Don’t update your Pixel phone — a new Android update might b…

Android 14 logo on Google Pixel 8 Pro.
Joe Maring/

Android 14 introduced a number of convenient features to Google’s Pixel phones, but a recent minor update has completely broken the storage system for some users. Specifically, Google Pixel 6, Google Pixel 6 Pro, and Google Pixel 6a owners who run multiple profiles on their phones are reporting that their phones no longer have access to the storage pipeline for the main profile.

This means that users are deprived of access to stored media and also find themselves unable to add new files. Some users have reported on Reddit and Google’s official community forum that they can’t even click images using the camera app as it flashes an insufficient storage warning message. Some others say that attempting to install an APK package also returns a similar storage writing roadblock.

@madebygoogle @GoogleIndia
Even after Android 14 update I did not find any solution to the issue of running out of storage in Pixel 6a
I am unable to access any files and documents pictures in my Pixel6a

— Ajay Dwivedi (@AjayDwivedi23) 19 October 2023

But this is not the end of it. In some cases, the device enters the reboot flow and flashes the message “Factory data reset” on the screen. If this is accepted, all data is lost if it is not already backed up elsewhere. This is catastrophic because it would be almost impossible to recover data after a hard reset in such a case.

The storage issue caused by a faulty Android 14 update blocks storage access only for the main user profile. Even when a large portion of the onboard storage is free, the remaining portion is blocked for any type of read or write activity. For Pixel 6 series phones with a Guest/Secondary/or Child profile, storage access is fine for the non-primary profile.

Google Pixel 6a in hand.
digital trends

In response to complaints posted on public platforms by affected users, Google has finally acknowledged the issue and assured that it is working on a solution. However, even with devices that are only stuck on the boot loop chain, it seems like full data recovery is going to be difficult. Google says it is “investigating methods that may be able to recover some data.”

For users who have not already updated their device, needless to say they should avoid installing it. Android updates are distributed automatically on Pixels, but they are only installed after the user restarts the device. If you’re in this stage, keep your phone on.

Google says it has rolled out a corrective update through the Play Store that prevents the storage issue from appearing in the first place. Unfortunately, there is no relief available to fix devices that have already lost data or are stuck in a cycle where the phone constantly turns off and restarts until the battery drains.

An update to fix the problem is currently in development, but it has not been rolled out yet. “We hope that a system update will fix the issue and restore access to media files without the need for a factory reset,” the official Google Community post said. We will update this post as soon as the software fix arrives.

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