Help, Android 14 ate my Pixel! Bug causes endless reboots, loss of storage access

Fix on the way but for those trapped in boot loop hell, data recovery isn't certain

Google has confirmed that some people's Pixel devices have lost access to local storage or become trapped in reboot loops after applying the Android 14 software update.

Reports of problems began showing up earlier this month, shortly after the October 4 release of Android 14.

Bug reports filed to Google's Issue Tracker on October 17 and 24 describe Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 devices that can no longer access locally stored photos and other documents, or conduct updates, because the hardware reports having no space to store files. They also describe being stuck in a loop of constant reboots.

More than 500 comments have been posted to the October 17 thread, many from Pixel device owners who claim they too have been affected.

Google on Monday acknowledged the problem.

"We are aware of an issue occurring on some Pixel devices (Pixel 6 and later models) that have both received the Android 14 update and have multiple users (other than the primary user) set up," said a Google community manager.

Multiple users in this context means users, guests, restricted profiles, and child users but not multiple Google accounts associated with a primary user or work profiles, according to the community manager. However, at least one person claims work profiles are affected.

The consequence of updating to Android 14 when multiple users have been set up is that the device can lose the ability to access media storage or it can reboot with a "Factory data reset" message. Accepting the message, Google's community manager says, means non-backed up data will be lost. And rejecting it can send the device into a reboot loop.

Google did not immediately respond to a request to provide more information about the cause of the error. One theory is that a missing symlink may be to blame.

Google says it's working on a fix and the tech titan has already deployed a Google Play system update "that will help prevent this issue from being triggered on additional devices."

For those unable to access media storage, Google expects that its fix will be able to restore access to media files without a factory reset. But for those stuck in a boot loop, the outcome is less certain – "we are investigating methods that may be able to recover some data." ®

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