back to article Google's Nexus devices get stealth Android update

Google has quietly begun rolling out a new version of Android to its flagship Nexus devices, but so far it has remained schtum on just what has changed. Support pages from US wireless player T-Mobile reveal that the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 handsets and the 2013 version of the Nexus 7 tablet all began receiving over-the-air updates …


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  1. E 2

    It turns on GPS location without any UI indication, and it sends users' realtime location to NSA, GCHQ, CSIS and whatever ANZAC calls it's spies. Also sends your emails and text messages.

    A small amount of code leverages existing caching mechanisms in Android to send the info when in range of a wifi hotspot for those users who have not agreed to provide their personal data via cellular networks.

    Nothing to really worry about.

    1. Montreal Sean

      @E 2 : NSA, GCHQ, etc.

      Finally! I can now stop doing all that manually!

      It has been consuming way too much of my day.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @E 2 : NSA, GCHQ, etc.

        +1 for sarcasm :)

        So, we have a device upgrade without any info what it actually does. Anyone feeling comfortable with that? No? Thought so.

        1. ratfox

          Re: @E 2 : NSA, GCHQ, etc.

          Completely comfortable. Honestly, why would you trust this new version any less than the last? Did you check line by line the code of the previous version and make sure nothing was sent to the NSA? If so, you can do the same with this one again, right?

          Do tell us of all the backdoors you find.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @E 2 : NSA, GCHQ, etc.

            why would you trust this new version any less than the last?

            Well, some of us recall some spectacular fails with upgrades. Features lost, devices bricked - applies to *any* platform. One of the ways to make at least *some* assessment is to review what goes on in an update. BTW, did you have to accept new T&Cs? Not implying anything, just a question - and if so, did you actually read what you signed up to?

  2. Tommy Pock

    I'm getting a Nexus 7 in about 35 minutes.

    The timing couldn't be any better. Marvellous.

  3. hazzamon

    The update fixed the broken NFC on my Nexus 7 2013, at last!

  4. Jordan Davenport

    I wonder if Samsung noticed problems with stock KitKat's code when they started burning up AT&T customers' Galaxy S4 Actives with the KitKat update, which has since been withheld.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could be a fix for some nasty zero day

    Something they don't want to provide any information about at this time, to maximize the time before everyone finds out about it.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Could be a fix for some nasty zero day

      Google have been rolling out a lot of the native app updates recently - if you have a Nexus then you'll get updates for new features and bug fixes regularly. Most likely this is just a minor - but essential - security update.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Could be a fix for some nasty zero day

        There is still a protocol for updates they are breaking. You don't upgrade a business critical tool without knowing what you are getting yourself into, and with zero information I for one wouldn't go near it.

  6. Manolo

    Nexus 10

    I am trying to see if the update has arrived for my Nexus 10, but as usual, it will not connect to WiFi.

    Would be nice if they'd finally fix that.

    That and the bug where a Bluetooth keyboard repeats all characters when WiFi is on.

    My most disappointing Nexus device, the N10.

    1. Manolo

      Re: Nexus 10

      NNNNNo, assssssss IIIIII wwaaassssssss exxxxpeccctiiing:

      Bluetooth bug not fixed.

      Wifi neither.

  7. Bill Redmond

    Perhaps it has fixed USB audio so I can finally use my headphone DAC!!!

  8. MrWibble


    (mirrored from original location, 25 days ago).


  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not officially supported, but

    Cyanogenmod CM11 (KitKat 4.4.2) running smoothly on my Galaxy S2 (i9100).

    Have CM11 on Galaxy S (a little slow) and S3 too.

    I checked a friends S2 yesterday & it was still on 2.x.x! Wondering why many apps playing up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not officially supported, but

      "Have CM11 on Galaxy S (a little slow) and S3 too."

      Does everything work with CM11 on the S3? I've been put off experimenting with mods hitherto because they often had crummy caveats like "camera not working" and the like.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not officially supported, but

        Apologies: My S3 is on CM 10.2 (Android 4.3.1 Jelly Bean), not CM11 which doesn't have a stable release yet.

        All hardware working fine AFAIK (haven't used NFC).

        I love the CM Privacy Guard to stop access to hardware and data on a per app. basis.

  10. Daniel Palmer


    >From the look of things, this is a minor update.

    >The codename of the OS is still "KitKat," and you probably

    > shouldn't worry about any significant platform

    > fragmentation from this release

    This paragraph makes absolutely no sense and even less sense when we're talking about recent nexus devices that are all already running 4.x releases from Google and can't actually suffer from "fragmentation" which is problem with the same android release being cocked up by vendors. Google is the only vendor and the upstream developer here. Maybe you actually meant that this is small release so it doesn't bring any api changes or something instead.. But that still wouldn't be a concern to most people upgrading their devices. I know the reg is meant to be tongue in cheek but you guys are basically just spreading FUD.

  11. RyokuMas

    I wonder...

    ... whate else Google is "stealth updating" onto these phones...?

    1. Daniel Palmer

      Re: I wonder...

      This isn't stealth installing. The "stealth" part is presumably about the fact that Google hasn't put out a press release saying "NEW IN MINOR SERVICE RELEASE: MORE FEATURES! MORE FASTER! MORE BETTERER!". Obviously Google are complete bastards for not putting out a character by character run down of every single line that has changed between this minor service release and the previous one.

      1. JLV

        Re: I wonder...



        There, fixed it for you ;-)

        I hope 4.4.3 makes it so I can actually refresh my All Mail mailbox in place, instead of having to change mailbox and come back to All Mail, despite the existence of a Refresh menu item.

        Oh, and maybe some battery love, guv?

        Anyways... looking forward to seeing it on my Nexus 5 shortly.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    T-Mobile US isn't pushing this to everyone yet

    I've a Nexus 7 purchased from Google rather than T-Mobile, and it still has 4.4.2 on it; checking for updates gets a "you are up to date" message. So it's a wee bit com-pli-ca-ted...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As it stands, KitKat is only running on 8.5 per cent of all Android devices in use

    But when you do the maths, that is still a greater number than the number of iPhones out there in active use...

    Someone want to tell poor old Tim Cook and his desperate WDC presentation that focused on what Google was doing (and had released back in 2009) more than what they had.

    1. Fink-Nottle

      Re: As it stands, KitKat is only running on 8.5 per cent of all Android devices in use

      I wonder, Tim, what percentage of the group of devices that support KitKat don't have it installed?

  14. Alan Denman

    Have you sold out Register ?

    I do ask in that your real attacks and good satire have become few and far between

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