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Some AT&T LG G4s Updating Software Without User Permission

June 9, 2015 - Written By David Steele

LG’s new flagship smartphone, the G4, has already proven to be something of a controversial device thanks to LG’s decision to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor (rather than the Snapdragon 810). This marks the device as one notch down from other flagship devices, such as the LG G Flex 2 or HTC One M9, which have the Snapdragon: the G4 is down two processor cores and several hundred (potential) megahertz of processor speeds. However, the G4 is still a very capable device with a superb camera and currently a device which seems to consistently do well when reviewed.

A number of AT&T’s LG G4 customers have noticed that their new smartphone has spontaneously restarted today… and performed a software update during the process. We’ve seen reports on Reddit and Twitter; customers have asked both AT&T and LG if they have pushed the update to the device and each respective customer has blamed the other partner. AT&T report that they are unable to push a device update to a customer handset without a notification or similar, and LG report that they do not push software updates to customer devices without user permission. Either one, or both, businesses is perhaps… misinterpreting… the truth or there is something strange afoot.

At least one user has reported that following the 25 MB update, the LG G4 no longer has an annoying WiFi bug that causes the device to drop off a WiFi network operating in the 5 GHz frequency range and either revert to LTE, or not receive any data from the router for a random period of time. However, other users have reported no change in WiFi behavior on the G4 following the update when operating in the 5 GHz frequency point. We’ve also seen customers reporting that their device is smoother and more responsive after the update, but this might simply be because the device was restarted.

Things are somewhat confusing because there does not appear to be a changelog detailing the improvements in the software update: neither AT&T nor LG have revealed any material information about the update. Instead, customer handsets silently downloaded the update patch and then spontaneously restarted the device. A more subtle approach might have been to apply the update at the next reboot rather than take over the device, dropping the call and rebooting. Some customers have angrily asked what would have happened if they were on an emergency call? Also, software updates usually provide a dialogue prompt with the option for the customer to decline the update, which is handy if the updated software is known to cause an issue with the device.