Fix incoming: Soft reboots with AdGuard DNS on Android Pie's Private DNS

Changing system-wide DNS is a long-awaited feature in Android, and Google answered it by introducing ‘Private DNS’ in Android 9 Pie. As an add-on, users get DNS-over-TLS (DoT) support as well.

Well, Google did the job but not all OEMs are ready to make the change. A classic example of fragmentation in the world of Android – Xiaomi probably skipped this feature altogether in their Android Pie based MIUI 10.

Leaving those minor hiccups aside, users can theoretically block ads on Android Pie combining Private DNS feature with a custom DNS provider who blocks ads at DNS level.

AdGuard DNS is one such service. They provide multiple platform specific paid adblockers, but the DNS service is currently free. Not only it is platform agnostic, it also supports modern secure protocols such as DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) and DNS-over-TLS (DoT).

Setting AdGuard as Private DNS provider on OnePlus 6

Enthusiasts quickly joined the bandwagon and started using AdGuard’s DNS on their phones after getting Pie update. But virtually all of them have encountered an issue where the phone soft-reboots randomly when Private DNS provider is set to AdGuard ( for “Default” or for “Family protection”).

A soft-reboot is nothing but the automatic restart of the System UI. The full (or hard) reboot needs to restart the entire operating system from scratch, but in these cases only System UI is crashing. The way the bug is spreaded over phones from multiple vendors, it is probably a bug on Android Pie itself.

Phones like Google’s Pixel lineup, Essential PH-1, Nokia 6.1, OnePlus 6, Mi A2 Lite – the list of affected devices is just keep expanding.

Users have posted about the glitch on platforms like reddit, XDA, AdGuard forums and even on Google’s own bug tracker. In fact both Google and AdGuard did officially acknowledge the issue.

Fortunately there is a worthy development two days ago:

Marked as fixed.
The issue has been fixed and it will become available in a future Android release.



It looks like the bug actually resides deep down in the network stack of Android, as the netd daemon crashes while using the aforementioned DNS service with DoT support.

On the other hand, Google doesn’t give any definite timeline of the fix to rollout. It may be inside next month’s security update, or the month after that, or scheduled for Android Q.

We are monitoring the issue so keep an eye on this article for updates.

What method do you prefer for blocking ads in your Android phone?

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.