Fixing Google’s Most Recent Pixel Storage Issue Requires Developer Tools and the Command Line

Thomas Claburn, the Register, in October:

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.

Joe Hindy, PC Magazine, November 7:

The storage glitch essentially locked affected Pixel owners out of local storage if they had multiple users, including guests, restricted profiles, and child users (but not if they just had more than one Google account on the device). At worst, the bug caused boot loops that made the phone totally inoperable without a factory reset, which erased data that had not been backed up.

After releasing a Google Play system update to patch it temporarily, Google this week launched its monthly software update for November 2023, which should fix the issue on the Pixel 6, Pixel 6a, 6 Pro, 7, 7 Pro, 7a, Tablet, Fold, Pixel 8, and Pixel 8 Pro.

Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, last week:

Google has another fix for the second major storage bug Pixel phones have seen in the last four months. Last week, reports surfaced that some Pixel owners were being locked out of their phone’s local storage, creating a nearly useless phone with all sorts of issues. Many blamed the January 2024 Google Play system update for the issue, and yesterday, Google confirmed that hypothesis. Google posted an official solution to the issue on the Pixel Community Forums, but there’s no user-friendly solution here. Google’s automatic update system broke people’s devices, but the fix is completely manual, requiring users to download the developer tools, install drivers, change settings, plug in their phones, and delete certain files via a command-line interface.

Like the October problem, this seems to disproportionately impact devices with multiple user profiles, according to Amadeo. And, like those past Pixel problems and the Google Drive issues in November, the only support many users were able to find for days was in communal commiseration on user forums.