Google now says updates for Nexus devices can be delayed based on your carrier



It’s safe to say that with the launch of the Nexus 6 on all major carriers, some changes in the way Google traditionally handled over-the-air updates would need to been made. Because carriers love to be involved in the update process for any and all devices operating on their network, this can sometimes hold up a ready-to-go firmware updates for several weeks. We all know this. We’ve seen this happen for years now on our carrier branded smartphones and tablets but it seems not even Nexus devices are immune.

Today, Google has updated the wording on their support page in reference to software updates for Nexus and Google Play Edition devices. Here’s the section that has been amended with the update in bold:

“Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9, and Nexus 10 devices receive the latest version of Android directly from Google. Once an update is available, it can take up to two weeks for it to reach your device. Based on your carrier, it may take longer than two weeks after release to get an update.

While the truly dedicated Nexus user can still update as soon as a factory image is released, this takes away some of the luster and appeal from those of us that looked toward Nexus devices — even those purchased from a carrier — as a way of getting quick and timely software updates straight from Google. Although updates will still, technically, come from Google, if they don’t play nice with a carrier’s software or even their network, Google could play nice and hold things off until everyone is happy. With the Nexus 6 (and Nexus 9 LTE) be sold in carrier stores, there’s now a middle man involved and it seems compromises had to be made.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. There goes the last reason to ever buy a Nexus device again.

    1. You can still buy Nexus devices straight from Google and continue to be within their 2 week upgrade window.

      1. Not at $650 bucks a pop.

        1. That’s not at all unreasonable. I live in Canada where the device is $100 more and it still seems fair when I consider the original HTC Desire cost me about $600 outright and the Galaxy S3 was priced the same as the Nexus 6 is now. Mind you, the Nexus 4 and 5 prices did spoil me. However, If you don’t want to be bound to your carrier and/or are accustomed to purchasing devices outright, this price point isn’t anything new or excessive for a top tier device.

          1. I could eat the price of the nexus last year but $650 is out of my price range up front.

          2. You’re not going to find many unlocked high-end phones for under $650. Only exception would be the 1+1, which you can’t buy anyways.

          3. Come on… Not unreasonable?

            An inch more phone doubles the cost? Please. This was done to appease the Carrier’s. It keeps the Nexus’ from undercutting the ‘Droid’ phones..

            Pricing, direct updates and the latest/pure Android OS is what made the Nexus a fan favorite. Now it’s the same price as every other device AND direct updates are just about out the window. The whole idea was to give the carriers the middle finger and sell cheap, unlocked, pure devices directly to customers though the Google store.

            For me though, there is really no reason to stick with Nexus only devices anymore. Hell, I might as well get in line for a One+ One and update the phone myself.

            This whole thing REEKS OF VERIZON, tantruming and bullying to get their way, and the price Google pays (and us) to get the N6 on all the carriers.

            I just bought the Nexus 9, but I won’t be buying the Nexus 6.. I’m just keeping my N5 and waiting for a better deal.

            It really is a Shame though..

      2. Actually that’s not true. Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 owners who purchased the phone from Google Play and use it on Telstra in Australia are yet to receive Lollipop. If they change their SIM card, it updates almost immediately.

      3. Not in this economy…

    2. “There goes the last reason to ever buy a Nexus device on a carrier again.”
      There. FTFY

      1. That phone would still operate on a carrier, and that carrier can keep the transmission of the update from happening.

        1. I can see some of the reasons why the carrier may want to delay the update, if it has issues on their network, but at the same time… it still sucks.

    3. I totally agreed. There is no reason to buy Nexus phone as it no longer pure android and affordable!

      1. Its still pure alright. Its just that carriers now have almost complete controll over the phone which makes getting an N6 over lets say a Moto X alot less worthwhile.

        1. When carriers have control, you’d see more bloatwares there.

          1. There are loopholes to avoid bloatware, but they are generaly a pain in the butt to do and dont thoroughly cleanse your device of Verizon/ATT/Sprint/TMo’s filthy grip, which is why I made my comment in the first place. It is still 100% stock Android though.

          2. Oh no, two whole apps that takes me 3 seconds to uninstall. The purity of my Nexus device has been sullied forever!

    4. Yeah, funny, whenever I bagged on the value of the Nexus line – as I am not a fan as root has always given me what I wanted – the lovers always said “oh man, fast direct updates quicker than most”.. uh, maybe not so much anymore. And with root, I have always pretty much been able to get whatever I wanted (“pure” ROMS, tweaked ROMS, kernels, hacks, mods, etc), via XDA, before any official Nexus release which now could be more officially slower coming out. Especially for VZW users.

  2. Doesn’t the iPhone get updates directly from Apple? How does Apple get special treatment with updates yet Google can’t? Money?

    1. I have wondered this for years

      1. Because Apple’s updates are usually through iTunes and not OTA?

        1. It does have OTA now, not via Itunes if you choose so.

        2. um.. I get it but it’s still no excuse, google could easily provide an updater.

