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Update Android

This step-by-step guide shows you how to keep the software on your Android phone or tablet up to date. The guide covers updates to your operating system, security, Google Play system and your apps.

Why updates are important

Software updates improve the security of your devices. They help fix security flaws or vulnerabilities that have been found in your device’s software. Cybercriminals and malware can use these vulnerabilities to access your device or personal information. New vulnerabilities are discovered and fixed all the time, so install updates regularly to keep your devices secure.

Much like a thief attempting to break into a home, cybercriminals will always look for the easiest way in. If your software is not updated regularly, it is like leaving your front door unlocked.

Automatic updates

Turning on automatic updates is the easiest way to keep your device up-to-date and secure. Automatic updates are a “set and forget” feature that installs updates as soon as they are available. The ACSC recommends turning on automatic updates wherever they are supported. Sometimes, updates can’t install automatically so you should still keep an eye out for update notifications.

Operating System updates

You will automatically receive a notification when an update for your Android operating system is available. When you see a notification to update, tap it to start the process and make sure to follow any instructions and prompts as they appear.

If you swipe the update notification away, you may have to manually start the process. Each Android manufacturer has a different process to install a system update, so check the guidance on your manufacturer’s website. Guidance is available for the below manufacturers:

Install Google Play System updates

Google Play System updates are released regularly to keep core functionality of your device secure and working properly. These updates are usually installed automatically.

To confirm that you have the latest Google System updates installed, follow the steps below. Remember, the settings menu on some Android phones will look slightly different but the steps should be similar.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Security (Biometrics and Security on Samsung).
  3. Tap Security Update to check for updates.
  4. Tap Google Play system update to check for updates.

Turn on automatic app updates

App updates don’t just give you new features, they often include security improvements too. The ACSC recommends you enable automatic app updates for your Android device. You can do this on the Google Play app.

1. Open Google Play Store.

Android screen - step 1

2. Tap your profile icon in the top right corner.

Android screen - step 2

3. Tap Settings.

Android screen - step 3

4. Tap Network Preferences.

Android screen - step 4

5. Tap Auto-update apps.

Android screen - step 5

6. Ensure Auto-update apps is set to “Over Wi-Fi only” or “Over any network”.

Android screen - step 6

Older devices and software

If your device, operating system or apps are too old, they may no longer be supported by the developer. When devices and software reach this ‘end of support’ stage, they will still work, but will not receive security updates. This could leave you vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The Google Pixel 2 is an example of an older device that has reached end of support. 

If your operating system or other software are no longer receiving updates, you should consider upgrading to a newer version or switching to an alternative product to stay secure.

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