If you don’t want Pixel and Pixel XL OTA updates to be automatically downloaded and installed in the background, then you can easily disable them.
With the introduction of Android 7.0 Nougat, Google has decided to handle OTA updates a bit differently than they have been done before. Previously, you would get an OTA update notification would have to tap on it if you wanted to download and install the update. If you didn’t want the update, then you’d be stuck with this notification as it was generally very difficult to remove it without hacking into Android.
Now, this new seamless update feature is only possible with devices that actually ship with Android 7.0 Nougat or higher installed on it. Seamless updates are only possible thanks to the duplicate partition layout that has been implemented with the Pixel and Pixel XL. Community developers might be able to bring this feature via custom ROMs, but it’s way too early to tell at this point. Thankfully though, with this new way to download and install updates, there’s an easy way to disable them.
This is great for those who don’t want the OTA updates automatically downloaded in the background. This can be incredibly beneficial for those who have carrier devices and want to prevent their carrier from patching something that allows you to unlock the bootloader or root the device.
Pixel Disable OTA Updates
- Enable Developer Mode on the Pixel
- Launch the Settings application
- Scroll down and tap on the ‘Developer Options’ option
- Scroll down and toggle the ‘Automatic System Updates’ option
This process is very simple to turn on and off, it’s just that not everyone knows the feature is there. Not only is it buried within the Settings application (which many people gloss over), but it’s also inside a hidden menu that makes it even less apparent. So to start, you will need to enable Developer Mode on the Pixel or Pixel XL. This is very easy to do and it won’t harm your phone in any way.
This will just give you access to a number a number of hidden features. Now, I wouldn’t advise that you go into the Developer options and just mess with everything that is there. That could cause some issues if you’re dealing with things that you aren’t clear with what they do. Most of the stuff in there is harmless though, and can easily be changed back to their stock settings (just remember what you’re changing).
So once Developer Mode has been enabled, you can go back to the main menu of the Settings application. If you scroll all the way down, you should see a new menu option called Developer Options. Tapping on this will take you to a sub menu that has all of the features that are only accessible when you enable Developer Mode. If you scroll down a little bit, you should see an option called Automatic System Updates.
This feature has a simple toggle to the right of it and gives you the ability to turn it on or off. By default, this feature is set to on, but you can simply tap on it to toggle the feature off. Once the Automatic System Updates toggle is set to off, all you have to do is tap the Home button to go back to the Home Screen and your job is done. OTA updates will no longer automatically download and install themselves in the background.
I’m not sure if you’ll still get the OTA update notification, or if it will be stuck in the Notification Panel after you’re told about it. I’ll try to remember to come back here and update this article once Google decides to push out an OTA update for the Pixel XL that I own.