December security update brings fixes for memory, camera, and more to the Google Pixel smartphones
At the beginning of every month, Google releases new Android security patches for their devices and outlines updates for the ecosystem as a whole. These updates are usually not terribly exciting with a few notable fixes here and there. This month, however, includes pretty big updates for the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel, and Pixel 2 XL. Google is finally addressing the aggressive RAM management, among other things.
The Pixel/Nexus Security Bulletin this month includes a whopping 13 functional patches, most of which are for Pixel 3 devices. You’ll notice the theme around the patches is “improved” and “adjusted.”
|Performance||Improved memory performance in certain circumstances||Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
|Camera||Improved camera capture performance||Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
|Pixel Stand||Improved notification visibility when using Pixel Stand||Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
|Android Auto||Improved Android Auto compatibility||Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
|Camera||Adjusted autofocus behavior||Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
|Pixel Stand||Improved hotword performance when using Pixel Stand||Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
|Display||Improved Always On Display triggering||Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
|Audio||Improved USB-C Audio accessory detection||Pixel 3 XL|
|Bluetooth||Adjusted volume behavior when toggling Bluetooth||Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
|Android Auto||Improved audio performance for when using Android Auto in certain vehicles||Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
|Media||Improved contouring on HDR color on certain media apps||Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
|Camera||Improved camera shutter performance||Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
|Performance||Improve unlocking performance when using Bluetooth||Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL|
The first patch on the list is something Pixel owners have been complaining about for a while. Google stuck with 4GB of RAM on the Pixel 3 and the aggressive RAM management forces apps to close prematurely. This can be annoying when switching between apps frequently. They also “improved” the performance of the camera, which is another thing that was a common complaint.
The OTA files and factory images for the Pixel and Nexus devices can be found at the links below. Find the Android security files for your device and click “Link” to start the download. To flash the update manually without losing all of your data, follow the steps outlined in this tutorial.