Samsung has continued to impress with its regular security updates lately, but while flagships and new phones tend to get monthly patches, many cheaper or older devices get them less often. Samsung updated its security schedule this week, relegating some phones and tablets to less frequent support.
Google's June 2021 update is now rolling out for Pixels. This is one of those big every-three-month Feature Drop updates with a whole pile of changes — you can read more about that here. But on top of new changes like astrovideography and a market expansion of existing features, there's also a handful of fixes for specific problems certain Pixel devices may have run into.
Android smartphone makers are only now starting to catch up to Apple’s excellent software support. Samsung was among the first major players to commit to three years of OS updates last year (many now get four years of security updates as well), and several more brands have since made similar promises. The latest to join the list is OnePlus sister company Vivo, but its update policy isn’t as expansive as Samsung’s.
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.
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.
December updates (which include the recent Feature Drop changes) are starting to roll out for Google's Pixel phones — with one almost-expected exception. One day later, that includes the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, which are receiving their last planned update.
November updates are rolling out now for Google's Pixels, and that includes the brand-new Pixel 5 and 4a 5G. Functional patch notes mention a whole pile of fixes for both new phones, as well as older Pixels. That includes fixes for the screen waking at certain times when it shouldn't, inadvertently hidden system navigation during full-screen playback, issues with ringer audio for starred contacts in DND mode, and resolutions for a handful of Android Auto bugs. As expected, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL have no update this month.
Like clockwork, Google has just released its monthly Pixel updates, delivering both security enhancements as well as bug fixes and other improvements. This month, we have seven changes noted in the so-called "functional patch" notes, including auto-rotation improvements, automatic brightness fixes for the Pixel 4a, a bootloop fix, and a handful of other changes. Sadly, this month also marks the end of the Pixel 2 and 2 XL's stated support lifetime. Google has since confirmed to us that the phones will only get one more update after this in December.
Lost in yesterday's Android 11 hullabaloo was another bit of news: Security patches for Google's Pixel series were released together as part of the Android 11 update. This month's security-oriented fixes are more numerous than usual, with plenty of "high" and "critical" vulnerabilities included, so be sure to install the Android 11 update sooner rather than later.
Samsung just finished unveiling the Galaxy Note20 series, along with the Tab S7, Watch3, and a few other electronic gizmos. That's all par for the course in Unpacked, but Samsung also snuck in a surprise near the end of the stream. Because Samsung (apparently) supports using smartphones for longer, it now promises OS updates for up to "three device generations."