Compared to the iPhone, Android smartphones have always had the problem of fragmentation. At the same time, the iPhone models are the only ones to have iOS (so they receive updates progressively until the end of support from Apple). With Android phones, the update times are always different from manufacturer to manufacturer, especially when releasing a new version of the green operating system.
Having the most up-to-date version of the smartphone operating system may not be so decisive in choosing one model over another, but if you want to have a secure phone with the latest features, if possible, you must choose a manufacturer that offers at least 1 update per year or that provides at least one major update when the version is changed.
In this guide, we will show you the update speed of Android smartphones from leading manufacturers (such as Google, Xiaomi, and Samsung), so that you can choose your future phone based on this parameter.
Google offers smartphones called Pixel, which is a range of mobile devices produced directly by you that replaced the old series of Google Nexus smartphones.
Being produced directly by Google, they are the first smartphones to receive Android updates, both version changes and minor updates (introducing new security patches and optimizations). These smartphones are the direct competitors of the iPhones, both for the price applied to the new models and for the speed with which the latest updates are released (even in an early version for developers). The Pixels will receive direct support from Google for 18 months. During this period, you will undoubtedly receive at least two releases of new versions of Android. At the end of this period, you will receive only security updates or (rarely) some version updates if the phone is compatible.
Currently, the latest smartphones in this series are the Google Pixel 6 and the cheaper Pixel 4A.
Android Go is a line of budget smartphones with an Android system that can be fine even if the phone has 1 GB of RAM or 2, with no manufacturer customizations and software updates are provided directly by Google.
These smartphones receive system updates very frequently, almost at the same level as the Pixels (usually no more than a month after the release of the new version of Android on the Pixels).
The support is 18 months and guarantees 2 new versions of the operating system and 3 years of security patches as a minimum. Beyond this period, you may only receive security updates or tested Android releases.
OnePlus, a Chinese manufacturer, ranks first for the speed of updates among manufacturers using a customized version of Android.
The OxygenOS (based on Android) is updated to a new version of Android on average after 50 days from the release of this version on the Pixel and Android One, thus showing itself very fast in bringing its customers all the news introduced by Google. Support is usually 18 months, although there is no lack of major updates even after that date. OnePlus still releases many updates to make improvements, apply security patches and increase battery life. NOTES: Oneplus is from Oppo, and the merger of the Oxygen system with the Oppo Color OS system is planned. Even Oppo smartphones are very quick to update.
Another smartphone manufacturer that is very fast in the release of updates is Sony, which is placed second immediately behind OnePlus.
Sony’s customized Android operating system is updated between 50 and 60 days after the release of a new version of Android, making it one of the fastest among third-party manufacturers, with guaranteed 18-month support (at least 2 releases of Android are possible).
Another Chinese manufacturer that releases frequent updates to its operating system is Xiaomi, which has a slightly different update policy than its competitors.
With Xiaomi, you will receive, on average, an update every 4 months (every month in the versions dedicated to developers), and they will include all the security patches, optimizations of the operating system, and the introduction of new features, often “borrowed” from the new release of Android.
The “big” update, which includes the change to the Android version, is released on average 100 days after Google’s release of the Pixel and Android One line. All Xiaomi products are officially supported for 2 years and receive updates in that period (even those in the medium-low range), but often there are updates even after this period.
The smartphone sales market leader, Samsung (and Xiaomi), has a somewhat controversial policy on system updates.
The high-end models are updated at a decent speed, but for the passage of the Android version, it usually takes at least 90 days from the release of Google. Unfortunately, the sore point is on mid-low range smartphones: they often receive only minor updates and very rarely see a version update for Android; you will therefore have valid smartphones but age quickly, with the lack of support that usually “starts” after just one year of release. If you decide to go with a Samsung, it pays to spend a little more and secure a more expensive model, which will receive the new Android version after its release.
If your priority is the smartphone updates, it will be enough to focus on the fastest manufacturers we recommend in this guide, in particular, Oppo and Oneplus, to be on the safe side and always get the latest Android release as soon as available.
Unfortunately, Samsung and Xiaomi often penalize low-end phones and only get one big update on high-end smartphones: the situation has improved compared to the past, but it could do better.
To get a detailed list of the smartphones that will receive Android 12, the latest version of Android released in 2021, you can see the report on TechAdvisor website, with the list of all smartphones that, according to the statements of various manufacturers, will be updated this year or, at the latest, next.
Suppose you want to update your smartphone without waiting for the manufacturer’s update. In that case, we recommend that you read our guide on How to update Android (even without installing new versions), so you can update the main apps and get frequent and constant updates.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for an inexpensive smartphone but are afraid of not receiving any updates, we recommend that you read our guide on the affordable Android smartphone.
Finally, if the smartphone hasn’t received any updates for years, we can also consider switching to a custom ROM, as described in our guide on How to install a Custom Android ROM.