Given the small build number change and similar image size, it’s not likely much has changed in this latest version. The irregular timing (mid-month on a Tuesday vs. first Monday of the month as usual) probably means it was released to fix a critical issue or vulnerability, but we can’t be sure. Google promised to fix an issue with screen flickering in December, and a bug with animation scale settings can break the always-on display, among other bugs, including an issue with SIM cards. However, Google hasn’t published any documentation related to this release anywhere we can see.
SD1A.210817.036 to SD1A.210817.037 (emphasis ours, ignoring a trailing distinction on the Verizon-specific version, which changed from A8 to A1). No changelog for this update was provided, and we haven’t seen it rolling out to any devices anecdotally just yet. There is a very small (roughly 160kb) difference in the size of the images between the two updates for the Pixel 6. Comparing build numbers between the two releases. Comparing build numbers between the releases for the Pixel 6 — the two new ones are at the bottom.
We’ve reached out to Google to see what may have changed in this latest update, but the company did not immediately respond to our query. If and when an explanation is forthcoming, we’ll be sure to let you know, but we might not hear back. These kinds of single-digit build change updates have landed silently in the past, but usually they hit more device models. Google has issued a community bulletin in the Pixel Phone Help pages explaining that the surprise update pulse for the Pixel 6 series was mainly to address reports of poor fingerprint sensor performance in addition to providing other “minor” bugfixes.
If you’d like to pull down this latest release before the OTA rolls out normally to see if it’s fixed any issues for you, you can grab it here for sideloading or install the full factory images to a bootloader-unlocked device.