Naughty Naughty! Google Apologises For Fiddling With Battery Settings Without Consent

Google remotely enabled battery saving mode on some Android 9 Pie phones

The that Silicon Valley Master of the Universe Google has admitted to remotely activating the "battery saver" function on many users' Android phones. "This was an internal experiment to test battery saving features that was mistakenly rolled out to more users than intended", a Google representative posted on the PixelCommunity subreddit. Along with anecdotal reports from users about non-Pixel phones being impacted, Mishaal Rahman from XDA Developers noted that their OnePlus 6 was mysteriously in battery saver mode too. The battery saver function is created to allow the phone to operate at a lower performance while preserving battery life and in some cases is automatically enabled when a phone goes below a certain battery level.

On a support page for updating Android apps, it says: "If Google determines an app update will fix a critical security vulnerability, we may make certain app updates regardless of update settings in the app or on your device".

If you noticed your Android phone was being a bit stubborn about battery saver recently, you're not the only one.

It is believed that only Google's Pixel line of handsets and the Andy Rubin-made Essential Phone were impacted by this fiddling, as they are the only ones which have access to the full Android Pie OS at this moment in time. It's quite outlandish, though, that Google can change settings like this and it serves as a reminder that Google has the power to remotely control, change, or even kill your device.


'Screwed me up pretty majorly - I drive for Lyft and was in the middle of driving a passenger to his requested drop-off, ' wrote Reddit user mtooney79 in the thread.

The battery saver affects how often apps update and work in the background. "Please configure to your liking".

Others were seemingly understanding, or they had at least come to peace with the fact that Google could change a smartphone's settings without notification. In this case, the setting had been enabled by Google itself without the consent of the end user.

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