Android phones are getting security updates faster than ever, but still not fast enough

Android 11 review
Android 11 review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google highlights the speed and frequency of Android security updates.
  • The company states that 95% of Android 11 devices ran a security update that was released within 90 days.
  • Google also highlights how Google Play Protect helps prevent malicious apps from being published.

During Google I/O on Wednesday, the director of the Android Security Strategy, Eugene Liderman, took time to discuss the state of Android security. In the session, he declared that in the first quarter of 2021, 95% of Android devices were given a security update that was released within 90 days.

Android Security Updates Progress

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

While not all of the best Android phones received monthly security updates like the Google Pixel 5 and its predecessors, it does highlight the improvements that Android is making to ensure that devices are secure and users are protected, which can likely be attributed in some part to efforts like Project Mainline. That said, there is still room for improvement.

Meanwhile, Samsung, the largest Android manufacturer, has greatly improved the speed at which it updates its smartphones, often releasing a new security patch before Pixel devices. The company has also promised four years of security updates for many of its smartphones, a pledge that other OEMs have followed with similar promises of their own.

Liderman also highlighted the benefits of Google Play Protect, an Android security module within the Play Store. Play Protect checks apps installed on your smartphone for malware and security risks. In 2020, Google prevented more than 50,000 malicious apps from being published to the store. The company was also able to prevent nearly 1 million policy-violating app submissions from being published, thanks to machine learning detection.

Google Play Protect Stats

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

On the privacy side, Google soon plans to help you gain more transparency about the apps you install, thanks to a new policy for app developers. The new policy should help you better understand just how an app plans to use your data, helping you make a more informed decision about installing an app.

Google is also adding more privacy features within the Android 12 beta released yesterday, which will give you more control over when and how apps use your data. That said, not all experts are convinced of Google's efforts.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.

  • If the next pixel does not get 5 years security updates. Then I will be moving to Apple.
  • My S20 FE still hasn't gotten the security patch for May and I'm fed up and I'm not sure if it's Samsung or my carrier Three UK that's blocking the update as Samsung has released it since May and I hate the way Samsung does updates anyway and love the Pixel updates and loved getting notifications for updates for my old Pixel 2 XL and I'm missing the simplicity and ease of use of the Pixel and will be very getting one as my next phone because of the updates, slick Google integration and the simplicity of the camera and taking photos with little effort and I've always preferred simplicity over more features and Android 12 has made me realise that the Pixel is has what I want in a phone and while I love my S20 FE, I actually prefer the minimalist look of the Pixel Launcher and that fluidity that the Pixels are known for. I'm fine with 3 years of updates just as long as they're guaranteed and Google is the only one that does and while Samsung doesn't guarantee updates they're almost as good as Google and sometimes often beating Google to the punch but again I want guarantees and Google's guarantees are enough for me as well as the camera and slick experience.
  • Beno, you look to me like a very intelligent person, but don't you notice yourself how you are dancing back and forward between apple, google, and Samsung? Go look back to your comments a few weeks ago, you was a full pledged apple fanboy, the last 3 weeks you are completely for Samsung, and now you are completely for google... Are you kidding? Or you are a very tempered guy? I wish you a lot of success.
  • There is no such thing as the perfect phone. They all have strengths and weaknesses. Its ok to switch around to ward off boredom or simply to experience new things but you don't have to become an insufferable fan boy about your latest whim every time. Live and let live.
  • Hey I'm not anti Samsung but I've realised it was the Pixel that has what I really want, day 1 updates, clean software that's easy to use and excellent camera that takes great pictures with no tinkering need as I don't care about having a pro mode as I'm a point and shoot person and also with the Now Playing feature that I miss so much. Samsung are great also but the Pixel suits me best.