The Nokia 6.1 Plus has just launched, but as is usually the case with HMD Global’s current range of Nokia smartphones, it’s already up for its first software update. The device is now receiving a firmware update that improves system stability, and brings the device onto the August Android security patch. However, users are reporting that the update is disabling the ability to hide the notch, a feature that was available prior to the update.
We have tried it with our own Nokia 6.1 Plus review unit, and we can confirm that the update has in fact disabled the feature. The notch hiding feature essentially turns the area to either side of the notch black, although it does retain the indicators and notification icons on the strip, while keeping the on-screen content on the area below it. The feature is useful if you aren’t a fan of the notched display, and many Android smartphone makers that are offering phones with notches give the option to hide the notch using the software.
With the option disabled, Nokia 6.1 Plus users have no choice but to keep the notch active, thereby maintaining the screen area on either side of the notch. This is obviously bothersome for some users, since it takes away choice from users. There’s no firm word on why HMD Global has taken this step, but it could well be an error that will be rectified in a subsequent firmware update. If the move turns out to be deliberate, it will be the second incident in recent times where HMD Global is imposing restrictions on its software.
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The company recently blocked the ability to unlock the bootloader on select phones through the August security update, which again invited criticism from users. This move also takes away from the ability of users to customize a feature on the phone that was previously available, and is also commonplace on devices from other manufacturers.