When a whole stack of Samsung users in South Australia and “two other” states found their phones seemingly bricked and wouldn’t boot after upgrading to One UI 5.0 and Android 13, there were issues in the Not-OK software corral , so what happened?
Failed software updates are among the true horrors of the modern age. While horror movies have their monsters, and there’s plenty of sci-fi horror out there too, the horror of watching your digital twin get murdered by friendly fire is genuinely horrifying with real-world, trauma-laden consequences.
Of course, backups have been available for a long time, whether you use the backup systems of Google or Samsung or both, or those of third parties and other cloud services, to have multiple copies of your system, documents, files and media available, whether a phone is lost, stolen or damaged.
However, just because such backup systems are widely used does not mean that the end user actually uses them, pays for more storage space as needed, and properly backs up the things backed up.
Many people upgraded and then got stuck: a damaging disconnect from their device’s digital twin ensued. Without their banking apps, unexpectedly free of Facebook, undisturbed by Twitter, evicted from email inboxes and no longer receiving notifications, this was a digital detox from hell, with seemingly no way of recovering all of that data after the supposedly proposed reset restore to factory settings was made.
In my previous article on the subject, there were forum reports of users who have successfully downgraded to Android 12 on their phone using the ODIN app on their PC, but the best piece of advice was that by no means should you start if you haven’t already have updated the update.
So what did Samsung determine to be the cause of the problem?
Samsung Australia’s statement reads as follows: “Samsung has identified a technical issue affecting a small number of customers based primarily in South Australia. After the Android 13 update was released and installed on Samsung devices running on Android 11, a small number of phones got locked in “boot mode”.
“A revised firmware update that does not exhibit this issue has been developed and will be made available to customers in the coming weeks.
“If your device is currently locked in boot mode, please visit a Samsung service center or call our team on 1300 362 603 to have your phone checked. For your local service center, go to https://www.samsung.com/au/support/service-center.”
So it seems that people on Android 11 who hadn’t updated to Android 12 the whole time it was available were instead offered the new Android 13 update and they went for it.
It is questionable why users in South Australia and from media reports. Two more unnamed Australian states have been caught in the ‘Stuck in Boot Mode’ bug and why this only triggered a small subset of users compared to the tens of millions around the world who had no problems – and what is being done to prevent that this will result in such an upgrade error in the future.
It also seems that Samsung needs to start really educating users about backups, digital hygiene and cybersecurity and taking everything seriously, while simplifying the experience for end users so that they are at least secured and protected if they lose, steal or lose theirs accidentally damage it in any way, be it water or other physical damage.
Another potential learning for Samsung is to be much more open about the beta process, what’s being tested, how it’s being tested, how the app upgrade process has been tested, and more to let users who are interested know more learn to give an official place where they can do so.
Losing the most up to date digital information about yourself is a very traumatic thing that happened to you in 2020s and suddenly you are disconnected and cannot even use the phone to call or ask for help because you are not is turn on.
So – it’s a shame the update isn’t really out yet and will instead be delivered “in the coming weeks”, but at least we know that an updated version is definitely being worked on that isn’t causing the problem as it’s evident to be should be.
Presumably the disruptive update has been pulled in the meantime, so no one can accidentally put themselves in the same situation just not hearing about the problems, but the above statement didn’t mean that
As always, it’s a lesson to check our backups and make sure they’re up to date and see if they work – can you restore to another device you own if needed?
And it’s also good to check Google News to see if the update you’re trying to install has feedback from other people who have already updated to see what their experiences were like.
Whatever happens, I hope you enjoy the ever-changing digital landscape, with the rise of generative AI via ChatGPT and other solutions that will make the rest of this decade even more overwhelming than it has been so far.
May all your updates be successful and safe!