Google Accepts Remotely Changing Settings On Android Phones; Apologizes For "Bug"

Pixel 2

The affected devices appeared to be running the Android Pie operating system.

"I noticed the other day that suddenly my battery saver was on and I was a bit puzzled by it", she said.

Some Android Pie users had the battery saver feature activated remotely by Google, which claimed it was testing battery saving features. However, a few voices of reason have come out and said that Google has the right to alter settings to test certain elements of the Android Pie OS before it gets rolled out to more devices all over the world. Along with anecdotal reports from users about non-Pixel phones being impacted, Mishaal Rahman from XDA Developers noted that their OnePlus 6 was mysteriously in battery saver mode too.

Battery saver mode can conserve a phone's power by preventing apps from working in the background, turning off location services, and delaying notifications.

Google Pixel 2 5
The Pixel 2 from Google. Hollis Johnson Business Insider

Google has apologised overnight through their official account in the PixelCommunity subreddit. It seems that this was an "an internal experiment to test battery saving features that was mistakenly rolled out to more users than intended". We have reset the default settings and you do not have to reconfigure as you see fit. "Sorry for the confusion", the Pixel team wrote on the Reddit post. It's quite outlandish, though, that Google can change settings like this and it serves as a reminder that Google has the power to remotely control, change, or even kill your device.

One Reddit user responded: "Yeah the whole "we'll fix it guys" is not gonna fly on this one".

We know that Google and Apple can force updates or make changes remotely to iOS and Android, though these are meant to protect users in emergency situations. "What other changes are being made behind the scenes that may or may not be interfering with users' lives and or / feeding data to Google?"

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