With the latest Android 10 October security patch, some people using Pixel phones in the US have seen their LTE icon switch to 4G. This change is also visible in network settings, where it says 4G instead of LTE when you're choosing a connectivity preference. Since there's a lot of confusion about what exactly the difference between the two standards is, people used to seeing LTE instead of 4G have been concerned that their connection may have been downgraded. As it turns out, the whole gallimaufry was an unintended change of terminology, not a switch of the actual network, and Google has both a workaround to offer and a proper fix in the works.

The company chimed in on multiple LTE vs. 4G discussions on the Pixel subreddit and said that it identified an issue with the icons and is working on a software fix, which is intended to roll out via a future OTA. In the meantime, Google suggests a relatively complicated workaround if you're adamant about seeing that LTE icon in your status bar:

  1. Keep connected to a charger; keep SIM card inserted.
  2. Turn on airplane mode
  3. Settings -> Apps & notifications -> See all ## apps -> find and tap "Google Play services" -> Storage & cache -> Clear storage -> Clear all data
  4. Settings -> Apps & notifications -> See all ## apps -> tap three-dot icon on top right and tap Show System -> find and tap "Carrier Settings" -> Storage & cache -> Clear storage
  5. Reboot device
  6. Turn off airplane mode
  7. Icon should update in ~1 day

It seems like multiple generations of Pixel phones are affected and the problem is mainly prevalent in the US, as there are many places in the world where 4G is what you'd expect to see when you glance at your connection. This whole icon mess and the lengthy workaround just show how overly complicated mobile network naming schemes have become, and it appears as though 5G terminology won't exactly change for the better, either.

  • Thanks:
  • Wade and Marc