We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Regular updates are incredibly important if you want your phone to last as long as possible. OS updates patch security issues, introduce new features and protect your data — high priorities if you don’t want to shell out money year after year for new phones.
Skip out on these updates and you’ll quickly learn why they’re so important as you deal with a buggy device that isn’t protected from the latest malicious software and hacks. Does your Android have a virus? Tap or click to see the warning signs.
The good news: Many Samsung models will now get an extra year of upgrades. The bad news: Others will be hung out to dry — and so will you. Keep reading to see the list.
Why are these updates important?
First, let’s get on the same page. Operating system upgrades are different than the monthly updates that roll out on Android OS to patch bugs or provide minor facelifts. Upgrades are a full overhaul to your phone’s operating system.
These upgrades do often contain a slew of new features, but they also include important security patches to help protect your data and provide other privacy enhancements.
These new Android versions also help dictate which third-party apps can interact with your phone and data, too. Plus, system upgrades help your phone perform advanced functions, which is important if you’re using your phone for more than just calls or texts.
If you aren’t using a device that receives the newest OS upgrades, the old operating system can become obsolete. It will eventually cause annoying bugs or even major issues only resolved by upgrading to a newer device.
How long are Samsung phones generally supported?
Prior to this announcement, Samsung promised two years of operating system upgrades for its devices. Now many phones will be receiving an extra year of upgrades, bumping that up to three years.
This makes sense considering the average smartphone user is keeping their phone for much longer than they once were.
“As people hold onto their devices for longer, we are working to bring secure protection and exciting new features to the devices already in their hands,” Janghyun Yoon, Senior Vice President and Head of Software Platform Team, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics, said in the news release about the upgrades.
“By supporting up to three generations of Android OS upgrade, we are extending the lifecycle of our Galaxy products and making a promise that we will provide a simple and secure mobile experience that takes advantage of the latest innovations as soon as they are available.”
Which Samsung phones will be receiving upgrades?
Given that upgrades are important to your phone’s health, it’s important to know if your device is still on the list for Samsung’s OS upgrades.
The phones and devices that will be receiving up to three years of upgrades are:
- Galaxy S series: Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, S20 Ultra, S20+ 5G, S20+, S20 5G, S20 in addition to S10 5G, S10+, S10, S10e, S10 Lite, and the upcoming S series devices
- Galaxy Note series: Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G, Note20 Ultra, Note20 5G, Note20, Note10+ 5G, Note10+, Note10 5G, Note10, Note10 Lite, and the upcoming Note series devices
- Galaxy Foldable devices: Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, Z Fold2, Z Flip 5G, Z Flip, Fold 5G, Fold, and the upcoming Z-series devices
- Galaxy A series: Galaxy A71 5G, A71, A51 5G, A51, A90 5G, and some select upcoming A-series devices
- Tablets: Galaxy Tab S7+ 5G, Tab S7+, Tab S7 5G3, Tab S7, Tab S6 5G4, Tab S6, Tab S6 Lite, and the upcoming Tab S series devices
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What it means if your phone isn’t on the list
If your phone isn’t included on this list, don’t panic. While you may not be on the list to receive full OS upgrades, Samsung says it is “committed to providing the latest Android OS upgrades until the hardware specifications allow.” This means you’re still likely to receive upcoming OS upgrades if your phone’s hardware can handle it. That also presumably includes the monthly security patches and updates that roll out on a regular basis to keep your phone in working order.
However, while you may still be able to get those coveted OS upgrades, Samsung says upgrade availability will vary by market. It’s unclear which markets will be slated to receive the upgrades and which ones won’t.
And if you don’t receive the upgrades, that could spell security trouble. Having unpatched security issues or an outdated OS can leave your phone and data vulnerable to hackers. It could also cause some issues with the way your phone performs.
Does that mean you need to run out and upgrade your device simply because it’s not on the list? No, probably not. But this info is something to be aware of for the future — especially if you’re planning to keep your device for a while.