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.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Major updates of Android don't matter as much as they used to. Many components of the operating system are updated through the Play Store, so even if you're on Android 8 or 9, you can still access most of the same apps and features as someone on the latest release of Android 10. However, the security updates that Google releases on a monthly basis are still critical to keeping your phone or tablet safe. Dozens of securityflaws are discovered in components of Android each month, which is why Google releases monthly security patches.
Unlike app and API updates, the security patches can't be delivered directly to devices — phone manufacturers have to integrate the changes into their own flavors of Android, and release them as system updates.
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.
OnePlus updates most of its phones on a bi-monthly schedule, but even in months where a certain model does receive security patches, the OTA usually comes in a month (or more) after Google publicized the fixes. Sure enough, the OnePlus Nord is now receiving its December 2020 security patches with only a few days left before January.
Updates used to be a sore talking point for Samsung, but that's no longer the case. The company recently committed to OS updates for three device generations, and it's been shooting out updates for its latest phones left and right. In the same vein, Samsung has just added some of its latest devices, including the Note20, Fold2, and Tab S7, to its security update schedule.
Google has gotten a bit stricter with requiring OEMs to add Android's security updates over the years, but that doesn't mean companies are actually on board. LG's Software Update Center may be running at full power, but everything from last-minute bugs to carrier certification can hold up Android updates. It's almost July, but LG's new dual-screen capable device is only now receiving the May security patch.
OnePlus is usually on the ball with system updates, but the last few months have been rough across the board — Android 10 for the OP6 and 6T was continuously delayed due to bugs, and several of the company's phones are months behind on security updates. Now the 7 Pro is finally getting a newer security patch, but only for owners willing to use beta software.
Essential is in a strange place right now as a company. Its latest phone is still its first model, the 2017 PH-1, with no direct replacement in sight. Still, Essential is keeping its remaining users happy, as it has once again rolled out monthly security patches at the same time as Google's Pixel phones receive the OTA.