        3. That is not the case anymore.

      2. You and me both. Makes me wonder what amount of cash changed hands back in the day between Apple and the carriers…

    2. No. It is carrier tested first. That’s why their updates take 4-5 months.

  3. One word motto

    1. I think you mean Moto, right? Sure, but for how long…

  4. Someone just knocked Nexus down a few pegs. Thanks middle man.

  5. what’s the issue? hasn’t this always been the case for non-gsm variants of the nexus? i have a verizon galaxy nexus that i can assure you was at the mercy of vzw for updates since jump street…

    1. Who cares about you?

      1. i have to say that comment made me literally lol. good job

  6. Remember when we heard rumors about Google killing the Nexus line? I think that this is the way they’re doing it. Indirect, but efficient nevertheless.

    1. But what would take its place? Android Silver is dead and becides, the Nexus line is starting to gain some major steam

      1. The Nexus line is gaining major steam? What? Are you drunk?

        1. Major steam for what was origianaly supposed to be a developer phone. Before, whenever someone asked you what type of phone you had and you said you had a Galaxy Nexus, people would give you a wierd look. Now every once in a while, when I look out my window, I see some kid waiting for the bus holding a Nexus 7. Or a guy talking on his Nexus 4 at 711.

          1. I do think the N7 and N4s really broke it open with that pricing. Ill be honest, my N4 was what finally got me to jump from a carrier to an MNVO. The lower up-front cost made it easier to get the un-subsidized phone (that is still in use today).

      2. I still argue that Android Silver was never a thing. It was the development of Android One, which exists and is just like what they thought Silver was except its for low-cost phones in other markets.

        Its still a Nexus and I think always was going to be.

        1. No Silver was something different, it died when the guy behind it left Google.

          1. That is what everyone was guessing but nothing more came of it and nobody confirmed anything. So they could all have been wrong and just duped for a code name for Android One, since Android One is exactly like what they thought silver was going to be but for emerging markets.

  7. Yeah, this is why the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is still 78 weeks behind schedule for its latest update.

    1. explain that to the commenters above me who just say, “two weeks no problem.” LOL. watch two weeks turn into 6 months. these fan boys have absolutely no idea how incapable carriers are.

  8. so when designing the nexus 6, google just said. how can we destroy the nexus line completely in one clean move? SUCCESS GOOGLE! SUCCESS..

    1. The ones who truly care will obtain the update through other methods, the rest won’t be bothered or even really notice the delay if it happens.

      1. i care and i dont want to have to root, or manually flash anything on to my phone that was sold to me as “Gets updates immediately”. as in OTA. not go back to flashing and porting like i did with my galaxy devices. its the REASON i got a nexus device. so yes, i am certain im not the only one.

        1. Then wait the extra period for the update if a delay happens and be mad at the one causing the delay… your carrier.

      2. and be mad at google for ALLOWING their product to be raped. repeatedly. dude you sound like a fan boy. i own a nexus 6 and im not cutting slack to any company i just gave $700 too. if google didnt LET THEM LIKE APPLE DOES NOT LET ATT JACK WITH THEIR PHONES, it would be just like a nexus device should. NOT TWO WEEKS. NOT ONE WEEK. IMMEDIATELY. what dont you get about Nexus? fanboys like you who never have a complaint are the reason phone companies keep popping the same crap out every iteration. they see all the fanboys on line saying. “its perfect, everything perfect.” and they think, “what the hell do i have to fix, you heard them. ‘its perfect.'” C’MON DUDE. they arent PAYING YOU to use the phone, so think critically every now and then of the company you give hundreds of your hard earned dollars to.

        1. …really, you consider potentially delayed OTA updates “rape”? Says a lot.

          I am not a fanboy of anything. I hold no loyalty or attachment to any company.

          If you don’t like the changes, return or sell the phone. Or keep it and live with it. Welcome to life, things change.

          Ugh, I am not even continuing with this. You are incoherent and irrational. Grow up and quit acting like a child.

      3. and the writing said, MAYBE LONGER, which always means buckle your seat belts, we are in for a ride.

        1. a long ride if you’re on verizon….

      4. thats EXACTLY what i call rape.

        1. Rape? Are you that stupid?

          1. Apparently worse than stupid,

        2. comments like this is the reason why you need to stick around on his site… you’re like the new me

  9. FANBOYYYZZZZZZZZ. of course, this site is called phandroid LOL. what else should i have expected. LOLOLOL

    1. You really enjoy calling others fanboys don’t you? So, basically whenever someone doesn’t agree with you, or questions your wording, you consider them to be fanboys? Didn’t I just a minute ago read a comment from you where you said “think critically every now and then”? Well done, sir.

      1. Dude because you guys ARE. Just like apple fanboys but worse. “Android doesn’t lag idj what you’re talking about. My nexus 6 never lags not even once ” filthy liars like yourselves should kill yourselves. Definition of fanboys.

