Google detailed the December security patch this morning for all Android devices. For the Made by Google lineup, this update addresses a number of issues that have cropped up since the launch of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Fixes include RAM management and camera performance.
The Pixel / Nexus Security Bulletin for December 2018 notes 13 “functional patches,” in addition to one security update.
These updates are included for affected Pixel devices to address functionality issues not related to the security of Pixel devices. The table includes associated references; the affected category, such as Bluetooth or mobile data; improvements; and affected devices.
One of the most important issues addressed by this month’s patch is aggressive memory management that would prevent some apps from running simultaneously. For example, snapping a picture with the camera app stopped background audio playback for some users.
Last month, Google confirmed that the fix would “keep background apps from being prematurely closed,” with it being refered to as “Improved memory performance in certain circumstances” and “Improved camera capture performance” in the December security patch. It applies to both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 line.
Also on the camera front, Google notes “Adjusted autofocus behavior” and “Improved camera shutter performance” for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. There is also “Improved contouring on HDR color on certain media apps” for the new phones. Meanwhile, the Pixel Stand benefits from “Improved notification visibility” and “Improved hotword performance.”
Google further notes “Improved Android Auto compatibility” for the second and third-generation Pixel devices, as well as “Improved audio performance for when using Android Auto in certain vehicles” on the Pixel 3.
Another issue which involved flickering on the Ambient Display is likely fixed with “Improved Always On Display triggering.”
As they move the device around, the Pixel 3 display flickering issue kicks in and lights up the bottom portion of the display in a bright white before going back to normal. In this user’s case, the issue started about three weeks after receiving the phone.
Other fixes include “Improved USB-C Audio accessory detection” on the Pixel 3 XL, while all Pixel phones benefit from “Adjusted volume behavior when toggling Bluetooth” and “Improve unlocking performance when using Bluetooth.”