Your Pixel 5 just got a lot faster thanks to the April security update

Google Pixel 5
Google Pixel 5 (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google's Android April security updates includes a performance boost of as much as 50 percent to the flagship Pixel 5.
  • The Pixel 5 now performs consistently in line with other Snapdragon 765 phones.
  • The Pixel 4a 5G also received a similar boost.

The Google Pixel 5 just got a bit faster with yesterday's April update. Yes, we noted in the article that Google did say it was including "performance optimizations for certain apps and games", but a Twitter thread shared by Der Standard's Andreas Proschofsky indicates that the performance boost is between 30 to 50 percent, based on his testing post-patch install.

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Now, while the Pixel 5 wasn't slow per se, it's GPU perfomance wasn't as good as it could have been based on the few sites that benchmarked the phone. This was especially striking in comparison to other Snapdragon 765-toting phones like the OnePlus Nord which cost less than Google's offering.

Reviewing the Pixel 5, Android Authority noted:

In benchmarks, the Google Pixel 5 performed well enough, but it certainly wasn't the highest score for a Snapdragon 765G device. The Google Pixel 5 notched a score of 2,633 in Geekbench 4 single-core and 5,994 in multi-core. In comparison, the OnePlus Nord scored 2,853 and 7,896 in Geekbench 4 single- and multi-core tests, respectively.

This update rectifies that, bringing the device up to where it should be. It's hard to find equivalent benchmarks for the 4a 5G, but seeing that Google points out both phones in release notes, it's an easy assumption to make that they have the same improvement.

It's not clear why the Pixel 5 would have been designed to underperform, to begin with. Perhaps Google wanted to limit overheating and prioritize the battery life in the initial release. It's unlikely there'll be a clear answer for this. The Pixel 5 remains one of the best Android phones as a complete package, and this update only makes that better.

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Michael Allison
  • No update for Pixel 5 on Verizon yet.
  • What's the deal with Verizon blocking these lately? I always used to get them same day until the past several months or so.
  • I suspect that Google had included mitigations for Spectre/Meltdown and has replaced them with more efficient ones. This would explain the larger boost in multi-core performance.
  • spectre does not reduce 50% performance
  • people have pixel 5's?
  • Yes I bought one last week and I still got my 3a xl
  • The key difference I've noticed is that taking photos in chat on WhatsApp finally works now - before you had to take it, then go back and retake it, was so frustrating!