The user facing features of Android 8.0 were mostly already known before yesterday's grand reveal of the Oreo name and the final version, but there are usually other tweaks that only become apparent after a bit of time looking through the documentation. One interesting new discovery is a feature called Rescue Party, which is designed to combat a much publicized recent Android problem, the infamous bootloop.

We received a tip from Arunkumar alerting us to this new feature, which works by monitoring device start-up activity and attempting to fix any issues. Rescue Party will come in to play in either of the following situations:

  • The system_server restarts more than 5 times in 5 minutes.
  • A persistent system app crashes more than 5 times in 30 seconds.

It will then escalate through a series of recovery actions, with the last resort being a reboot into recovery mode which will give you the option to do a factory reset. The features are enabled by default in Android Oreo, though OEMs are not forced to keep it if they don't want to (I'm not sure why they'd want to remove it, though). The implementation can be found here:

/services/core/java/com/android/server/RescueParty.java

Of course, there's no guarantee that this will save a bootlooping phone, as that depends entirely on each specific cause, but it should hopefully give more devices a fighting chance. You can read more about how it works on the Android Source site.

LG has been under a lot of fire for recent bootloop issues that have blighted the Nexus 5X, V20, and G5, among others. The company is all but confirmed as the manufacturer of the larger of the upcoming Pixel 2 devices, and jokes surrounding Rescue Party's introduction pretty much write themselves. This Reddit thread is full of them, such as this from deletingthisshortly: "Google preparing for the Pixel XL 2 made by LG."

It's worth clarifying that Rescue Party can't save devices from the type of bootloops suffered by LG's devices, as they were likely all hardware/driver related failures. Problems caused by misbehaving system apps or other software issues could be alleviated by the new feature, however.

  • Thanks:
  • Arunkumar