Motorola was once a revered company when it came to software updates. The then Google-owned device maker was not only consistent with software updates, but it also released them on time.

However, ever since Lenovo took reigns from Google, the story hasn’t been the same. Cases of delayed software updates have been all over and so are cases of skipped OS upgrades.

Moto G4 Plus nearly missed out on Android Oreo

A year or so ago, the Moto G4 Plus stole headlines when Motorola decided against updating it to Android Oreo. The company initially promised to release the update and then later balked causing outrage among fans.

To calm down the unhappy Moto G4 Plus owners, Motorola had to revert to its earlier stance of releasing the Oreo update for the device and earlier this year, the OS was actually released. This was the second major OS upgrade for a device that cost $250 at launch.

Moto G4 Plus Oreo update arrived in February 2019 (Source)

Fast-forward to today, the story is more of the same, but this time it involves a more expensive device that was actually the company’s only flagship phone in 2017 – the Motorola Moto Z2 Force.

Sure, most regions/users of the Moto Z2 Force have received their second major OS upgrade to Android 9 Pie. However, the U.S. has quite an interesting scenario.

Apparently, only the Verizon Wireless variant has official access to Pie while the rest will forever remain on Android Oreo. According to Motorola, it was necessary for Verizon to get Pie on the Z2 Force in order to support the 5G Moto Mod, otherwise, it wouldn’t receive the update either.

Delivering any Android upgrade is a complex process. For a variety of reasons, some US Moto Z2 Force models will not receive the Android 9 “Pie” update. The Moto Z2 Force model sold by Verizon will receive Pie as it is necessary to enable the 5G Moto Mod. We are committed to providing two years of Android security updates on all Moto Z2 force devices.

A quick look at the official Motorola software upgrade page also reveals the same details – that no other Moto Z2 Force variant sold in the U.S. will receive an upgrade to Android Pie except Verizon’s.

While Motorola might be unable to deliver the Pie update for Moto Z2 Force variants on T-Mobile and Sprint, the Android developer community isn’t. Sure, its no official update to Pie, but it’s your best shot at getting the newer OS on your Z2 Force unit sold through either carrier.

So I managed to get Pie up and running on a Sprint Z2 Force. Everything seems to be working. I’m using it for T-Mobile, and Visual Voice Mail and VoLTE seem to be working. One thing I can’t get to work is Netflix. It won’t install. if I sideload it, it won’t run.


I want to report that I have followed these instructions and have updated my TMobile Z2 Force to Pie. I am not in an US network.


One issue that has been pointed out has to do with Netflix. The app doesn’t show up in the Google Play Store nor does sideloading it work, so be wary of this scenario. There are also cases of unstable LTE connectivity, so be sure that you can live with this and probably a few more bugs.

Also, it’s worth noting that upgrading your T-Mobile or Sprint variant of the Moto Z2 Force requires an unlocked bootloader. Since AT&T doesn’t support bootloader unlocking, there’s no way of upgrading this variant to Pie.

If interested in getting your Moto Z2 Force unit upgraded to Pie, this XDA thread has all that you need to know about how to install the firmware on your device. Besides the guide, you can also get any help you need from this very thread.

Happy flashing!

NOTE: We have more Motorola-related stuff here, so feel free to check it out.

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Hillary Keverenge
2144 Posts

Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a mostly happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem.

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