Every month Samsung continues to impress with its commitment to timely security updates. Right now, the August 2021 security patch is rolling out to a number of high-profile Galaxy phones in the US, less than a week behind international models.
Every month Samsung gets a head start on security patches by letting one or two slip out in the days before we actually flip over the calendar — just as it did about a week or so back, further cementing its position as the king of updates. After grabbing that early lead, Samsung's continuing to release its August patch for more and more Galaxy smartphones internationally.
Samsung was ahead of the curve again this month when it released the May 2021 security patch for the international Galaxy S21 before anyone else. That continues now as several devices on T-Mobile receive the same update, even as the June security patch arrives for several devices.
Samsung has been trying to improve its image in software lately, especially when it comes to security updates for Android devices. What better way than to release an update several days early? That's the case with the May security update, which is already rolling out to several devices, with new features coming to select flagships.
Samsung customers hoping to hold the company to its promises of software updates are keeping a close eye on the update schedule page, and so are we. The latest change to the constantly-updated list features a few additions, a few subtractions, and a significant change for a former flagship, the Galaxy S9. The S9 and its bigger brother the S9+ are now getting quarterly updates, a downgrade from the monthly schedule.
Even though each Android security update has a specific month in the name, the patches are usually provided to manufacturers a week or two in advance, so phone makers can have the system upgrades ready in time (or not). Samsung has been known to pull the switch before the first day of a given month, and that's happening again for the February 2021 patches.
We're big fans of Google, obviously. But we also live in the real world, where Google does a lot of stuff that's unambiguously bad. If you want to use open source Android without getting its parent company involved, then you have a few options. Previously only available in Europe, the eSolutions shop is now selling versions of the Galaxy S9 scrubbed clean of all proprietary Google software to the US and Canada.
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM around, as it has extended the life of many phones and tablets that would have otherwise been abandoned. Even for phones still receiving software updates from the original manufacturer, Lineage can sometimes work better than the stock software, and it's a popular option for 'de-Googling' Android devices. Since our last roundup, several more phones have been added to the official Android 10 build roster (and a few have been removed).
Samsung has been on fire with updates over the last couple of years. That continues into 2021 with the release of the January patch for several international Galaxy devices, including the S20, Galaxy Fold, and more.