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Pixel 6 series users report device bricking after factory reset

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Google Pixel 6 series phones, including the 6, 6a, and 6 Pro models, are experiencing critical bricking issues following a factory reset. This problem has sparked concern and frustration among users as they prepare their devices for resale or troubleshoot issues through a factory reset.

Factory resets, destined to wipe all personal data, apps, and settings from a device, have become a nightmare for many Pixel 6 series users. Released in late 2021, the Pixel 6 series is now at the stage where many original buyers are considering upgrading.

Unfortunately, this coincides with the emergence of a critical fault in the factory reset process.

Starting last week, many users began encountering a missing ‘tune2fs’ file error during boot-up, which led to a recovery screen message: “Cannot load Android system. Your data may be corrupt.”

This prompts users to perform another factory reset, creating an unresolvable loop that leaves the device effectively bricked.

As reported by BleepingComputer, efforts to recover the device through conventional methods have proven futile. The OEM lock prevents users from configuring the bootloader to utilise Android flash tools or other troubleshooting techniques.

Additionally, attempts to sideload updates via Android Debug Bridge (ADB) halt midway through the process, offering no relief.

The error message that people are getting after factory resetting Pixel 6 series devices. | Source: Google Forums

A segment of the affected users participated in the Android 15 beta program, but this is not a universal factor among all reports, leaving the root cause of the issue unidentified.

Users have reported varying responses from Google, further complicating the situation. Receiving proper support has been challenging for those users whose devices are out of warranty. Furthermore, reports on Reddit suggest that Google’s repair services attribute the issue to a motherboard fault, proposing costly repairs for out-of-warranty devices.

Volunteer moderators on Google forums have acknowledged that Google’s engineers are aware of and investigating the issue. However, specific instructions have not been provided to affected users on how to resolve the problem.

Until a definitive solution to the problem is found, it is recommended that Google Pixel 6 series users refrain from a factory reset of the device. Also, they should do regular backups of their devices to prevent data loss.

This is not the first instance of significant software and firmware issues affecting Google Pixel devices this year. In January 2024, a system update for Pixel phones resulted in numerous problems, including the inability to access internal storage, launch the camera app, or open any applications.

The resolution for that issue involved a complex, multi-step process requiring software tools and additional hardware, taking nearly a month to implement.

As of now, there remains a state of uncertainty until Google issues an official statement on the issue.

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Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: kumarhemant@pm.me

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