Google Remotely Changes Phone Settings

John Lister's picture

Google has apologized for remotely switching on "battery saver mode" on some Android phones. It says it was an internal test that was mistakenly rolled out.

Battery Saver is an optional mode first added to the Android system in 2014. It aims to find a balance between reducing battery drain and maintaining convenience and functionality.

The mode is effectively a collection of settings changes. These include reducing background processes (activity by apps the user isn't actively using), cutting down on screen animations, and stopping apps from automatically updating. It also disables some features such as location tracking when the phone is idle.

Mode Switched On Without Warning

Normally it's up to the user to decide whether they want battery saver mode completely disabled, permanently switched on, or turned on only in specific circumstances. In most cases the default option is that it switches on when the battery level is reduced to 15 percent of capacity, the idea being to eke out a bit more time before the user can charge the handset.

Several users have reported finding the mode switched on regardless of the battery level. While multiple makes and models of phones were involved, it appears they were all running Android Pie (also known as Android 9), the latest edition of the system. (Source:

Google Blames 'Internal Experiment'

Google has now responded in an online forum, saying that "... some of you may have noticed that battery saver turned on automatically today. 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." (Source:

That's raised a couple of questions among users. One questions exactly how an internal experiment could be rolled out to ordinary users by mistake.

Another is whether Google should have the ability to remotely change settings outside of an update to the operating system itself, particularly without an accompanying notification so that users know about the changes.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you use any battery savings modes on your handset? Do you buy Google's explanation of the mistake? Should Google ever change user settings without the user's knowledge or consent?

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Autodoof's picture

This opens the question of who or what is really in control of these electronic devices. Think of the future in your autonomous car, when one of your commands is met with “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that”.

jomar's picture

That is when I start using my bicycle,...if I survive that situ. It may be true that all electronic devices are sold with a "back door" that the user does NOT know about. These electronic devices can be accessed without the users knowledge at any time,..even when the unit appears to be off. User beware. We already know that electronic devices can be used to listen and watch the user without the knowledge of the user?owner. Now with the advent of 5G invasive technology this adds another layer of ability for the deepstate/gov. to monitor, manipulate, and even sicken or kill the population. Wait and see if you do not believe me. You have been warned.
Have you ever heard of anyone demanding that they have "faster downloads". This is propaganda and it is the same old axiom, "if it is repeated long enough and often enough then it will be believed" Stay awake folks, stay aware plz.