Google: We Turned Battery Saver On For You, Sorry

If you noticed your Android phone was being a bit stubborn about battery saver recently, you're not the only one.

Google has apologised overnight through their official account in the PixelCommunity subreddit. The mea culpa came after Android users noticed that the battery saver function had been turned on without their consent, which the makers of Android confirmed had happened as a result of "an internal experiment".

"Hi all, some of you may have noticed that battery saver turned on automatically today," Google posted. "This was an internal experiment to test battery saving features that was mistakenly rolled out to more users than intended. We have now rolled battery saver settings back to default. Please configure to your liking. Sorry for the confusion."

The test affected Android users running Android Pie, rather than just Pixel phones specifically. Along with anecdotal reports from users about non-Pixel phones being impacted, Mishaal Rahman from XDA Developers noted that their OnePlus 6 was mysteriously in battery saver mode too.

Given that Google Play Services requires total access to your phone — including permissions to things like your text messages, body sensors, camera and so on — it has the requisite access for running device experiments. You're not generally supposed to notice those kinds of tests, but it could also be noted that Google probably shouldn't be running them without asking users first, either.

Thanks, BBC!


    This is just perverse. How can anyone tolerate just handing over complete control of their device[s] to a corporation?

      I'm gonna post on my lifebook about it. I lost my phone but thankfully all my photos are in the cloud.

      All smart devices do this, along with video game consoles and computers. You can block it all if you wish, but it's the norm.

      Kindle can remove books, Apple can remove movies, Google can extend batteries.

        Oh absolutely.
        Though in my opinion, the statement that "it's the norm" is what people use to help them sleep better at night, or at least to absolve themselves of responsibility. It is the norm because people let it be the norm.
        You said it; all of this can be disabled, yet it isn't as it's just more convenient to hand over responsibility.

        Frankly, I find it incredibly rude when updates don't include a changelog, and I don't apply an update unless it says what it is doing. I can't fathom handing over unconditional control.

          Its a bloody outrage it is, I'm gonna report this to me local member. Anyone know where Gus is? Maybe he can talk to Andy.

          Jokes aside, when its opt out rather than opt in, its the norm. Most people wouldn't know how to block it, nor care enough to bother. So being opted in becomes the de facto position and hence, the norm.

          And I hate the lack of changelogs as well. Because this has become the norm, "We did stuff" just doesn't cut it when you have privacy questions by default.

          I'm assuming you haven't updated the Facebook app in about five years then.

          (I agree that developers who put "bug fixes and performance enhancements" or similar in their update notes should be fed to the lions, though.)

            Correct. And probably longer than that even.

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