Google’s working on a fix for bricking issues plaguing Pixel 6 phones – here’s what you need to know

The Google Pixel 6a from the front and back, stood on a table
The successor to the Google Pixel 6a is almost here (Image credit: Future)

Reports have recently surfaced online from Pixel 6 owners stating their device suddenly bricked after performing a factory reset. Doing so causes an error message to appear stating the Android system cannot be loaded and that the data on the smartphone may be corrupt. 

This isn’t a unique problem exclusive to the standard model, though. Various Reddit posts show the Pixel 6a and the Pixel 6 Pro are being affected as well, while older and newer Pixel lines seem to be operating just fine.

The error message recommends performing another reset to erase all of the user data. But, according to YouTuber OF Tech, who experienced this issue on his device, resetting it a second time doesn’t work. The phone remains inoperable.

OF Tech eventually shared his experience on the Pixel Phone Help page, claiming he attempted other fixes, although none worked. He tried using Google’s very own Android Flash Tool which failed because his Pixel 6 is OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) locked. 

Missing files

It’s unknown what’s behind the bricking problem, although there are clues. OF Tech shared close-up photographs of his phone’s screen, and the error states a file called “tune2fs is missing”. tune2fs is a Linux command line that allows administrators to set file system parameters. Others have reported missing the same file, too.

What’s causing the disappearance of tune2f2 is an entire mystery itself, but many agree that it may have to do with an Android 15 beta. Which version is at fault here is up for debate, though. Some people point the finger at the second beta while others point at the third and the stable release. Or, as 9To5Google points out, it may not even be an Android problem, as a lot of reports don’t mention the OS.

Needless to say, it’s a huge mess as people try to get to the bottom of things.

How to avoid the bricking

Fortunately, Google is fully aware of the situation, and they’re currently working on a fix. The patch may take some time to roll out as the company did not give a release date. So to tide Pixel 6 owners over, Google published recommendations on what users can do to avoid bricking their smartphones.

They suggest “leaving your device powered on and idle for 15 minutes after it has rebooted following” an update. You can proceed to factory reset your Pixel 6 without issue once the time is up. Conversely, you can reset it before installing a patch. For people whose phone is already bricked, you’ll have to wait for the fix whenever it arrives.

We contacted Google for more information on when users can expect the patch. Unfortunately, they didn't say much as they directed to the same recommendations page on their Pixel Phone Help website.

Be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best Pixel phones for 2024.

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Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.