Android 4.4 KitKat Issues: 6 Problems Plaguing The New OS And How To Fix Them [REPORT]
The Android 4.4 KitKat Update Brought A Number Of Problems For Both Nexus Device And Other Android Devices
Android 4.4 KitKat has issues, there are six major problems plaguing the new OS update since it started rolling out over the course of this past month. One big issue is that with the new SMS integration Hangouts has been unable to receive MMS or picture messages for a range of devices. Another Android 4.4 KitKat issue is that the Nexus 4 has been suffering from a series of problems since the new OS update ranging from the minor to severe. Another Android 4.4 KitKat related issue is that the Nexus 5 camera app has widely been acknowledged to be poor and Google has promised it will be coming out with a software update to fix it. Another Android 4.4 KitKat problem that has been reported is that the Nexus 5 is suffering from some GPS problems according to some users
The Android 4.4 KitKat update brought with it SMS and Hangouts integration replacing the stock messaging app found on most devices which suffers from issues and problems. Unfortunately it appears that across all devices that currently have Android 4.4 KitKat, Hangouts has an error which leaves it unable to receive MMS messages or pictures. The problem is holding through for all devices and even older versions of Android including Android 4.2 and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean suggesting that this a problem specific to the Hangouts app. Users have reported problems with devices as recent as the Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and as old as the HTC Thunderbolt running Android 4.0.
I tried to send MMS on my phone via Hangouts but the app will just keep retrying and fails to send.
At first I thought was APN issue but I tried the stock messaging app to send the same MMS and it was fine. In fact after sending via the stock app, the MMS appeared fine on Hangouts. No issues with sending normal SMS or Hangouts messages.
Android 4.2.2 (Sony Xperia Z1)
Hangouts 2.0.125 (909441-30)
APN - see attached screenshots (total of 3 images)
Of course Hangouts users should be aware that on devices like the Nexus 7 Wi-Fi running Android 4.4 KitKat, there isn't necessarily a problem, as Nick Rock on the Google product forum explains, "You are only able to send SMS/MMS from a phone or table that has a mobile SMS plan from your provider. SMS are not sent via WiFi or Hangouts and your friends don't need to use Hangouts at all." At the same time it the Hangouts problem with MMS messages being unable to be sent is well acknowledged on the Android Central forum with confirmation that the Samsung Galaxy S4, Moto X, Evo LTE
Google has acknowledged the Android 4.4 KitKat problem and is currently investigating it as reports flood in for a wide range of devices including the HTC One, LG Optimus L9, Nexus 5, Nexus 4 and others. It may still take some time for Google to investigate the issue and find a fix which will require a software update to not just Android 4.4 KitKat but also Android 4.2 and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean since the problem seems to be Hangouts specific and not necessarily tied to the Android OS.
While waiting for Google to fix the Android 4.4 KitKat problem one potential solution is to replace Hangouts with the stock messaging app again. This appears to be the best solution currently showing up in the Google product forums, one user reports that for his Droid Ultra Maxx, "[I] do have mms on my plan and can send them just fine from the stock messaging app[.]" Changing back to the stock messenger app until the problems with Hangouts is fairly simple if you are running Android 4.4 KitKat. You can revert to the stock messenger app or in the case of devices that don't get a stock messenger app (Nexus 5) then you can download a messenger app from the Google Play Store like Kik Messenger,. After downloading or to revert to the stock app simply go to Settings -> Wireless and Networks->More->Default SMS app and then choose the stock one or whichever one you have installed from the list. Other alternatives include Whatsapp, Viber and BBM. One of the best solutions is likely Chomp SMS which I now use for the Nexus 5 until Hangouts is fixed.
Some of the most serious Android 4.4 KitKat issues are with the Nexus 4 which is suffering from problems following the new OS update. The Nexus 4 update came out following the Moto X Android 4.4 KitKat update and has been suffering from massive problems with the KRT16S build. The Nexus 4 problems include things like the Home Button not working and Quick Settings issues toggle, broken dialer and other things. Once the Android 4.4 KitKat update is installed the setting button at the top right doesn't do anything, the quick settings menu is missing, and the home button and the dialer apparently don't work. On top of that some have reported the loss of all phone functionality:
I have an LG Nexus 4.
