Depending on the device, updating the operating system can be a simple or tedious task. In general, Android updates are provided by your telephone operator. How to access operating system updates may vary, but you need to prepare your phone or tablet before starting the download.
The newer your phone is, the sooner you will receive updates from your phone operator, while Google sends updates directly to its line of Android Pixel devices. Those with phones that work with versions of earlier operating systems will have to skip some circles first.
Here’s how you can find out which version of the Android operating system is running on your device, how to get updates and what to do if you don’t want to wait for your operator to issue the operating system update.
When you’re ready to upgrade, be sure to connect the device to a power outlet, as the update may drain the battery. You may need to do this overnight as updates sometimes take a long time to download and install.
The following directions should generally apply regardless of who created your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. However, each phone may have slightly different names.
Check your Android version
First of all, you should check which version of Android is running on your device by going into the settings; in most smartphones, you’ll find this in “Phone Information”. On a Pixel, for example, it is available in Settings > System > Information on the phone or Settings > Information on the phone.
On a Samsung Galaxy device, we recommend that you tap Settings > About phone > Software information or Settings > Phone information.
Other manufacturers should also have something similar on their phones.
Also in the “Phone Information” section is the phone model number, which can also help you understand how to update your device. Take a walk on the website of the manufacturer and the telephone operator to find out how the software updates for the specific device work.
If you have a Google Nexus or Pixel device, you probably already know that your device receives updates directly from Google without any operator intervention. In this case, you will be notified of updates within the first few days or as soon as a new version of the operating system is ready.
Otherwise, if you have a new non-Nexus device, you will be at the forefront when your wireless service provider starts distributing operating system updates. The older your device, the longer you have to wait. And if it’s an older device, you may not receive updates at all.
The same applies if you have a low-end device; again, check with the producer and operator to find out about their policy. For most Android smartphones, you can check for system updates by going into the settings. Here you can view both operating system versions and security updates.
Before proceeding, make sure you back up all your data, in case something goes wrong with the update. You should regularly back up your information. There are a multitude of backup apps available from operators, manufacturers, and third parties. Download and use one immediately.
Check your space
When backing up your phone data, check to see how much space is available on your device. You may need to download some of your apps, images and other files to make room. Android outlines the space needed to download an update, which you’ll probably want to do via Wi-Fi if you don’t have an unlimited data plan.
Rooting is always an option
If you want the latest operating system as soon as available, you can still choose to root your phone, which allows you to access updates whenever you want. This is just one of the many benefits of rooting your Android device. You’ll also be able to access features not yet available for non-rooted Android smartphones and tablets and you’ll have more control over your device.