January 2022 Android security update now rolling out, fixes bug that prevented emergency calls
There’s a lot happening this week, thanks to the flurry of CES 2022 events and announcements, but that hasn’t prevented Google from releasing its security patches on time — so long as you don’t have a Google Pixel 6. The company just released the January 2022 Android Security Update Bulletin, though the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will have to wait a bit longer.
Perhaps the most important non-security change in this update is a system-level fix for the bug that allowed Microsoft Teams to break emergency calling, known as CVE-2021-39659. Microsoft already rolled out a fix for its Android application, but this security patch addresses it for good.
This update also patches a loophole in Android 12 that allowed third-party applications with shell access to change the colors and dimensions of certain system elements, which in turn permitted some system customization without root access or other device modifications. The issue was already fixed in the developer builds of Android 12L, but Google has now backported the fix back to Android 12.
January 2022 Android Security Update Bulletin
The January 2022 Android Security Bulletin can be viewed here. The core 2022-01-01 security patch covers five vulnerabilities in the Android Framework and Media Framework, and 11 issues for the core Android System. The additional 2022-01-05 security patch contains one fix for the Android runtime and four for the kernel, as well as a handful of fixes specific to certain chipsets from Qualcomm, MediaTek, and other chipmakers.
For more information on how the monthly Android security update process works, we recommend reading our explainer available here.
Pixel Update Bulletin/Functional Update
The January security update with patch level 2022-01-05 is rolling out for the Pixel 3a series, Pixel 4 series, Pixel 4a series, Pixel 5, and Pixel 5a. The update is not yet ready for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro — Google paused the rollout of the buggy December update for the Pixel 6 series, and the company said a new update with all the fixes (and the January security patches) wouldn’t arrive until later in January.
- Pixel 3a: SQ1A.220105.002
- Pixel 3a (XL): SQ1A.220105.002
- Pixel 4 (XL): SQ1A.220105.002
- Pixel 4a: SQ1A.220105.002
- Pixel 4a (5G): SQ1A.220105.002
- Pixel 5: SQ1A.220105.002
- Pixel 5a (5G): SQ1A.220105.002
- Pixel 6: N/A
- Pixel 6 Pro: N/A
If you don’t want to wait for Google to push the update to you, you can manually flash it to your device using either the OTA files (if you’re on the previous update already) or the factory images (if you’re behind on updates, or want to switch back to the stock ROM). The links to both options are below. We’ll be sure to update this article with more build numbers as we get them.