Google has enabled Voice over LTE (VoLTE) roaming on Pixel phones with the June update. All eligible Pixels — Pixel 3a through Pixel 6 — can now roam across the US with VoLTE. That’s if the carrier supports VoLTE roaming.
This explains why the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL got an update this month, without any new security patch. Launched back in 2019, the duo hit their “guaranteed security updates” deadline in May this year. Google recently said the phones will get their last software update by July. It should merge all pending security patches between May and July.
But they got a surprise update this month. It’s a minor OTA (over the air) package weighing just about 10MB and doesn’t bring any new features nor does contain an updated security patch. All newer Pixels received the June 2022 Android security patch and also the latest Pixel feature Drop.
It appears Google seeded the new update to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL to add VoLTE roaming support. This was important because US carriers are phasing out 3G cellular networks this year. So if a phone doesn’t support VoLTE, it may lose cellular connectivity. The device may no longer support voice calling services, including calls to 911. Likewise, devices without VoLTE roaming support may lose cellular connectivity when roaming stateside.
With the June update, Google has enabled VoLTE roaming on all currently supported Pixel phones. So if your carrier supports the service, you can rest assured that your Pixel has got your back too. However, if you’re using a Pixel 3 series phone or older, Google recommends you upgrade to a newer model that supports VoLTE and VoLTE roaming on your carrier. The company says you may otherwise “experience issues on your home network”.
June update fixes several bugs on other Pixel phones
While VoLTE roaming support may be all the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are getting with the June update, it brings more goodies to newer Pixels. Firstly, the issue of the Pixels occasionally waking up to an empty lockscreen is gone. Several users have reported missing lockscreen widgets on pressing the power button. It required a reboot to bring them back.
Additionally, the June update improves the responsiveness of the fingerprint scanner on Pixels. It also fixes the cellular connectivity problems that had plagued the Pixel 6 series for a long. If you haven’t yet installed the latest patch on your Pixel, you might not what to delay further.