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Android Q Might Give Carriers More Ways To Lock Your Phone

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Every major version of Android is always worth hyping about, but the upcoming Android Q update may more or less piss a lot of people off, if latest rumors are to be believed.

While recent leaks hint that Android Q will bring about positive changes for Android moving forward, possibly system-wide dark mode and new permission settings, not all will be as pleasant.

Android Q Network Changes

Recent code changes now reveal that network carriers will have expanded abilities to lock down phones to specific networks via a SIM card. Four code commits in various parts of Android's Gerrit source code management, all entitled "Carrier restriction enhancements for Android Q," suggest as much. They all imply that the forthcoming version of Android will let carriers have more fine-grained control over which networks devices will and will not work on.

Worse yet, carriers might be given the ability to designate networks they want to allow and those they want excluded, akin to a blacklist or whitelist of what network will work on a certain smartphone. Not only that, but these finer restriction settings could also apply to virtual carrier networks that run on the same towers as the main carrier.

Another potential outcome of these new changes is the ability for carriers to lock out the second SIM tray on dual-SIM smartphones. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this gives carriers a fair amount of leeway over tightening their control of different devices. It doesn't sound all too bad on first, through, but Android Authority provides this example:

"[A] carrier could create a rule that in order for the second slot of a SIM tray to be active, the first slot must be filled with an active SIM from that carrier." Put this way, it's clear how carriers could easily abuse this power.

Don't Panic Yet

The final code of Android Q is yet to come out, so take everything mentioned above with a grain of salt. After all, these commits, even if they're true, isn't guaranteed to end up in the final, stable release, especially now that the public has caught wind of it and isn't too happy about its proposed changes.

If carrier-related restriction does make it to the final version, it's clear there would be more incentive toward buying unlocked phones, if only to avoid being locked down to certain networks.

Make sure to check back with Tech Times as we learn more.

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