Google Confirms Android 8.1 Developer Preview is Plagued With Factory Reset Bug, Bricked One Pixel 2 XL
Android 8.1 Developer Preview brought a slew of new features and changes, but it has not been free from bugs. Yesterday, a Reddit users reported an odd incident which led many users to believe that Android 8.1 Developer Preview has changed the default behaviour of Factory Reset Protection, which is Android's anti-theft function. While other users think that this is just some bug acting up in the preview and Google shall fix it in the next update.
It's worth noting that the Factory Reset Protection has worked as an anti-theft feature since the Android version 5.1 Lollipop. It makes sure that the user's Google account is left untouched even after factory reset so that the password of the Google account has to be entered for setting up and using the phone. If the user does not know the password, then there is nothing that can be done to start or set up the device. This behaviour ensures the safety of the device and deters theft.
A Reddit user named tombolger reported that when he reset his Pixel 2 XL phone on Android 8.1 Developer Preview, the device asked him for his screen lock pattern instead of asking for his Google account details. Tombolger could not remember the password pattern, which left his phone bricked. The only solution left was to send the device to Google for fixation.
Issue with pattern lock only
Google processed his complaint, and he was given a replacement device. However, the incident left users wondering whether it was a bug or a new behaviour for the Factory Reset Protection feature on Android 8.1. To know more about the issue, folks at 9to5Google reached out to Google.
Google's statement confirmed that it is not a behaviour but a bug. Google also confirmed that Android 8.1 Developer Preview is plagued with a bug related to lock screen patterns. The report also stated that many users faced similar issue but the ones who have PIN or password set for their device lock instead of pattern lock, they will still be able to bypass Factory Reset Protection with their Google account.
All this means that the problem is with the pattern lock specifically, which lessens the impact of the bug. We would suggest users use PIN or password as the lock instead of pattern lock until Google fixes the issue.