December security update brings fixes for memory, camera, and more to the Google Pixel smartphones

December security update brings fixes for memory, camera, and more to the Google Pixel smartphones

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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.”

CategoryImprovementsDevices
PerformanceImproved memory performance in certain circumstancesPixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
CameraImproved camera capture performancePixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
Pixel StandImproved notification visibility when using Pixel StandPixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
Android AutoImproved Android Auto compatibilityPixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
CameraAdjusted autofocus behaviorPixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
Pixel StandImproved hotword performance when using Pixel StandPixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
DisplayImproved Always On Display triggeringPixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
AudioImproved USB-C Audio accessory detectionPixel 3 XL
BluetoothAdjusted volume behavior when toggling BluetoothPixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
Android AutoImproved audio performance for when using Android Auto in certain vehiclesPixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
MediaImproved contouring on HDR color on certain media appsPixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
CameraImproved camera shutter performancePixel 3, Pixel 3 XL
PerformanceImprove unlocking performance when using BluetoothPixel, 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.

Pixel 3 XDA Forum Pixel 3 XL XDA Forum

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.

Factory Images OTA Files


Pixel/Nexus Security Bulletin Android Security Bulletin