Google Pixel 6 series phones bricked after factory reset


Multiple owners of Google Pixel 6 series phones (6, 6a, 6 Pro) have been reporting in the past week that their devices were “bricked” after they performed a factory reset.

Factory resets wipe the device of all personal data, apps, and settings and are typically performed when the device owner prepares it for resale.

The Pixel 6 series, released in late 2021, is approaching the typical upgrade cycle for many original buyers, and issues with the factory reset process have become significantly more impactful.

Starting last week, users reported getting an error about a missing ‘tune2fs’ file during boot up, leading to a recovery screen reading “Cannot load Android system. Your data may be corrupt.”

The Android recovery screen prompts the user to perform another factory reset, creating an endless loop that doesn’t resolve the issue.

Error seen by impacted users
Error seen by impacted users
Source: Imgur

The inability to configure the bootloader due to OEM locks prevents using Android flash tools or other troubleshooting methods, while efforts to sideload updates via ADB fail after the process stops midway.

Some users report participation in the Android 15 beta program, but since this is not a common denominator in all reports, the cause of the “bricking” remains undetermined.

Google’s response

Users report mixed responses from Google, and with many facing this issue just as their devices went out of warranty, getting proper support is complicated.

Reports on Reddit mention that Google’s repair services claimed it was a motherboard issue and wanted a high price for fixing a device no longer under warranty.

Volunteer mods on Google forums stated that the company’s engineers acknowledged the issue and are currently investigating, but no specific instructions on what people should do to devices have been provided yet.

BleepingComputer has contacted Google to learn more about the nature of the problem and the company’s plans to resolve it, but we have not heard back by publication time.

Until the situation clears up, Google Pixel 6, 6a, and 6 Pro owners should not perform factory resets and take regular backups on a separate device.

This is not the first time that Google Pixel device owners have faced serious software/firmware errors that cause basic usability problems this year.

The January 2024 Android system update for Pixel phones caused the inability to access internal storage, launch the camera app, or open any app across a range of Pixel models.

The solution to that problem, which came nearly a month later, was a complex and time-consuming multi-step process requiring familiarity with software tools and additional hardware (a computer).

Update 7/3 – Google has confirmed it’s working on a fix, and shared some tips for Pixel owners here.

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