In the wonderful world of Android, updates are a hot topic. Many phones are logically abandoned by their manufacturers, just a few years after their launch. To make an informed decision, this is what Samsung, Google and other Xiaomi of this world promise.
Software tracking has become an essential feature to consider when buying a smartphone. A regularly updated phone is better protected against malware, as well as having a longer lifespan. But in the world of Android, it is often difficult to see this point clearly.
Here’s what we know about each manufacturer’s commitments.
Security Update / Important Update
Before detailing each manufacturer’s policy regarding Android software tracking, it is essential to distinguish between the different update mechanisms offered by Google’s OS.
Android phones benefit from two independent update channels.
- Security updates Protecting your phone against potential viruses and other malware, these monthly updates can be deployed without touching critical system layers, making deployment easy. In general, they do not provide any new functionality, but they are essential for the proper functioning of your mobile.
- Important updates : more media, operating system updates bring new functionality. They often take longer to arrive than security updates because manufacturers have to make changes to make them compatible with their phones. Google releases a major new version of its system annually. The latest is Android 12, released in early October 2021.
To find out what is the latest security update installed on your phone, or what version of the operating system it is on, go to configurations, System, Upgrade system.
While system updates bring more new features and attract more attention, security updates are more important. Even if you don’t have the latest trending feature, staying up-to-date with security patches means your phone is protected and you can use it safely for longer. This is precisely the reason why Google has divided this update channel. When a manufacturer commits to a certain update time, they often speak of security updates.
Google: 3 to 5 years
It is not surprising that among the good students of software monitoring, we find Google. Not surprising, since the search giant is the company that develops the operating system.
Up to now, Google proposed, in its pixels, security updates during “at least three years from the date the device was initially available on the Google Store in the United StatesThis should change soon. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, which will be released on October 19, 2021, will be entitled to 5 years of security updates.
Samsung – 4 years
Right behind Google, we find Samsung among the top of its kind. In early 2021, the Korean manufacturer announced that its Galaxy devices (Z, S, Note, A, XCover and Tab) launched since 2019 will be entitled to 4 years of security updates.
The manufacturer’s folding phones are also affected. The World’s Largest Phone Maker Promises Upgrades “monthly, quarterly or semi-annually“With respect to its other ranges of mobiles, Samsung has not made a firm bet.
OnePlus / Oppo: 3 to 4 years
OnePlus and Oppo recently merged their development efforts to offer “best software tracking for phonesFrom this common effort was born an update program which looks like this:
- OnePlus Phones OnePlus 8 will receive 3 years of system update and 4 years of security update,
- Oppo Find X series you will be entitled to 3 major updates and 4 years of security update,
- Oppo Reno and Oppo F series you will be entitled to 2 major updates and 4 years of security updates,
- Oppo A series You will receive 1 major update and 3 years of security updates.
Alive – 3 years (X series only)
Less well known than Oppo and Xiaomi, the Chinese manufacturer Vivo has also detailed its update schedule. Or rather, a very small part of your upgrade program.
In a May 2021 press release, the firm has announced that it will provide three years of major updates and security updates … only for its high-end phones. More specifically, for the Vivo X series. The latter includes the I live X51 Y I live X60.
It is not clear what treatment is given to the rest of Vivo phones.
Nokia – 2 to 3 years
Nokia phones (now made by HMD Global) offer two to three years of upgrade.
- X series you will receive 3 major updates and 3 years security update,
- G series, 2 major updates and 3 years of security updates,
- C series, only 2 years of security update.
Xiaomi – 2 years
Xiaomi has dedicated a page on your site with the updates problem. In the latter, the manufacturer indicates to provide updates “monthly or quarterly for at least 2 years“After a phone went on the market.
The series of Xiaomi mi 11 seems to be an exception. In September 2021 The company announced that the mobiles of this family will receive 3 major updates and 4 years of security update. This policy does not include “for the moment», Other devices from the manufacturer.
Motorola – 2 years
Regarding its latest series of high-end smartphones (edge 20), Motorola will offer two major Android updates and two years of security updates.
The manufacturer has not communicated about the rest of its catalog, but it is very likely that no other mobile offers more than two years of monitoring.
Since Huawei was blacklisted in the United States, the manufacturer can no longer install Android on its phones. While some mobiles have continued to receive updates since then, none of the manufacturer’s smartphones will see Android 12.
Huawei has started to install its home operating system (HarmonyOS) on its smartphones, but has not made a firm commitment on the duration of the updates.
Progress, you can do better
If we can say that Android update tracking has been improved in recent years, the market is far from perfect. For economic and ecological reasons, our mobiles should be backed by software for much longer. Having to change your phone after two years, because your mobile is no longer protected against security threats, is absurd.
The task is not impossible. As proof, Apple is rolling out updates for 7-year-old phones. Certainly the company has a huge advantage as it builds the hardware and software (which is not the case for most Android makers), but even Google, which is in a similar situation to Apple, doesn’t promise such a long follow up. -above.
In short, if there is something better today, significant progress remains to be made in this area.