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.
A bunch of Galaxy phone users got a bit of a head start on the December 2020 security patch when Samsung released the update two weeks ahead of schedule. While that update was meant for some international beta users testing out One UI 3.0, Samsung kick-started the stable rollout of the latest patch in the US at the beginning of the month. The first device to get bumped to the December 2020 level was Verizon’s Galaxy S20 FE, most recently followed by the Tab S6, Tab S4, and the S8 Active.
Samsung has been near the front of the pack when it comes to releasing monthly security updates for a while now. The December 2020 update has rolled out to several of the company's phones in the United States, and a similar schedule is now taking place with Samsung's international models.
Below is listed every Samsung phone sold outside the United States that has been patched to the December level. We’ve marked the latest entries in bold to make them easy to spot.
The November security patch is slowly coming to more carrier-locked Samsung phones while handsets around the world have already started getting the update in October. This time around, the Verizon Galaxy Note20 series and the AT&T Galaxy Fold were the first carrier-locked devices in line to receive the patch, most recently followed by the Verizon Galaxy Z Fold2.
The One UI 2.5 software made its debut a couple of weeks ago alongside the Galaxy Note20, Z Flip 5G, and Tab S7 lineup. It's already made its way to the Galaxy S20, and now it's the older Galaxy S10's turn. The unlocked model in Germany is up first, and it includes a ton of new stuff.