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Are you happy with how Samsung handles software updates?

Galaxy S20 Ultra
Galaxy S20 Ultra (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Android updates may not be the most glamorous thing to talk about, but they're arguably one of the most important things you should consider when buying a new phone. Some companies have proven to be better or worse than others when it comes to pushing out fast and reliable updates, which is essential if you plan on keeping your device for the long-term.

Samsung is a perfect example of a company that used to be kind of awful with its updates, but over the last couple of years, has gotten a lot better. We recently gave it a B- for its update performance, praising Samsung for the speedy updates it provides to its flagship phones while wishing for that same level of support for its lower-cost models.

A few members in our AC forums have also got to talking about how they think Samsung does with its updates, with their comments being as follows:

I had the Pixel 2XL and got security patches and OS updates like clockwork. I bought a Samsung S20 Plus when it came out and, to my surprise, updates came pretty quickly for March and April.... Then nothing. Haven't seen May or June. I've heard there is an update for the unlocked models, but I'm on Verizon, who butts their noses in the updates, and I've seen other carrier models with similar...

Maher Salfiti

I have an unlocked S10+ Exynos version. I have had regular updates every month (2 in June) and when I got my phone in January it upgraded immediately to Android 10 and I got OneUI 2.1 a month or so later after the S20 came out. I have had a Pixel 2xl and a 4xl and I thought I wouldn't get such regular updates from Samsung but I was wrong. Yes. I will have to wait later for Android 11 on...

Kizzy Catwoman

I understand what you are saying about update reliability and consistency. Coming from a Pixel 2, I was concerned that my S10 wouldn't get updates as quickly. I believe Samsung has improved in this regard - updates seem to be longer-lasting and more frequent - but I think your carrier and whether or not your phone is an unlocked model also play a role. Since I bought my phone locked to a...

Morty2264

Samsung has gotten better no question about that , but your only getting 2 years software and 3 years security , if you looking longer then your other option are your best bet .

mustang7757

What do you think? Are you happy with how Samsung handles software updates?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

