Over the years, Android has been slowly creeping up to iOS in terms of overall software updates, trying to match its industry-leading five-year software update policy. While it’s true that the differences between iPhones and Android-powered devices are too many and too diverse, we could all probably agree that at the end of the day, it all boils down to the amount of time your device is officially supported.
With that in mind, let’s see how the different manufacturers are doing in terms of software updates.
We’ve reached to Samsung to elaborate on any future plans it might have on expanding its software update policy, and we will update this piece as soon as we receive an official statement.
Google has always required Android manufacturers to provide at least two years of software and security updates. However, its Pixel phones enjoy a healthy three-year support, including both major Android versions and timely security updates.
What could further tip the scales in Google, and generally, Android’s favor in the never-ending battle against iOS is the fact that Pixel phones receive a steady stream of monthly security patches, whereas Apple doesn’t have a set schedule for steady releases of iOS updates and only does so on a random basis, or in the worst case scenario, when a major security flaw in iOS gets discovered. This could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but in a positive way, of course.
We’ve reached to Google to elaborate on any future plans it might have on expanding its software update policy, and we will update this piece as soon as we receive an official statement.
OnePlus has been slowly inching toward a standardized three-year major update and four years of security update policy as well. After the recent merger with sister company Oppo, OnePlus seems to have a renewed fervor for continued device support. The current device lineups are all benefiting, it would seem, but many older flagships will also be affected by the backdated change.
Here’s what OnePlus officially said about its software update policy:
Here’s Motorola’s current statement about its software support: “Motorola is committed to bringing intuitive software experiences to our consumers. There are no clunky software skins, no duplicate apps. When it comes to software upgrades, we’re constantly working with partners and our internal teams to ensure consumers have the latest and best technology on their Motorola devices.
Motorola is also committed to regular and timely security upgrades as recommended by Google/Android. While phones cannot be upgraded indefinitely, we provide security upgrades within the industry standard on both our regular and our Android One devices.
Additionally, more and more, essential apps can be updated via the Playstore. Google and Motorola intend to keep expanding the apps that are Playstore updatable, which allows us to update essential apps like camera, UI, Moto Experiences, and messaging apps much quicker than a yearly OS upgrade.”
Interestingly, Sony doesn’t have an easily-accessible official software update policy for its flagship, and we have to rely on local branches to spill the beans about the often disappointing support policy. Take the $1,300 Sony Xperia 1 III as the perfect example to that: according to the Dutch arm of Sony, the latest flagship will seemingly receive only one major Android update to Android 12.
Xiaomi is a bit different as it treats its phones to not only major Android updates, but also pushes updates to the MIUI software of its devices. Usually, devices receive at least one major Android version upgrade, but their MIUI skins are supported for up to four years. That’s not that bad as many features of major new Android versions are emulated and integrated into MIUI, thus arriving to older devices, too.
We reached out to Xiaomi to elaborate on its current and future plans for extended software support on its devices, but the company literally had nothing to say: “No updates on this for now, but it is something we’re looking into. Will loop you in on future info.”
Huawei, as many of you might imagine, is an interesting case, due to the US ban that rendered it impossible to do any business with any organization that does business in the US. Despite that, Huawei can still use AOSP in any way it likes, though Google’s service and essential apps can’t be found on any Huawei phone released in the past year and a half. That’s why software updates apply on per-device case.
Here’s what the company had to say on the matter: “Privacy protection and security have always been Huawei’s top priority, and Huawei has been innovating to protect users’ privacy and security. We rigorously adhere to foundational principles for data privacy during the entire product design and development process. We continuously provide security updates to our users, when necessary and will continue to offer them timely technical support.”