Just last week, we were still wondering what was going to happen when AT&T got their mitts on Google’s Nexus 6. Would they brand the device with their logo? Would it have other customizations, like bloatware and an AT&T themed boot animation? Would they SIM lock it to their network? Unfortunately, the answer to all of that is – YES. According to a handful of our readers with the device, along with a number of folks over at XDA, we have confirmation on all of this. The phone even comes in a different box than the version sold through Google Play or Motorola’s site.
So here is what we know and some things that you can do to fix the situation.
The device is SIM locked to AT&T. That means you probably can’t take it to Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint and get it to work like it should. You will need AT&T to unlock the device for you, something they likely aren’t going to do unless you have paid the device off in full. So even though Google created this device to be compatible with just about every major network on the planet, AT&T’s version disables that functionality because, well, that’s what AT&T does. You can view all of AT&T’s unlocking requirements here.
The phone is branded on the back with an AT&T logo. Some users have reported that it can easily be scraped off with the edge of a credit card, so if it really is driving you nuts, you may want to consider a little doctoring.
The device has an AT&T boot animation (splash screen of the AT&T Globe) and ringtones, along with bloatware that is installed when the phone is activated with an AT&T SIM. While the bloatware can be easily removed, the boot animation won’t go away unless you root the device and then make a tweak to your bootanimation.zip file. As for the ringtones, they are ringtones. I’m sure you can survive with them.
Finally, tethering doesn’t work out of the box, but users over at XDA already figured out a simple tweak to the phone’s build.prop file to get it up and running. You will have to flash a custom recovery, but you don’t need to fully root.
Thankfully, the phone’s bootloader can still be unlocked, factory images can be flashed, and it’s running the exact same version of Android 5.0 as the rest of the Nexus 6s. AT&T made some minor changes, but none of it should impact the fact that this is still a Nexus. Of course, we’ll see if that holds true when the first OTA update arrives.
So, in the end, the AT&T Nexus 6 does have some issues, but most of it can either be fixed or isn’t really that big of a deal.
To get the details on all of the tweaks I just walked through, hit up the XDA thread linked below.