11 Comments
  • It is accepted in Androidville that unless you buy a Pixel phone (and that's not many, given global sales) software updates are slower. But on a Samsung phone, between Google Play store security and free built in mobile security powered by McAfee (Device Care App ➡️Security➡️ Start Scan) 99% of the real world is sufficiently covered. Yes, you can pay a fee for active security from McAfee or others, but it's unnecessary. Besides, why hand over access to your relatively secure mobile device to a security company? When is the last Android security hack that did not require physical phone access past the locked screen? That's right, nobody can think of one. If your Android version (8,9,10,etc) really mattered in the real world, I'd care about only two years of updates. But Samsung doesn't care because it isn't important. Your phone isn't bricked from the Google Play store if you aren't on the latest Android version.... All your apps work. For some people, is Apple's 5 years of iOS upgrades and monthly add on's the deal maker? Certainly, but I keep an eye on Apple. Buggy updates, followed later, to much later, with patches has remained a constant headache since the one iPhone I owned, the 4S.... And that's not to mention modest specs, no expandable storage, etc, etc, etc.... Ok, their screens are finally catching up to Android..... No, I don't personally care... But what I just wrote is the honest to goodness truth. 👊 Should all of Android be better? Yes, of course. Should Samsung be better? Yes, of course. In the year 2020, there is no reason why all Android consumers using any Android phone don't have the choice of an agreed on stock Android that could match Apple's five years of updates, or choose a custom skin like UI on Samsung.
  • **** no , total joke A70 still on December patch . How in God's name is this even possible. I'm beside my self with this and the fact there keeping things very closed lip on what's happening and or getting a fix out for this . Completely rediculus. Makes me reconsider why i left android with Blackberry.
  • Android updates have always been an inconsistent mess and probably always will be due to having so many phones available from various manufacturers. If you can afford one and can tolerate iOS, I'd just get an iphone and get the 4+ years of updates (security & OS). No way would I ever pay more than $500 for an Android phone. $999 Samsung. NO WAY! For 2 years of OS updates? Not very smart I'd say.
  • 100% agree with you OP
  • Oh dear, I'm about to sound like a troll... So you won't pay $999 for a top flagship phone that will easily last you five solid years, but you will pay $500 for a new mid range phone on contract every two years....because you fear imaginary bogeyman (please cite the last global hack due to an outdated Android security update)? Mobile phone security risk is next to zero. I'm on Android version 9.0.... Missing nothing on a Note 8.
  • You don’t sound like a troll but someone who missed my point. I’d never buy any android phone. But IF I did I’d never pay more than $500 for it. You have your preferences and I have mine. No need for phone zealot preaching. It’s my opinion. Just enjoy what you use. Smh
  • I will give credit where it is due and Samsung has improved THEIR releasing of security updates and major updates have come way faster than in previous years. Having said that...the bar wasn't set very high to begin with for Samsung. The biggest thing that causes aggravation is that to get the updates WHEN Samsung releases them you have to have an unlocked phone (maybe). If you have a phone that was purchased through a carrier then things STILL fall apart for Samsung. The update has to be sent to the carrier who can hold it back for however they want before it gets released. T-Mobile Note 10 Plus is running May patch and June is more than half over but the June patch IS OUT for the Note 10 Plus and if I remember was actually released before the end of May. I realize this is the android realm but this is one area where Apple and iOS get it right. I don't know how it really works because I have heard two versions of how they do updates...First is that they don't include ANY middle party and simply release their updates straight to the devices (I like to believe this is the case). Second, is that they somehow release to the carriers early...have priority with the carriers and get their buy-in first then release to everyone. Either way every iOS device gets the update on time every time when the update(s) are released. There isn't some second-class citizen status that you have a carrier branded phone, etc... So...even though Samsung has gotten better....NO...I still do not like how they handle their software updates. Samsung should be releasing direct to the device and they should update as soon as they have the patches ready either at the beginning of the month or within the first week. No carrier BS holding it hostage. What is really concerning lately is that even the Pixel seems to be affected by carrier hold-back. Lately it seems that carriers like T-Mobile are somehow triggering the updates to phones on their network. For the most part the pixel is Day 1 update but many times there are reports that the update is rolling out but those on <insert carrier> and even Google Fi hit the update button only to be told that they are on the latest. My pixel didn't update the June patch until June 7th when it rolled out June 1st and is even later than say the June 5th typical patch date. Yes I can (and have) abd updated but I purposely waited to see what day the update would finally be released for a device that was supposed to get it Day 1. It wasn't Google holding it back as it was freely available. Android needs to do updates like iOS - direct to the device when the update(s) are ready.
  • While I don't own a Samsung device, in looking at a friend's update frequency on his S8+, it's not bad, but still not Pixel-level good (although with Android, almost nobody is as good as a Pixel when it comes to updates). most consumers though don't care about software updates since they plan to replace their phones every 2 years or so on carrier contracts. But as a household with both iOS and Android devices, Apple has it down with software updates. We still have an old iPhone 5s which received a security update recently (released in 2013) whereas my OG Pixel (released in 2016) ceased receiving any updates after December 2019. It explains why resale values of iPhones are generally better than most Android devices, but Samsung flagships seem to retain their value well (but not as well as iPhones).
  • My S20 got the June patch 2 days before my Pixel 3A and this has happened a few times. I get a new phone every year so I'm not that concerned about the annual firmware updates. My Note 5 still runs great and it hasn't had any updates in at least 2 years and for you iphoners, it hasn't been hacked. 😂
  • I have a note 10 + and always get the updates within the 1st week of each month.
  • On Verizon with a Note10+, I understand how slow Samsung WAS with updates. Reason I say WAS is that the 2 previous Samsung phones I had on Verizon (Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note Edge) got very slow updates and usually had a hiccup in its delivery. I can count the number of updates that Samsung released to those 2 phones and added some bug or issue that cropped up because it wasn't optimized correctly. But this newer focus on sending timely updates to flagship phones that are very stable is a big plus. I bought this phone day one (August 23) which launched with Android 9.0 and by December 30 the phone had Android 10. The update to One UI was also very quick. So this company realizes that it's customers long term happiness leads to brand loyalty down the road. At least, that what the blueprint is supposed to be. And Samsung knows they have competition and choices are better all the time. Updates, although that option never sells phones to regular customers, are still handled well for those that do look for them.