After months of beta testing, the Android 13 stable build is now rolling out to eligible Google Pixel phones. If you have a Pixel 4 or newer, you simply update your phone to Android 13. And if you do not like it, you can always downgrade, but the current-gen Pixels — the Pixel 6, 6 Pro and 6a – have been snatched of this option.
Google’s developer website warns users of a bootloader update which prevents users from rolling back to the previous iteration of Android.
“Warning: The Android 13 update for Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and the Pixel 6a contains a bootloader update that increments the anti-rollback version. After flashing an Android 13 build on these devices you will not be able to flash older Android 12 builds.”
So, once a Pixel 6, 6 Pro, or 6a user updates to Android 13, they cannot downgrade to Android 12. The notice suggests that this is due to a bootloader update which increments the anti-rollback version.
It is very unusual for Google to block Pixel 6 series users from downgrading to an older iteration of Android, but this could be some protection measure for the Tensor chipset.
Google has been using the “rollback protection” feature to protect smartphones from the exploits from the older version of Androids. However, the anti-rollback features seem to be a little different from this.
In the past, Xiaomi introduced the anti-rollback feature with the MIUI 10 global beta. Some curious users went ahead and installed the beta build. And when users tried rolling back to the MIUI 9 stable build, they bricked their smartphones.
Currently, we are unaware of the consequences of rolling back to Android 12 on Pixel 6 series smartphones. So, it is advised to not attempt downgrading after updating to Android 13 or maybe hold off the update for a while or you might end up bricking your device.