Google ‘Accidentally’ Changed Android Phone Settings Remotely Without Permission

Google Pixel 2
Some Android Pie-enabled smartphones recently had their battery saver settings changed remotely without user permission.
(Photo: Tinh tế Photo/Flickr)

Tech giant Google recently caused a lot of worries when it suddenly changed the settings on some Android phones without any user consent.

A few days ago, several Google Pixel phone users were surprised to see their phones' battery saver function turned on while the battery is at 99% -- without them turning it on. This unusual incident was first reported by the Android Police, who said that a "substantial" number of Pixel owners complained about such a thing happening.

Battery saver, a function found in most new smartphones today, limits the number of background processes and app refreshes to conserve a smartphone's battery life. It's helpful, but it's not something all users want to use all the time as it will stop a phone from fully performing its tasks.

Thankfully, users can set this function to turn "on" at any battery level desired. For example, a battery-conscious user who wants long battery life can set it to turn on when the battery drops to 30%; while a social media-active user wants it turned on when the battery is at 10%.

Google Pixel phones have this feature, and many users were surprised to see their Pixel's battery saver turned while the battery was still at 99%. What's more, this isn't limited to Pixel users -- other smartphones running on Android Pie, namely the Essential Phone, Nokia 7+, and OnePlus 6 were also affected.

Some people thought this was just a "strange bug" in Android Pie. Google, however, admitted that it wasn't a bug. It was actually an experiment rolled out by mistake.

In a Reddit post, Google said they had an "internal experiment" purposed to test battery saving features. This experiment, however, accidentally affected more than they had hoped. Google then said they have re-set battery saver settings to default, and that users can now set it to their liking. Google said all this before issuing an apology.

Many users became confused as to the sudden unauthorized changes in their battery saver settings. Some even expressed their worry over how Google was able to change their personal settings without letting them know. Despite the apology they issued, Google seems to have caused many to worry over security concerns.

Today's technology promises a lot of security features, but this latest blunder by a major player in the communications technology arena might cause many consumers to fear losing privacy and security. They might begin to think that no matter how much they pay for "secure" technology, they won't have the peace of mind they long to have.

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