Samsung just showed everyone how to do Android updates properly

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

Android enthusiasts care a lot about updates, and we should. When you spend the money on one of the best Android phones or even a budget phone, you expect the manufacturer to support their products. If you have almost any Samsung phone from the last few years and care about updates, you just hit the jackpot as Samsung has committed to offering four years of security patches to a huge list of its Android phones.

Security patches and maintenance updates may not be very sexy when compared to new OS versions with more features, but these are the important kind of updates. They make your phone better even though you might not be able to see any difference — just know that things like paying with your phone or using your banking app or even online shopping is safer and more secure because of those small, unassuming security patches.

The best part of this news is that Samsung isn't just promising extended support for its premium line of products or most popular sellers. Phones like the Galaxy M10 or Galaxy XCover 4 are also on the very inclusive list (opens in new tab) along with most tablets made since 2019. This is a very big deal, and I can't express enough how important that is — almost every customer benefits, not just the ones who spent the most money.

4 years of support is just what Android needed.

The big question is, why now? Most likely, it's because of things like Google's efforts to make updates easier and Qualcomm being more committed to its products, combined with Samsung's effort and expertise at building Android into a complete operating system. I'm sure there is some money involved to get longer support from chip vendors, but no matter how it happened to why Samsung gets the credit for making it happen. 👍

Samsung Galaxy A51 review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Most of the people buying Samsung's products don't know or don't care about something like security patches. They only know that sometimes they restart their phone and it gets updated, or when they see a notification about an update having been downloaded. The great news is that this doesn't matter. Even if you don't know or don't care about getting maintenance updates, you're getting them anyway.

Even if you don't care about security updates and small maintenance fixes, you're getting them anyway.

A while back, I wrote that Google needs to set the bar by offering longer support for its Pixel phones. It seems that Samsung has set a new bar that all other phone makers need to strive for. Four years of security updates is an important "feature" to me, and the next time I buy a phone, I'll look to Samsung first because of it.

This doesn't mean you're going to see Android 12 on your Galaxy A10e but what it does mean is even better — you'll be able to use that A10e until it's time to upgrade a worn-out phone instead of adding to the mountain of e-waste that is already becoming a problem. Even if you don't care about patches, you probably do care about your phone having a longer support life because that means you don't have to spend money on a new one quite as often.

Thanks, Samsung! This is the kick in the pants Android phone makers (looking squarely at you, Google) needed to get their butts in gear and support their phones as long as they still work.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • This is great news for Samsung fans? A pleasant kick in the pants, yikes!
  • Samsung need to be applauded for this, as a Samsung fan they've done some things lately that I've not agreed with like no chargers in boxes, rumours of note series going and no SD card slot etc But credit where credit is due this is a big win here, knowing that your device is covered for 4 years of security updates! is a big peace of mind and makes the higher price point easier to swallow knowing it's gonna be supported for 4 years, even if it's only 3 years of OS updates. Good to see Android finally trying to get closer to Apple on the longer support of devices.
  • This is more than enough imo. You get 3 years of OS updates and 4 years of security.
    This is Great news to android users.
    it's funny how one side gets held to a different level.
    Apple users got mad when their iPhone 6 got cut off saying: "this is just apples way of planned obsolescence" Never mind that phone is 6 years old and got 6 years of OS AND Security updates. Android doesn't have to give anyone anything and people are like; "whatever"
  • This is great news. Good job Samsung. Much appreciated.
  • This is great news to see! There's really no reason why Android phones can't at least get security patches. I care about them now more than ever, since I am using Google Pay more often on my phone, so seeing this is great and will definitely make me consider Samsung during my next purchase.
  • This is embarrassing for Google. They better respond.
  • Google and Microsoft, you're on the clock now... Step up... I was hoping to avoid Samsung phones Inc the future (bloat, cost, etc) but if the other MFRs don't match, I may have to revisit. I don't mind waiting an extra year to buy a phone (or five considering the size of my household).
  • This is great news with Samsung committing to = yearsofsecurity updates, I'll definitely be staying with Samsung, and this has sealed it for me.
  • You didn't get the iPhone 12?
  • I remember him saying the iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • He most likely still uses an old Motorola flip phone.
  • Nope I got the S20 FE. And I’m loving it. My 11 Pro Max has been relegated to second fiddle now, that’s how much I love my S20 FE and I’ve seen for myself what I’ve been missing since using my S20 FE. I don’t want to get another iPhone after my 11 Pro Max because Samsung is amazing and I got free Galaxy Buds Live with my contract on Three UK.
  • I have the 20 fe as well and love it.
  • Maybe this is partly why the trade-in value for the S10e is so high.
    Might be easier for them to resell as refurbished with more updates promised.
  • I must say congratulations Samsung. This also makes my look back at Samsung. They just made me regret my recently purchased Motorola..... Which is still on a November security patch...... SMH........
  • Should never have gone with Motorola in the first place, they are terrible with updates.
  • This is a good development
  • Never thought I'd see the day BENO is now a Samsung fanboy. About time, this is after the pixels & 🍎, yikes!
  • First it was pixels, then it was iPhones now it’s Samsung phones. What will be next for him 😂
  • I saw the light, the Galaxy S20 FE impressed me along with the positive reviews and the phone is even more impressive in person, I got a great deal with half price for 6 months and free Galaxy Buds Live. My only gripe is you can’t disable the Samsung Samsung apps you don’t want but otherwise I’m loving One Ui and the customisation. I’m sticking with Samsung and this announcement has sealed the deal with my sticking with Samsung.
  • "Four years of security updates is an important "feature" to me, and the next time I buy a phone, I'll look to Samsung first because of it."
    Do you keep a phone for 4 years?
    Four years is a long time. That's a whole high school term!
    Donald Trump was a brand new president four years ago!!!! LOOOONNNNGGGGGG TIME???
    How many people truly keep a phone for 4 years?
    This means nothing and Samsung knows it!
    In reality this should DECREASE phone sales for them as people would keep their phones longer...bad PR move!
    But the "real" reality is that they hope it will INCREASE sales just as so many have previously stated.
    So all you people who will now look to Samsung for your next long will you actually keep it?
    What do you think they do with all the very good phones that get traded in every year for a "newer" model???
    They sell them to somebody and make even more money!!!
    Win-Win for Samsung either way. lol-SMH
  • It's not my case because I upgrade my phone between 12 and 18 months but frankly I know quite a lot of people that keep the same phone for 4 or even more years.
  • Most people keep their phones for years!
  • One of Apple's biggest advantages over Android has just been eliminated. This is good news for both Samsung and Android users everywhere
  • Actually Samsung hasn’t quite eliminated Apple’s advantage yet, they’re still 1 year short but 4 years of security updates is more than good enough so Samsung is the only one who has now gotten close to Apple in supporting their phones for longer and that’s good enough for me as I’ll be on my second Samsung phone by then. Samsung had already impressed me before this announcement but now it’s sealed the deal for me.
  • Don't know why Sʌᴍsᴜɴɢ is getting so much praise for this? I mean whoopdee doo they finally did something they should have done years ago. This is like applauding someone for doing their job but taking 7 years to finally do it right. They still aren't doing right by the software update side of things. 
  • Because it's a good thing. Give credit where it is due instead of hating on any and everything.