Here’s an interesting turn of events. As you probably know, Android 5.1 was announced earlier this week and OTA’s have started rolling out already. We sideloaded our Nexus 6 OTA a few days ago and have been playing around with it. One thing we noticed was an app in the settings. It’s called “Backup”. It’s actually Verizon’s backup app that is on every single one of their devices. And now, everyone that has a Nexus 6 and updates to Android 5.1 gets that app as well. Even if you don’t have Verizon. Now some of you may think that this isn’t news, because other carriers have bloat on the Nexus 6. This is correct, but let’s explain the difference.
With Android 5.0, carriers can have certain apps automatically downloaded onto your Nexus 6. But this only happens when you put in your SIM card and connect to their network. For instance with T-Mobile USA, it will automatically download the T-Mobile MyAccount app. Which I don’t have a problem with as I use that app a lot. But as you can see from the images in this post, there is no SIM card in my Nexus 6 (and hasn’t been for months). So that means that Verizon Backup is baked into the system image now.
The app doesn’t appear in your app drawer though, only in Settings > Apps > All. After a quick look through in the apps, I don’t see any other apps that don’t belong there. So it looks like it’s just the one. And of course, you can’t disable it without root. Which for most people, that doesn’t matter as root on a Nexus is very simple to achieve.
So when you get your Nexus 6 Android 5.1 OTA, you get some Verizon bloat in there as well. It could be worse, and likely will be worse for Verizon users. But as Nexus users and Android Purists, I’m sure there’s plenty of unhappy people out there. If you have the Android 5.1 update on your Nexus 6, do us a favor and scroll through your apps list in the Settings. Let us know if you see the Verizon Backup app listed in there.