Gboard Update Locks Some Users Out of Their Android Devices
Gboard is arguably one of the best stock keyboards out there. Much like several Google products, it has evolved from a lightweight, no-nonsense product to an app chock full of features that not everyone will find useful.
Google does a commendable job of keeping it updated with new features and updates. The latest Gboard update seems to have broken the keyboard, as a lot of users are complaining about repeated crashes.
A slew of threads have appeared on Google's Product Forums, Reddit and Twitter complaining about Gboard's inability to function properly. Several users were even locked out of their device and were unable to get in even after restarting the device multiple times. You should be good if you have fingerprint/face unlock enabled.
The problem only affects Gboard users who use a PIN/Password as it requires the use of a keyboard. Even Motorola's official Twitter handle chimed in with a solution. A factory reset seems rather overkill for such a seemingly trivial issue. There is, however, an easier way to fix the problem.
All you need to do is head over to the Play Store webpage on a web browser and install a third-party keyboard such as SwiftKey onto your device. The installation process occurs even when your screen is locked, so you'll be given an option to choose between Gboard and the second keyboard If that doesn't work, connecting a physical keyboard might be your only respite.
For those who are able to unlock their phones, the fix is rather simple. All you need to do is navigate to Settings > Apps > Gboard > Clear Data and Cache and you're good to go. Not all devices seem to be affected by the update, though. Gboard seems to work fine on my own Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ even after installing the December 17th update.
Do let us know in the comments below if you happen to be affected.