More Google Wallet problems: phone reset bricks service

May 29, 2012

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Google Wallet can't catch a break. After some legitimate security concerns and a root hack, users from around the Internet are reporting a serious flaw in the structure of Google Wallet on new phones. Apparently a factory reset will completely disable Google Wallet on some (and possibly all) NFC-enabled Android devices. This isn't even a root/mod issue - just using the built-in Android reset function will break the authentication for your device, rendering it inoperable for Google Wallet.

The issue stems from two areas: the Near Field Communication chips used in Android phones, and Google Wallet's association with a device instead of an account. When you reset the phones in question (the Galaxy Nexus, HTC EVO 4G LTE and others) a security counter is tripped in the NFC hardware, and Google Wallet "sees" the phone as a new device. This means that your account, tied to the "old" device and NFC chip, will no longer accept a connection to Google Wallet. Standard NFC services like Android Beam are not affected.

There's a solution, sort of. Before resetting your device, go into Google Wallet's settings menu and reset the app. You can achieve the same results with a backup solution like Nandroid. Of course, that's little comfort to those who have already reset their phones to deal with some technical issue, or simply to wipe it for sale. So far inquiries to Google's customer service have been met with disheartening responses... including "buy a new phone".

With all of these deal-breaking elements of Google Wallet's service, it's no wonder that it isn't really catching on. It doesn't help that Google Wallet's NFC functionality only works in the United States, and that competitors are sprouting up everywhere. Hey Google: it's time for a serious re-evaluation of Wallet, from both a technical and practical standpoint.

[via Phandroid]

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  • Chahk Noir

    “Buy a new phone…” Really? That’s an AT&T-worthy response right there. I didn’t think any other company could stoop that low.

  • ruffneckc

    This happened to me. It was a nightmare dealing with Google’s Wallet Support team at first as they really didn’t have a solution. They suggested I deal with Samsung Europe directly (phone was imported via Expansys-USA) but they said I had to ship the phone to their repair center in the UK.

    I didn’t want to be without a phone that long so went back to Google and they eventually offered an exchange. I think they wanted my phone to investigate why it happened. I suppose not everyone will be a lucky but it’s good to spread the word that BEFORE you do a Factory Reset, go into the Google Wallet app and reset that FIRST.

    • yea and what happens when you buy used and the previous owner wipes the phone.. then Google Wallet is done for before you even try. Weak!

  • androidandy

    So my UK One X no longer has a working NFC, because I had reset my phone due to stability problems when I first got it. How can I test NFC functionality?

  • Going Apple

    so Verizon reset my device to factory defaults and now i cannot use it to purchase any apps!!! way to go!!! now i have to buy a new phone as this one is 4 months old…
    Sigh…. pathetic

  • bilsy

    how do you go back to factory settings on nexus 7 32gig

  • bilsy

    help how do I get my nexus 7 32 gig back to factory settings