Samsung Galaxy S6 Phone System Update Today

My Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphone was running Android 6.0.1 until today, when the notification reached me, that a System Update was available.

So once I got home, I eagerly installed that, and my phone is now running Android 7.0 – which is also known as Nougat.

I am impressed with this, even though the main feature I see is the screen layout. Obviously, there is more to Android Nougat than that. But, while it seems at first glance that everything worked as planned, I cannot honestly claim that everything is in fact 100%, because I haven’t had the time to test many of the new features yet.

For the moment, I’d say that the update was a success.

There was one detail which I specifically did check. One of the usage habits with which I’ve used Marshmallow and Nougat in the past, was to white-list some of my apps, from Battery Optimization. The reason I need to do this, is my desire to allow some of these apps to run in the background, even though I may not be making any foreground use of them. And, these apps are often older, in that their devs have not adapted them to the newer ways of allowing this to happen. Since modern Android aggressively kills apps that fit this description, my devices have white-lists of apps that should not be killed.

What I did expect is that the update to 7.0 would roll back all my personal white-lists. But I still want them. If the app is too outdated to run on 6.0.1 correctly, then it will probably also be too outdated to run on 7.0 correctly.

It took me a few tries, to find where I can do this.

One of the things which Samsung has done with this update, is to design a UI which is user-friendlier, and also more different from Stock Android, than earlier Samsung versions were. And this means that if I want to find something advanced, I need to poke around in the new settings menu a bit.

I have restored my own preference, that my phone is to have a more extensive white-list, for Battery Optimization, than I feel the Tablet should have. And this relates to the fact that while I do want my phone to send me my many notifications, there is little use if the same notifications are always sounding on the tablet. Chances are, I’ll have my phone in my shirt-pocket, while I’m sitting in front of my tablet. And then, if I want my tablet-view of something that the phone just notified me about, manually activating the corresponding app on the tablet works just fine.

I think that any data-miners might get confused by my habits, of inviting many notifications on my phone, but often not tapping on them, to open the corresponding app-pages. But the way I’m set up, the notification text itself usually gives me enough information, that I can just swipe the notification away, and still have a general sense of what’s going on in the world.


(Edit 05/20/2017 : )

Continue reading Samsung Galaxy S6 Phone System Update Today

Pixel C Crash Yesterday Night

Yesterday evening, my new Pixel C Tablet did something for the first time, which was ominous. Its screen just went dark, and then started to display the logo, which it displays during a restart. It followed through with a successful restart.

Some people mistakenly think that this behavior is a reboot. If we were to call it that, then this behavior would need to be called a Hard Boot – as opposed to a Soft Boot, which happens when the user shuts the tablet down from the software-side, in telling it to reboot. In fact, a Hard Boot would be happening when the user uses the power-button to force a Hard Boot, and would have an explanation in that.

In reality, what the tablet did was a spontaneous reset. This type of event is also a File System Event, as the File System was never unmounted. Hence, the tablet also needed to repair its file system when it booted anew.

But, there are certain safety-factors built into how any serious O/S works, and built into how any file system works. So in most cases, the repair to the file system succeeds.

The fact that this has happened to a brand-new tablet, causes me to question how (un)stable it might really be. I’ve only had this tablet for a few short months now.

One of the features of how this happens, which is even less reassuring, is that after the reset, there is nothing displayed in the user interface, which betrays the fact that the reset happened. What this means is that in theory, this could be happening every night as I sleep, even while the tablet is charging, because by the next morning, there would be nothing displayed, to betray the fact that it has happened.

It just happens to have taken place once now, while I was sitting in front of it.


(Edit : )

I should add, that this tablet is running the May 5 patch of Android 7.1.2 .


Latest Android Patch / Norton Mobile Version, Introduce a Bug.

My Pixel C tablet is running Android 7.1.2, and overall I am happy with it. One interesting difference that exists between this stock Android implementation, and the Samsung implementations I am used to, is that this implementation has no disable feature, to look on the servers for the latest security patch. And frankly, I like my devices to be up-to-date.

This means that I have already installed the May 5 patch, with its latest security enhancements.

But this patch seems to have introduced one bug I am aware of. When I go into ‘Settings -> Security -> Device Administrators’ , and when I try to enable ‘Norton Mobile Security’ as a Device Administrator, then I get the message that the Settings app has crashed – each time. Yet luckily, in general, I can still change app permissions – just not Device Administrator Status.

The Device Administrator Status allows one app selected by the user – or several apps if he so chooses – to take over control of the mobile device. It needs to be unset, before the app in question can be deactivated. But apps can sometimes refuse to let users unset this Status Bit, in order to protect the Device Administrator capabilities of the app.

It tends to get used by anti-theft software, so that the anti-theft can remotely wipe, or just track the whereabouts of the device, without a person who may have stolen it, being able to deactivate this feature. So there do exist scenarios in which we’d want this capability.

I happen to have another anti-theft app on the same tablet, which has Device Administrator Status set, so I am not fearful that I would have no recourse, if the device was stolen.

But it would actually be nice to have two anti-theft systems in place, by adding this capability for Norton Mobile Security.

Now, instead of just thinking that the crash is a bug, I could guess that it might be another app, with this bit set, that is interfering in my (user) ability to Set Device Administrator instead, for the app I chose. But more according to my real musings, if another app had set that, the result should just be a message-box telling me that the settings change has been refused… The result should still not be, a crashed Settings App. And so it would seem to make more sense to me, that this is just a bug, introduced by the latest Security Patch. I am hoping that this bug will be gone, by the time the June 5 patch is out.


(Edit 05/18/2017 : )

Actually, it now seems that this bug could be with Norton Mobile Security, and not with Android itself.

The reason I am saying this, is the fact that I can assign Administrator Privileges to another app without problems. The app in question needs to display an additional screen, once we have checked it off, and from that screen, the privilege can be granted.

Norton Mobile Security could contain some programming error, that hinders it from displaying that additional screen correctly, and that causes the Settings App to crash instead.