The Google Pixel 6 won't get as many Android OS upgrades as we hoped

Google Pixel 6 Pro Curved Screen
Google Pixel 6 Pro Curved Screen (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Google Pixel 6 is only getting three years of OS upgrades.
  • Rumors previously hinted at four years of upgrades.
  • The Pixel 6 will still receive five years of security updates.

During the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro launch on Tuesday, Google played up the fact that the new devices would receive up to five years of security updates. While that's an impressive feat, the company failed to mention its schedule for OS upgrades, but thanks to a Pixel support page, we now know why.

According to the page, both Pixel smartphones will only receive OS upgrades until 2024. That means they may not receive updates past Android 15 while continuing to receive support until 2026.

Google Pixel 6 Update Guarantee

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

That's not bad, since only some of the best Android phones are promised as much as four years of security updates, and the Pixels will remain secure well after they stop receiving newer versions of Android. Still, it may be a bummer for some that were hoping for four years of OS upgrades.

That said, it may not be all bad. Pixels are known for getting quarterly feature drops, so the Pixel 6 smartphones will likely continue receiving new features until software support ends in 2026. Additionally, the support page says OS upgrades are "guaranteed" until "at least" 2024, so that leaves the possibility open for upgrades beyond that, although that may just be wishful thinking.

It's worth noting that the Pixel 5a has the same OS update schedule, although security patches will end that same year. The Pixel 3 and 3XL are also losing support after this month, so it may be time to upgrade to the new devices if you're still holding onto those models.

Rumors got many of our hopes up, indicating that we would get four years of OS upgrades, but unfortunately it seems that won't be the case. However, if you're getting your Pixel 6 through Pixel Pass, that'll make it easy to jump to a new model in two years, so the upgrade situation may not matter much for those that buy new phones more often.

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.

  • This is disappointing. This is better than Samsung, but I'd really been hoping for a shock and awe improvement to really put the fear of god in Qualcomm.
  • Platform updates are the same as Samsung.
  • Except for feature drops - those can (depending on how much you value the specific benefits they offer) be really, really nice.
  • What the eff is this nonsense with "feature drops" Google is now selling their lies with? I've read it a lot the last couple of months and it just reeks of bad excuses.
    Samsung have done, quote unquote, feature drops on their devices since the first Galaxy S phone.
  • What about pictures? Did they remove all free picture backup perks?
  • Yes unfortunately. The 4a/4a 5G were the last Pixels with free photo backup.
  • No the 5 was the last with high quality backups
  • There is really no excuse for this since they now control far more of the platform than when they used Qualcomm chips. Hopefully they change their minds.
  • I mean, this is a lot of firsts for them in this phone. As long as Tensor has been in the works, there's really no substitute for putting it in the hands of the public to see how it holds up. I suspect they wanted to avoid making any promises they might regret later. I have confidence that if all goes smoothly they'll extend their support window further. Also, it is "at least" 2024; they could still decide to support it longer.