A Beginner’s Guide to Android Updates and Why They’re Important

    With so much talk swirling around the number of update years Android phones offer when compared to iPhones, and OEMs trying to support each other in that regard, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. what. You may also think why the software on your device even needs to be tweaked when everything is already running perfectly fine.

    The thing is, in addition to all the interface changes that are appealing to users, the updates also introduce many fundamental optimizations. These include performance improvements and more importantly – security and privacy updates. Let’s start by looking at what you miss out on using an older version of Android or if your phone is reaching the end of its software support life.

    Why update your Android phone

    Enhanced security and privacy

    One of the most common ways for malicious apps to gain access to your private data is through permissions, which, ironically, are mostly granted by the users themselves. Until Android 10, apps were given lifetime access to things like the microphone or internal storage after the user gave consent.

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    Android 11 changed this by introducing the “Only this time” permission in the permissions dialog. If the user selects this option, the app will be granted a one-time temporary permission. Android 12 strengthens privacy enforcement by introducing privacy indicators that are specific to when an app accesses your microphone and camera. Later, Android 13 expanded on this with built-in controls to prevent apps from using Wi-Fi access to collect your location data.

    android 12 privacy indicator Privacy indicator on Android 12

    You can see what we’re trying to achieve here. The older your Android version, the more important security features you’ll miss. But it doesn’t end there. The Android system is not infallible, like any other operating system, and bad actors often find new vulnerabilities to exploit when older vulnerabilities are patched. It’s really a cat and mouse game where Google installs exploitable vulnerabilities, the bad guys find a way around them, and Google patch things up. These patches are rolled out through monthly security updates, making them just as important as official Android version upgrades.

    performance improvement

    Android 12 has seen some of the most notable performance improvements to the platform in a long time, with Google claiming that it “reduces the CPU time required for system services by 22%”. core”. This helps apps launch faster and the system run smoother. Obviously, some versions of Android offer significantly more improved performance than others. But one thing you can be sure of is that there are rarely any setbacks – unless, of course, the OEM messes things up on their end, which is sadly common on low-cost phones. However, the advantages often outweigh the disadvantages.

    User Interface Tweaks

    While “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” is mostly a well-founded saying, many Android users will actually disagree with that when it comes to the OS. Google likes to make frequent changes to the Android interface, and they’re good at infusing a sense of fresh when things get stale. For example, Android 12’s brand new Material You design, which switches system and app colors based on existing wallpapers, has been well received by users.

    Android13_MaterialYou_1 Android 12/13 extracts colors from wallpapers and displays them for the user to apply (Image Credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

    How to update your Android phone

    If your current Android phone was released in the last two to three years, chances are it’s still in the software support lifecycle. Gone are the days when Android phones were best treated with only a few updates – OEMs like Samsung are now approaching Apple by promising up to 5 years of security updates and 4 updates. Android system. However, even if you think your phone has reached the end of the road, there’s no harm in checking. Just make sure your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and has enough battery before updating.

    How to update your Samsung phone

    Often regarded as the king of Android updates and often beating Google at its own game, Samsung devices have different update methods based on the model and version of One UI:

    Settings > Software Update > Download and Install

    Settings > About device > Software update > Update now

    Settings > About device > Software update > Download and install

    Settings > Software Update > Manually Download Updates

    Normally, you’ll get a notification whenever a new update is available (it can be on any device), but you can check it manually if you suspect your phone doesn’t have the latest version .

    How to update your Xiaomi phone

    Xiaomi has started promising up to 3 years of Android updates and 4 years of security updates for some of its newer phones. You can check the latest MIUI version available by navigating to:

    Settings > About phone > MIUI version > Check for updates

    screenshot update xiaomi miui 13 Xiaomi has not yet announced the MIUI interface based on Android 13

    Xiaomi also offers the option to download and install updates automatically. On the update page you just opened, tap the three-dot menu in the top right corner, tap Settings, and enable the ‘Automatic download’ and ‘Automatic install’ options.

    How to update your OnePlus phone

    OnePlus is now rolling out the controversial OxygenOS 13 to eligible devices. You can check the latest software version by going to:

    Settings > System > System Update

    How to update Oppo, Vivo phones

    To check if a ColorOS/FuntouchOS system update is available for your device, go to:

    Settings > Software Update

    update vivo funtouchos

    How to update your Realme phone

    On Realme UI 3.0, you need access Settings > About devicethen click ‘Update.’

    On Realme UI 1.0 and 2.0, you need access Settings > Software Update.

    How to update your Motorola phone

    Open the Settings app, scroll to the bottom, tap ‘System updates’, then tap ‘Check for updates’.

    Motorola also gives users the option to sit back and relax and let the device handle the updates on its own. To do that, go to Settings, scroll to the bottom, tap on ‘System updates’ and enable ‘Smart updates’.

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