It’s been two and a half years since Google and Motorola released the Nexus 6 smartphone, but it’s still supposed to be able to run the latest version of Android.
The rollout has been anything but smooth though. As Android Police notes, it took longer for Google to release Android 7.0 Nougat and then Android 7.1.1 for the Nexus 6 than for other phones, and there were a number of bugs along the way.
Now there’s something even stranger happening: some Nexus 6 users who are running Android 7.1.1 are being prompted to install a software update that downgrades the operating system to Android 7.0.
Several people have confirmed in a reddit thread that they’ve received the update. And at least one user complains that installing the update makes the phone pretty much unusable, since all apps will crash once it’s installed.
It sounds like this might be some sort of a mistake rather than an attempt by Google to address bugs in Android 7.1.1 for the phone by rolling users back to an earlier version.
Update: Nope. It’s not a mistake. Google provided an Android 7.1.1 ROM that users can flash, but OTA updates are only supported for Android 7.0. Users that want to continue using Android 7.1.1 will have to sideload the operating system and avoid installing any downgrade updates.
Android is usually designed to work well when upgrading from an older version of the operating system to a newer one. But going backward usually requires a factory reset (which means wiping all your data and re-installing apps after the new OS is loaded).
Since the Nexus 6 probably won’t be officially supported much longer, this might be as good a time as any for users to consider unlocking the bootloader and installing a custom ROM. Or if you haven’t installed the update/downgrade yet, you might just want to keep an eye out for it and not tap the install button.