Android robot figure.
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Updates are a big deal in the Android world. Apple controls the iPhone update process, but Google does not have that power over Android. How are you supposed to know how long your Android phone will get updates? We’ll help you.

It’s All About the Manufacturer

When it comes to Android devices and updates, you can’t look at all of Android as a whole. The question is not “when will my Android phone be supported?” It’s “when will my [manufacturer] phone be supported?”

There used to be many manufacturers pumping out Android devices, but it’s been mostly narrowed down to Samsung, Google, and a few smaller players—at least in the U.S. We’ll focus on those companies.

Android OS Upgrade vs. Security Update

Before we dive in, there’s one distinction that needs to be made. There are two types of Android updates. Security updates are smaller and arrive more frequently. They don’t typically include big changes, but they’re very important.

Android upgrades or “major OS updates” are yearly. This is when Android 12 upgrades to Android 13, or One UI 3 to One UI 4, and so on. Typically, devices will get one more year of security updates after they receive their last OS upgrade.

Note: Update timelines begin at the time of release. If a device was launched in October 2021 and it receives five years of security updates, the last update will be in October 2026 regardless of when you purchased it.

RELATED: What Are Android Security Updates, and Why Are They Important?

How Long Will My Samsung Phone Be Supported?

Galaxy S22 models.
Jack Skeens/Shutterstock.com

Samsung releases a lot of Android devices and they don’t all receive the same amount of updates. Thankfully, the company maintains a detailed “Security Updates Scope” website with information for specific devices.

Updates are released on a monthly, quarterly, and biannual schedule. Newer Samsung devices receive updates more frequently. Devices launched in 2019 or later receive four years of security updates, while newer devices receive up to five years.

In addition to those security updates, Samsung offers four Android upgrades for a majority of its devices. The list of those devices can be found on Samsung’s website and it includes newer models from those series’ as well.

The short answer for the majority of Samsung devices is you’ll get four Android upgrades and five years of security updates.

How Long Will My Google Pixel Phone Be Supported?

pixel 6 Pro
Google

Google doesn’t have nearly as many devices to worry about as Samsung, but they’re still not all treated the same. Support timelines for Pixel devices can be found here on Google’s website.

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Newer devices—starting with the Pixel 6 series—receive three years of Android upgrades and five years of security updates. The Pixel 5a through the Pixel 3a receive three years of Android upgrades and security updates. The Pixel 3 and older Pixels are no longer supported.

If you own a Google Pixel, you’re looking at three to five years of support.

RELATED: How to Manually Update Your Google Pixel by Sideloading OTA

How Long Are Other Phones Supported?

Beyond the big hitters, there are a few other Android manufacturers to know about.

OnePlus

The OnePlus 8 and newer devices receive three years of Android upgrades and four years of security updates. Older devices receive two years of upgrades and three years of security updates. The Nord series gets one year of upgrades and three years of security updates

Motorola

Motorola has one of the most lacking update strategies among Android manufacturers. It varies greatly depending on the device you have. Newer devices receive two Android upgrades and two years of security updates. You can look up your model on Motorola’s website.

Sony

Most Sony phones receive two years of Android upgrades and security updates. Sony does not provide a lot of information about its update timelines.

LG

LG shut down its smartphone business in 2021, but phones released in 2019 or later are supposed to receive three years of Android updates.

Samsung and Google Are the Most Reliable

At the time of writing in April 2022, Samsung and Google are head and shoulders above the rest of the Android world when it comes to updates.

Those are the devices you should consider if you want long-term support. You don’t want to use a phone without up-to-date software. It’s critical for security to have a supported phone.

The Best Android Phones of 2022

Best Android Phone Overall
Samsung Galaxy S22
Best Budget
Moto G Play (2021)
Best Mid-Range Android Phone
Google Pixel 5a
Best Premium Android Phone
Samsung Galaxy S22
Best Android Gaming Phone
ASUS ROG Phone 5S
Best Android Camera
Google Pixel 6 Pro
Best Battery Life
Moto G Power (2021)
Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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