A few days ago I've got the Android 4.3 update. The update itself went normal, phone rebooted and all seemed to work fine.
However, after the update:
-> The mobile network signal is very poor (did not happen before).
-> The phone kees asking for the simcard pincode (did not happen before)
-> I cannot send SMS messages (did not happen before)
-> Sometimes the mobile signal alternates high-low and so does the 2G/3G
All in all the Nexus 4 lost all his mobile phone capabilities and became just an internet device (WiFi seems to work fine).
With the Nexus 4 dialer in Android 4.4 KitKat suffering from issues it looks like the integration with Google Search is broken. Additional complaints include the fact that the Gallery app doesn't appear in the multi-task menu and won't open on occasion for certain users. Now this isn't universally true for all Nexus 4's but it has happened to a fair number of devices. According to Android Police the problem is mainly appearing for those upgrading from Android 4.3 JellyBean JWR66Y to Android 4.4 KitKat KRT16S OTA or by factory image without wiping data first. It doesn't appear there is a connect to rooting or unlocked bootloaders. There are additional reports of fast battery drain following the Android 4.4 KitKat update on the Nexus 4.
Today Morning i got update from Google for the Android KitKat 4.4 os for my Nexus 4. There is no issues during installation and updating.
But, Its consuming all my battery at once. Like, i am using Nexus from last 1 month. I had a daily routine of switching on my phone wifi when i am in Office and doing surfing. My phone battery used to get charged from 20% to 100% within 1 couple of hours, but now from morning with usual routine after updating to New OS 4.4 the battery is draining like a hell. It is getting reducing from 50% to 10% within a 15 minutes. As even i am not using GPS too.
I really got in a problem. And even if i kept my phone for charging by killing all apps running in background , its taking 1 hour to charge only 2%.... And as i mentioned that no apps are running except Android OS Default Processes.
Unfortunately it doesn't look like the Nexus 4 Android 4.4 KitKat problems with the home button and empty quick settings menu have been acknowledged by Googe on the Nexus product forum though some have reported faster battery drain, or AOSP issue tracker. The most commonly suggested fix is a factory data reset which will erase all the apps and data on the Nexus 4 and should hopefully solve the Android 4.4 KitKat problem once everything is installed. Users are advised to back up their data before a full reset. Another solution proposed by Paul O' Brien for the Android 4.4 KitKat broken home button problem is, "adb shell am start -n com.google.android.setupwizard/.SetupWizardTestActivity".
Update: A possible fix has been suggested by Paul O'Brien. If you have adb set up on your computer, try running 'adb shell am start -n com.google.android.setupwizard/.SetupWizardTestActivity' from the command line. Alternatively, if you use a launcher capable of running custom activities (Nova and Apex are popular choices), try going to the widget drawer and creating an activity pointing to Setup Wizard > SetupWizardTestActivity, then run it. Once the Setup Wizard has started, go through the normal steps for setting up a phone. In theory, this should fix the various button issues. None of us at Android Police can reproduce the bug, but this method shouldn't cause any adverse effects. Good luck, and let's hope this works for everybody! - Thanks, Paul!
One Android 4.4 KitKat issue is with the Nexus 5 has an improved camera compared to the often criticized camera app of the Nexus 4, but the Nexus 5 camera app still suffers from problems resulting in the software lagging behind the hardware. Apparently leftover AOSP code hinted that an improved camera API was being worked on before being scrapped in advance of the Android 4.4 KitKat release. It now appears that two new camera features already coded into Android 4.4 KitKat will be added, "Android's latest camera HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and framework supports raw and burst-mode photography. We will expose a developer API [application programming interface] in a future release to expose more of the HAL functionality."
