Whether you use them or not, your smartphone is filled with features. Some have to do with security and privacy, while others impact its ability to perform certain tasks or run specific apps.
Most of the settings can be found or messed with through just a couple of taps, and you have probably figured out how to do that for the things you often need. Regardless of what it is, though, there is an understanding that a setting will not change unless we do it ourselves.
At least, that’s how it is supposed to work. But for some folks with Android phones, a setting was changed automatically and from afar.
Google said it was a mistake and they apologized
The setting that was activated was the battery saving one. The battery saver impacts how often apps update and work in the background, so while it’s possible people noticed immediately there’s also a good chance the change went undetected for many.
The battery saver impacts how often apps update and work in the background while also delaying notifications and even stopping location services when the device is not in use. Everything it does is meant to help preserve battery life.
Google explained what happened in a Reddit thread:
“This was an internal experiment to test battery saving features that was mistakenly rolled out to more users than intended. We have now rolled battery saver settings back to default. Please configure to your liking. Sorry for the confusion.”
Nothing to see here…or is there?
Now, we all know manufacturers can push things to our phones, be them updates or other kind of notifications. But even as innocuous as accidentally activating battery saver may be, the very idea that Google can just alter our device’s settings is at least a little concerning.
It also probably shouldn’t be surprising. The more our technology is connected digitally, the more they can likely be controlled remotely.
For instance, certain electric car manufacturers are actually able to increase the battery capacity of their vehicles seemingly at the flip of a switch. Tesla, in particular, announced in preparation of Hurricane Florence it would remotely enable the ability to tap into extra battery capacity for its Model S and X, giving each about 30 miles of extra range.
The limited, normal battery capacity will return in October. While not at all the same as what happened with Google’s mistake, it is just another instance where changes can be made from afar and without your knowledge.