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Google downgrades Nexus 6 to Android 7.0

Just two months after rolling out its latest Android 7.1.1 Nougat update for the Nexus 6, Google is downgrading the smartphone to Android 7.0. The company says the move is to “guarantee future OTA updates,” but it is causing havoc for some.

As the Nexus 6 has aged, it’s been somewhat neglected by Google. Owners had to wait a lot longer than anticipated for their Nougat updates, and when they finally arrived, they brought a number of pesky problems. The latest, which came with the March security patch, completely breaks Android Pay, meaning users can no longer pay for goods using their phone.

With a new over-the-air update that started rolling out on Wednesday, Google is downgrading the Nexus 6 to Android 7.0, its first Nougat release. A verified employee on Reddit explains that the update is necessary to ensure that future updates can be issued correctly — but it’s unclear what the issue is with Android 7.1.1.

“There was a recent OTA update for Android 7.0 that is causing confusion for some Nexus 6 users,” the Googler explains. “For those of you that want to guarantee future OTA updates, you will need to get back on the 7.0 supported track. If you are experiencing issues after accepting the 7.0 update, please factory reset your device to help resolve any problems.”

Unfortunately, many Nexus 6 owners are experiencing issues after the downgrade — particularly when it comes to third-party apps, which will have been optimized for the Android 7.1.1 software that was previously running on their device. Google does not warn users that this could be an issue before they are prompted to downgrade.

There’s no explanation for the move yet, either — or why Android 7.1.1 isn’t on the “supported track” for the Nexus 6. We don’t know if the update will return, or whether Nexus 6 owners will be stranded with Android 7.0 from now on, with only minor patches to look forward to. Google has previously stated the device won’t be updated beyond Android 7.1.2.

Reddit Android Central

Killian Bell

Killian Bell is a 20-something technology journalist based in a tiny town in England. He has an obsession with that little company in Cupertino...