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Google allows some pixel owners to downgrade from Android 13 to Android 12

Android 13 to Android 12

After updating to Android 13, users couldn’t go back to Android 12. Some Pixel users can now switch back to Android 12.

Android 13’s bootloader update turned on an anti-rollback counter, as we reported earlier this month. You couldn’t go back after updating to Android 13. All Pixel users, including developers, experienced this.

The anti-rollback counter was turned on to prevent security flaws. Even though it was a safety measure, barring developers from going back to Android 12 caused complications.

Android Central says that Google is now fixing this mistake by putting out “Developer Support images” that will let Pixel 6 devices safely go back to an Android 12 or 12L image. Even though these images are built from stable versions of Android 12 and 12L, only developers should use them.

On Google’s developer site, the company says that Pixel 6 devices can be rolled back to an Android 12 Developer Support image, but not to any other Android 12 images.

Google has published Android 12 images for Pixel 6 devices so developers may continue development. The Pixel 6 Developer Support images are customised Android 12 system images based on stable public versions. New system images have an updated bootloader with security improvements and a “incremented anti-rollback counter.” This is good news, but specifics matter. Google Help:

“A Pixel 6, 6 Pro, or 6a running Android 13 can be rolled back to an Android 12 Developer Support image, but not to other Android 12 images. A device running Developer Support can be flashed to the newest public build but not to prior Android 12 images.”

Google also warns that Developer Support images won’t receive OTA security updates like consumer images. Developers that need CTS-approved builds or use SafetyNet APIs may have difficulty. If you own a Pixel 6 and want Android 12, download the build.

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