Google's Pixel updates for April are here. This isn't one of the big feature drop updates (that was last month), but device owners can look forward to the latest security patches and a handful of fixes and improvements. This time around, Google specifically calls out improved photo quality in some third-party apps and even GPU performance improvements for on the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5, plus a handful of fixes addressing issues on several Pixel models, including a problem that dates back to a missing December Feature Drop feature.

So-called "functional patch notes" describing changes for Pixels in this update. 

 Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 owners may appreciate this update, which promises better camera quality in specific third-party apps and what has turned out to be some serious gains in GPU performance. Other fixes for a freeze during startup and an issue with devices appearing as offline while connected to a VPN are also included for more Pixel devices — we haven't heard of either, so I can't tell you too much about them.

The fix for missing home grid settings calls back to an issue we reported on in January, where a handful of Pixels didn't have the new custom grid size options that trickled down to older Pixels as part of the December 2020 feature drop. It wasn't the biggest feature, but Google did specifically call it out as a new customization option for Pixel owners with older devices, and it was a bummer it didn't work for everyone.

As per yooj, the very latest April 2021 security patches are included with this update, including several "High" and "Critical" severity vulnerabilities, though Pixel-specific vulnerabilities this month are few. Build numbers right now match across the Pixel lineup: RQ2A.210405.005.

Folks with a Pixel 5 or Pixel 4a 5G on Verizon may see a delay for this update. As of now, factory and OTA images have only been published for other carriers, specifically excluding big red for those two phones, and that may extend to the update's more traditional rollout as well.

On that note, the update should start landing on Pixel devices still in their support window over the next hour or two — that's the Pixel 3 series, Pixel 3a series, Pixel 4 series, Pixel 4a series, and Pixel 5 — but the impatient can sideload it manually.

Now that folks have had a chance to dig into the update, the GPU improvements in the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 are pretty major — in some cases, benchmarks have doubled. Our coverage has been updated.