Pixel 6 Pro Fall AutumnSource: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

Google has detailed the latest Android Security Bulletin and released the fixes for Pixel devices.

These are exploits and other security concerns that affect Android as a whole. Issues with the operating system, kernel patches, and driver updates may not affect any particular device, but these need to be fixed in the Android base by the folks maintaining the operating system code — you know, Google. The company has detailed the things it's improved for this month.

Updated factory images for Pixel devices that are still supported are available, and over-the-air updates are rolling out to users. If you don't want to wait, you can download and flash the factory image or OTA update file manually. Follow the link to get started.

The company that made your phone uses these patches to send an update out to you.

These changes have been released to the people making the best Android phones for at least 30 days, but Google can't force anyone to deliver them to you. So if you're using a phone from Samsung, LG, or anybody else besides Google, you'll need to wait for them to send an update and shouldn't try to flash any of the above files. It might have already happened, as OEMs can send out the patch before the deadline Google must adhere to so that the exploits aren't publicized.

Of course, Google has safety checks in place to prevent any problems on your phone due to security exploits. Verify Apps and SafetyNet are at work anytime you add an app to your phone, and seamless updates to Google Play Services will keep them up to date regardless of any hold-up from a manufacturer or carrier. Details about Android Enterprise Security can be found here.

Devices with Android 10 and later may also receive security updates as Google Play system updates thanks to Project Mainline.

Highlights of December 2021 security bulletin

  • As usual, the Android Framework and Media Framework have had high-severity issues addressed.
  • High-sensitivity vulnerabilities in the Android system components were patched.
  • Qualcomm and MediaTek have updated closed source components for devices using these companies' hardware.

Pixel-specific updates

Pixel 5 vs Pixel 4a 5GSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

Every month, Google releases some Pixel-specific patches that will affect phones currently being supported, including Pixel 3, Pixel 3a, Pixel 4, Pixel 4a, Pixel 5, and Pixel 5a. For December 2021, there are several bug fixes and new features included with the security patch.

Full details for the December 2021 security bulletin are available at the Android Security website. Security patch notes for Pixel devices are detailed here.

You can see the Android Security website for details on all the bulletins, and Google also breaks down the separate Pixel-specific changes as well.