Samsung recently revealed that it would give its phones an impressive four years of security updates. Paired with its high position in our regular Android update tracker, the company is rapidly becoming the Android update king. In light of the news, we're curious to know how up-to-date your phone might be. If you're willing to dig through the settings app for just a moment, let's compare: What Android security patch level is your phone running?
In case you missed the news, Samsung revealed that it would be updating its phones from now on for four years — a change that didn't just apply to upcoming devices, but even phones as old as the Galaxy S10 series. And this is barely six months after the company stepped up to guarantee three years of OS updates. It's possible other manufacturers will match this commitment for new phones, as Google and Qualcomm have announced that Snapdragon 888-powered devices should be able to snag four years of security patches, but Samsung's commitment to older devices is rapidly making it the Android update king. Just look at how old some of the phones are on its current update list.
We do our best to keep track of the security patch updates that major smartphones get, and it paints an interesting picture. Most folks are only interested in big flashy Android version upgrades which debut new features or redesigns, but it's monthly patches that actually keep your phone secure. You might get excited for extra picture-in-picture features or customization options, but basic things like digital banking, communications, and even just the safe use of social media depend on the security of your smartphone, and not all manufacturers care about that subject quite so much.
Security patch levels on the Pixel 5 running Android 12 (left), and Galaxy Z Flip (right).
So, what security patch level is your current primary phone running? It's always expressed as a date, like February 1, 2021, and it should be listed somewhere in Settings — usually either in an "about phone" section somewhere near the bottom, but you can also just search for "Android patch," "security update," or something similar and find it. The patch level's precise day may vary slightly (there are usually two levels for each bulletin), but it's the month and year we're interested in.