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Updating your Android phone

Updating the software on your Android phone is a fairly simple process, though many of us tend to put it off for as long as we can.

Last updated: 17 November 2020

Updating your Android phone
Updating the software on your Android phone is a fairly simple process, though many of us tend to put it off for as long as we can. 

We talk through the process of updating your Android software and why you should hop to it!

How to update your Android phone

You should receive a notification whenever a software update is available, but if you’d like to check there’s an easy way to do so.  

On your device, head on over to the settings app and click about phone. Then, tap check for updates. If there’s an available update, it’ll show up here – simple! But just check the following before you click install…

First, make sure you’re connected to WiFi and that you have a solid connection – the last thing you want is to be booted off halfway through a big update! Sure, you could use your data, but we’d advise against it as it’ll rinse your allowance.

You also need to ensure that you have enough internal storage in order for the update to go ahead – this is usually about 1GB – as well as enough battery; you may want to keep your phone on charge throughout the update. Once you’re set, tap install and follow the on-screen instructions.

What are the benefits of updating my Android phone?

Updating your Android phone to the latest software has huge benefits. One of the primary reasons for doing so is to improve your device’s security and encryption (a process that means a message or file can only be read by certain people). Your phone has something called a security patch which keeps it safe from any vulnerabilities, and with each update this is improved. That means that if you don’t install Android system updates then your security won’t be up to scratch which, we assume, you want to avoid.

In addition, some apps will only run on the latest Android update. Therefore, you may be required to install the latest software in order to keep enjoying your favourite apps, but you’ll also enjoy the latest in-app releases and features!

User experience is better, too. With each update you’ll get an improved user interface, meaning your phone will have new features that make day-to-day usage more helpful and enjoyable.

Are there any disadvantages to updating my Android phone?

You could argue there’s the odd drawback to updating your Android phone. In very uncommon circumstances, the latest updates can have the occasional bug, meaning certain apps might not function properly. However, note that this happens pretty infrequently.

Updating your Android software can also take up additional internal storage. If that’s something you’re tight on it can be frustrating, especially if you need to free up space to install the update in the first place. If you find yourself constantly battling with capacity, then look at mobile phone deals for devices with greater internal storage. You can run a mobile comparison with us to do this.

Finally, bear in mind that older Android phones may eventually be unable to support the latest updates, so consider this if your device is getting on a bit. Handsets like Google Pixel and Google Nexus actually have an update guarantee; this means that you’re certain to get a minimum number of software and security updates for your device over a set period, which is usually about three years. This ensures your phone will continue to work to its best performance.

When will I get an Android update on my phone?

At what time an Android update becomes available will depend not just on your device, but also who your manufacturer and network provider are. You can contact them for information on when to expect updates. Alternatively, if you’ve got a Google phone, you’ll get the update directly from them.

What about Android security updates?

Again, most security updates happen automatically but you can always check just to be absolutely sure. Head on over to your settings and click on security. Tap to see if there are any updates and follow the instructions.

Should I update my Android phone?

In a nutshell, yes, as the advantages outweigh the potential drawbacks. Eventually, your phone won’t be able to run on old software and you’ll be forced to update regardless. Plus, you’ll need to do so if you want to enjoy the latest features in all your apps. Why put off what’s inevitable?

When a software update is released, it’s not an instant necessity to install it – you’ll still be able to use your phone just fine for a while. However, it’s helpful to regularly update your software to ensure your device is always running to its optimum performance level; if you don’t, you’ll eventually run into restrictions and issues.  

Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.