The Android 4.4 KitKat update for the Nexus 5 camera will include RAW image support and burst mode which will include a large number of improved capabilities, "Full-capability devices allow for per-frame control of capture hardware and post-processing parameters at high frame rates. They also provide output data at high resolution in uncompressed formats, in addition to compressed JPEG output." Camera RAW is currently only found on the upcoming Nokia Lumia 1520 which will make the Nexus 5 one of the first smartphones to have that capability. Major improvements will come to image quality so the new camera API should have "substantially improved capabilities" and "fine-grain control". All there is to do is wait for Google to roll out the new Nexus 5 camera API update or download a camera app from the Google Play Store.
This Android 4.4 KitKat problem hasn't been widely reported but some users have said that they are suffering from GPS issues with the Nexus 5. So far all the complaints about the GPS unable to get a lock have been restricted to the Nexus 5 suggesting that it might be a problem with the device rather than Android 4.4 KitKat. Nathan posts in the Google product forum:
I am experiencing GPS issues on my Google Nexus 5 with Android 4.4 (KitKat). I don't know if the issues are caused by the Nexus 5 hardware or by Android 4.4. My problem is that the GPS seems to frequently lose lock and/or have very large range of inaccuracy (~150 ft). From testing, I have found that immediately after a reboot (before all the applications/services even have time to start up) or immediately after disabling and re-enabling location services, the GPS lock is fast and accurate, but after a short time, the lock gets worse or is lost all-together.
The problem is nearly identical to the problem that I had when I first got Android 4.3 on my Galaxy Nexus. Information about that problem can be found here: http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/nexus/R17uwFIYrxM
For me, the GPS lock issues on my Galaxy Nexus were fixed by some sort of server side backend change by Google. A Google employee named Paul, posted on Aug 28th:
Thanks for letting us know you're having trouble with GPS on your Galaxy Nexus phones. We made a change on our end a few hours ago to help address this. Please let us know if you're still experiencing GPS issues."
I tested after this post and all my GPS issues were resolved and GPS worked well for me until I replaced my Galaxy Nexus with a Nexus 5. I am hoping that Paul sees this post and once again there is just a change needed on the back end.
Another Android 4.4 KitKat issue with the Nexus 5 GPS with the Android 4.4 KitKat update is largely similar:
Keep an eye on GPS performance for a week or two. Like you I RMA'd my first N5 - I don't have data to back this up but I think it started out working fine and then got worse to the point where it would take 15-20 minutes standing still outside my house before it got a lock (and never when inside). Google agreed to replace it without quibble.
My new N5, received a week ago today, started out great. Side by side comparison showed a much stronger signal to all satellites, connection to a few more and the new phone even got a lock inside.
One week later and the new N5 is acting in the same way as the old. Especially when I switch to an app requiring GPS when leaving my house it doesn't get a lock until I am 1-2 miles away, and now never gets one inside. However, I'm starting to wonder whether Google's software is trying to act clever by remembering/knowing the wifi networks and cell signal strengths in the places I spend most of my time (home/work) and therefore not bothering to try the GPS connections when I am in those locations. I'm really hoping this is a software issue rather than hardware, but if GPS performance gets worse I will return this phone too and think about what to get next - not another N5.
Over the next few days I'll experiment with suggestions above in this thread - switch to GPS-only tracking instead of High Accuracy and also turn off wifi scanning even when wifi is off - if the problem is software as in my vague guess above this might solve it.
The Android 4.4 KitKat problem also appears to have been present on the Nexus 4 but was reportedly fixed following the clearing of the cache and app data and a reboot. There is also a video that shows the problem with the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat unable to get the GPS lock:
The GPS lock on the Nexus 5 / Android 4.4 takes some time to lock. Especially when trying to get a fix from a "cold start". Compared to the Samsung S4, it takes twice (sometimes three times) as long to get a lock.
So far there doesn't seem to be a clear or present solution for the Android 4.4 KitKat issue but Paul from the Google product forum suggests the following that could help fix the GPS:
Thanks for letting us know about your experience with GPS on your Nexus 5. Try starting your device in safe mode (instructions and info here) and not running any apps you've installed to test if one of them is causing a problem with your GPS lock. If you don't experience the problem while in safe mode that's a good indication that an app you've installed is the source of your issue.