        1. Ok, so now you have the opinion that when someone is a fanboy, he should kill himself? You want to know my opinion right now? You need help, man.

          1. “Android doesn’t lag. Ive never seen my nexus lag.” LOLOL. DUUUUUDE. STIFLING PROGRESS. FUCKING KILL YOUR FUCKING YOURSELF.

          2. Calm down my friend. You already have established yourself as a troll. No need to go overboard with it like that. You were on a roll but you’re taking it too far. Relax, take a deep breath and try again.

  10. It’s no different than iOS. It’s just going to depend on how Google handles it. Apple doesn’t release an update on any device until all carriers are locked and loaded. Google likes to get the update out ASAP and then tinker with it later. So you will see 5.1 on the Nexus 9 faster than the Nexus 6 but if it were apple neither would get the update until both are ready to go.

  11. Thank the lord Jesus Christ I jumped ship to T-Mobile from Verizon, I’m sick and tired being the last device updated, let alone purchasing the device when it actually comes out and not wait for them to “check for bugs” which is complete crap

    1. Me too my friend.. Me too.

      I brought my whole family to T-Mo last year. The wife and I have N5’s and the 2 boys have Moto G’s. I could NOT be happier. Now my 2 brothers and their families, plus my parents are on T-Mo too. That’s now 15 customers that I persuaded to move away from mostly Verizon, and a couple from AT&T.. They are all happy also.

  12. If they had to explicitly state anything, they should have mandated a maximum time limit for updates to be released (nexus or carrier)

  13. Nexus 6 is the epicenter of Nexi-fail.

    Too big, too expensive, some variants with bloatware and now carrier approval.

    It’s not a Nexus it’s the MotoY.

    1. In fairness, its nowhere near the level of fail as the Galaxy Nexus. There is time though.

    2. Perfect sized, decent price, some variants with Play store installed carrier apps that take 3 seconds to uninstall and easy access to factory images or custom roms to completely bypass carrier approval…

      Seems a lot like a Nexus to me.

      1. Perfect sized??

        So big foot is real after all..

        1. I prefer to use my phone with two hands normally anyway, so it fits me perfectly.

      2. Decent price?

        What happened to awesome price? What happened to no bloat? If you’re going to make unlocked bootloader the criteria for a Nexus phone there are hundreds that qualify.

  14. I don’t know why Apple doesn’t have this problem.

    1. Because they do it behind the scenes. Its just a different strategy in releases. They submit them to Verizon, AT&T, etc ahead of time for a singular roll-out. Google, on the other hand, shows its cards immediately. Then it has to go through all of the hoops while we know its out there.

      NFG for me though. Im on a play store phone with an MNVO, carriers are nothing but dumb pipes to me.

      1. Yeah, I have an AT&T Nexus 6, but I simply bypass their little delay with flashable updates.

  15. Hey, just like with my UNLOCKED Shield Tablet and AT&T!

  16. Does this apply to unlocked 6’s? Verizon doesn’t even recognize my device.

  17. What are all these ppl talking about Apple doesn’t have this problem? Just this year Verizon totally blocked an ios update from Apple because the ota didn’t have changes for USA.

    Get it together people.

  18. MY – Things I Hate about Verizon List: ®™

    √ Holds the rest of the Carriers hostage for Direct Nexus Updates. (Personal new favorite)

    Let’s see here…

    √ Putting VZW ‘cr’apps on Nexus Phones √
    √ Branding Nexus phones √
    √ Voice and Data NOT working simultaneously √
    √ Taking back ‘Unlimited Data’ √
    √ Giving away ‘Unlimited Data’… TO_THE_NSA √
    √ Allowing Government Agencies to Tap & Data-Mine the Fiber Backbones √
    √ Low Data Caps √
    √ LOCKED Devices √
    √ Tantruming and Bullying OEM’s √
    √ Breaking MOST Net Neutrality rules √
    √ Spying on your customers √
    √ EXTREMELY High Pricing √
    √ Nickel & Diming EVERYTHING √
    √ Injecting AD-Ware √
    √ Throttling Data √
    √ NEVER finishing building out ‘Fiber to Home’ (as promised) √
    √ TAKING Corporate Welfare (Tax Breaks to build out 50% to Fiber to Home) √
    √ SUING THE FCC over basically: GREED √
    √ Fu©king over your customers ——-> In EVERY way possible √
    √ GREED √
    √ All this, Even though you (Vz) STILL don’t have a working NEXUS on ” THE Network” √
    √ Lying √
    √ Verizon AND Komkast = America’s 2 worst companies √

    √ Thank GOD I switched to T-Mobile √

  19. Still waiting for the OTA of lollipop on my Nexus 7 (2013)

  20. And that’s the final blow for me with nexus. Price, enormous size, now this.

    Very disappointed

  21. How does apple get around this issue?

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