply need to type fastboot reboot.
  9. During this reboot, your device will go through a factor reset. This part is now over.

How to manually install Android Oreo on a Nexus or Pixel device

Keep in mind that this process is pretty straightforward, but things can and do go wrong if you don’t carefully follow instructions. With that out of the way, here’s what you need to do:

  1. If you aren’t in the bootloader menu still, you’ll need to go back in. From here, you’ll want to test that your device and PC are communicating by typing fastboot devices — if it comes back with your device’s serial number, you’re golden. If not, you’ll probably need to hit up Google search for some troubleshooting.
  2. Next, it’s time to prepare the factory image you downloaded earlier. On your computer, use 7zip to extract the .tgz file you downloaded. Use 7zip a second time to extract the .tar file you extracted from the .tgz. When you’re done, you should have a folder with several files in it.
  3. Copy all of these files and paste them in the platform-tools folder in the Android SDK on your computer. If you followed the above tutorial, this should be under the C drive, then under Program Files (x86) on Windows. Linux users, you know where you put it.
  4. There are two flash-all files. If you’re in Windows, you’ll want to double click the one that has the gear logo and says “Windows Batch File” on the right. If you’re on Linux, you’ll want to double click the flash-all.sh.
  5. At this point a box should pop up and you should see the installation taking place. While this is going on, do not unplug your device for any reason. Let it do its thing.
  6. Once the installation process as finished, your device will automatically reboot and you should see the Android O boot animation start up. You can now safely disconnect your device from your computer.

That should be it. If this method doesn’t work for you for whatever reason, there are a few other ways to go about things and to figure out the method that works best for you, we suggest either ask away in the comments to see if anyone can help you out, or hit up Google search. Additionally, checkout the Android Authority Forums and ask there if you can’t quite get things figured out. Good luck, have fun, and we hope you enjoy the latest preview!