I'd appreciate it if you could give that a test and let me know how it goes.
One of the key features of the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat is the Google Now integration but some users are disturbingly reporting that the Android 4.4 KitKat integration appears to be broken. On Android Police what has been most commonly reported is that the Google account crashes, suffers from sync errors and sometimes the problems spreads from the Nexus 5 to other devices and results in a large number of bizarre behavior illustrated in the following video posted by Jess Newcomb:
Trouble with setting up my BRAND NEW! Nexus 5. Google Now disappears all this even after factory resets the nuclear option. Help me Mr. Wizard. Google plans on sending me another device but I am not sure that will fix the issue since just changing accounts seems to fix it. But how can just changing accounts make google now disappear and why would it come back like that.
Android Central suggests that the Android 4.4 KitKat problem may be due to Location History provided that users do not open a Google Apps Business Account which is not simply turned off. The location history is a requirement for Google Now to operate which means that location tracking might be off. Enabling location history might help. The official Google word Is to have users go to Settings->Help & Feedback->Send Feedback so Google can get more information on the problem to figure out how to fix it. Others solutions suggested include signing into and out of the account, a more extreme version of that is the factory reset which one user reported worked for him.
First, starting from factory reset condition. Do not insert your SIM card yet. If your account has 2-step verification, you need to make it possible to receive verification SMS like inserting the SIM card to another phone or just disable 2-step verification for now. Before initialization is complete, this phone won't be able to receive verification code SMS.
1. The language should be English US, as mentioned before.
2. The phone will ask you to insert SIM card. SKIP IT.
3. Initialize the phone as normal. Phone will ask you if you want Google Now. Yes, of course.
4. OK, you can insert your SIM card and restart your phone now, do whatever you want (root, unlock, ART, flash, etc). You might want to re-enable your 2-step password if you had it disabled.
Aside from that a hit or miss solution to fix the Android 4.4 KitKat isue for rooted phones is to remove Google Search and install an older version, opt into Google Now and update the apk to 3.0. The instructions to do that are here:
1. Create a backup of the phone (actually saved me!)
2. Install Titanum Backup (make sure to be using dalvik instead of ART) and Nova Launcher (the normal launcher will not work after uninstalling google search 3)
3. Do a backup of google search 3 and then uninstall
4. Install google search 2.6, open and accept google now
5. Uninstall google search 2.6
6. Restore google search 3 backup app ONLY, do not restore data.
7. "Google Now" now works on my Nexus 5! My home screens were reset in the process though.
The Android 4.4 KitKat issue that has the potential to be the most serious and malicious problem is an SMS vulnerability that can manually reboot the Nexus 5 in a denial of service style attack for smartphones. The security exploit is the result of the way the Nexus 5 handles Flash SMS. The explot was discovered by Bogdon Alecu and it forces the Nexus 5 to reboot, freeze or face connectivity all done remotely. It is not clear if the vulnerability is the result of Android 4.4 KitKat issues or the Nexus 5 in particular.
It seems that the devices that are affected by the Android 4.4 KitKat problems include all Android 4.0+ versions of the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4 and Nexus 5. Basically the Flash SMS is a special class which is not stored on the system and doesn't trigger an audio notification, when the aforementioned devices get them in quick sucession it often results in a random reboot, connectivity issues and freezing. The problem is that this allows a hacker to potentially take control of the Nexus 5 and other Nexus devices and access personal information in a denial of service style attack.
Google has either fixed the Android 4.4 KitKat problem or is working on fixing it according to PC World:
Alecu claims he contacted Google several times since he found the flaw, but mostly got automated responses. Someone from the Android Security Team responded in July and said the issue would be fixed in Android 4.3, but it wasn't, Alecu said, adding that this contributed to his decision to disclose the problem publicly.
"We thank him for bringing the possible issue to our attention and we are investigating," a Google representative said via email.
Check our other Android 4.4 KitKat stories and problems with other devices:
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