Welcoming 2018 with a safer and more secure experience, Google on Tuesday started rolling out the January Android security update for compatible devices. The new update is designed for a list of Google devices, including Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P. Alongside the over-the-air (OTA) rollout, Google has released factory images and OTA zip files to let users manually install the latest build on their respective devices.
Users installing the OTA zip files need to have an unlocked bootloader on their devices. Further, the OTA zips can be sideloaded on top of their existing software. This means there is no need to wipe any available data on the devices, as required for factory images. The updated factory images can be found here, while the OTA zip files are available for download here. All the Pixel phones have a standard Oreo build, though a separate build is available for users with O2 network in the UK.
We advise you to wait for the official rollout to get the new Android build on your Pixel or Nexus device easily. However, if you're looking for instant results, you can download a supported factory image or sideload an OTA. You are recommended to back up your data before starting the installation process. Further, it is mandatory to have devices with the latest Android Oreo version to install the new images.
As per the Android Security Bulletin for the month of January, there are 20 issues resolved in the January Android security patch dated 2018-01-01 and 18 in the 2018-01-05. Vulnerabilities range from high to critical, and the most severe is related to the media framework that could let a remote attacker execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process. "The severity assessment is based on the effect that exploiting the vulnerability would possibly have on an affected device, assuming the platform and service mitigations are turned off for development purposes or if successfully bypassed," the bulletin reads, confirming that no reports of active customer exploitation or abuse of the newly reported issues have emerged so far.
The January Android security patch also comes with various system-level fixes and patches for hardware-centric vulnerabilities. Additionally, there a couple of functional updates - one belongs to the keystore category and the other one enhances stability.
Some Pixel and Pixel 2 users who already sideloaded the January security patch have reported a lag in the overall experience, as spotted by Abner Li of 9to5Google. The journalist stated that there were issues such as slow animation and long app launch times. These issues can be fixed manually after rebooting the devices. Notably, the issues only persist in case of sideloading the image. This means if you are installing the new update via the OTA, you won't face any said slowdown.