Google’s “Developer Support” images allow Pixel 6 series to downgrade to Android 12 without bricking their device
A couple of weeks ago, there was excitement in the air for Android fans. After months of betas, Google finally released Android 13 for Pixel devices. It wouldn’t take long for the community to realize something was wrong. Although a PSA quickly went out, it was too late for some, as multiple reports were coming in of bricked Pixel 6 devices after attempting to roll back to Android 12. It appeared that going from Android 13 to Android 12 would trip the phone’s anti-rollback protection. Unfortunately, those wanting to do a bit of tinkering were forced to stick with Android 13. Luckily, Google has issued “Developer Support Images” for Pixel 6 owners, now giving users the possibility to roll back to Android 12.
In order to allow developers to continue with their work on Android 12, Google has released a new set of Android 12 images for Pixel 6 devices. The Developer Support images for Pixel 6 handsets are modified Android 12 system images that are based on public and stable builds of Android 12 and Android 12L. The way the new system images differ from the old ones is that there is an updated version of the bootloader that includes new security fixes and “an incremented anti-rollback counter.” Of course, this is great news, but some details must be heeded. Per Google’s support page:
“A Pixel 6, 6 Pro, or 6a device that is running Android 13 can be rolled back to an Android 12 Developer Support image but can’t be rolled back to any other Android 12 images. A device that is running a Developer Support image can be flashed to the latest public build but can’t be flashed back to any previous Android 12 images.”
Google also offers some other warnings as well, like how they aren’t suitable for general use and how the Developer Support images won’t receive OTA security updates like their consumer counterparts. Also, the builds aren’t Compatibility Test Suite (CTS)‑approved, so developers that require CTS-approved builds or use SafetyNet APIs might run into issues. With all of that said, if you’re a Pixel 6 owner and ready to go back to Android 12, you can download the appropriate build. If you need help flashing the build, you can look through our extensive “How to install Android 12” guide.