Big Brother: Google Admits to Altering Android Phone Settings Remotely Without Permission

Android: Google peut changer vos réglages à distance sans votre consentement

On Thursday, some Android smartphone users reported that their battery-saving settings were enabled without their knowledge or consent. Since Android Pie is now only available to a select number of devices-most notably the Pixel series from Google-most of the early reports came in from owners of those devices posting to messages boards and on social media. As it turns out, it was Google that was remotely, but accidentally, flipping the switch on many Android devices.

Battery saver mode can conserve a phone's power by preventing apps from working in the background, turning off location services, and delaying notifications.

Google confirmed via its official Pixel account on Reddit that this was "an internal experiment to test battery saving features that was mistakenly rolled out to more users than intended", and that the settings have been rolled back. Google apologized in its response to Redditors, saying "Sorry for the confusion".

While the rollout of Google's experimental feature on Android is a seemingly harmless accident, it did raise questions among smartphone owners in the Reddit thread about the kind of control that Google has on phones running Android. We have reset the default settings and you do not have to reconfigure as you see fit. "Please configure to your liking".

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Understandably, the issue has angered some Android users who believe the firm shouldn't be able to remotely change settings on users' devices.

However, it seems the brief apology wasn't enough, with many users complaining that "the whole "we'll fix it guys" is not gonna fly on this one" and "they shouldn't have the ability to change a setting without warning". Google said that they had reversed the action and that users were again able to reconfigure their phones to the previous settings.

We know that Google and Apple can force updates or make changes remotely to iOS and Android, though these are meant to protect users in emergency situations.

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