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How to update Android

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Android is currently the most widely used operating system (OS) in the mobile sector, thanks to the great popularity of smartphones with which it is currently associated. In addition to its versatility, the open source license and widespread availability of applications has allowed it to be installed on an increasing number of devices, from smartphones to consoles to cars, with a growing trend towards greater adoption of the operating system by major hardware manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei.

Born in the early 2000s as a mobile version of Linux, in the early days of smartphones, after being acquired by Google and sanctified as a free alternative to the most popular proprietary systems on mobile phones of the time (especially Symbian OS and iOS), Android fell victim to a characteristic fragmentation. open source world. This led to the continuous creation of new variants, even very different from the original, the so-called plugs, as well as to the need for constant updating, which is not always compatible with the strict technical characteristics of the device used. In this tutorial, I will help you update Android and its variants on your devices. Ready to start? Then let’s not waste any more time.

How to update Android

Next, I’ll show you how to keep your Android device up to date. It is an indispensable operation to see the bugs that can nest in such a complex system are fixed and, above all, to solve the myriad security problems that developers are constantly identifying and fixing.

Since we will operate the operating system at the risk of altering or losing your data, remember that you are always solely responsible for storing it and always act at your own risk.

Android OS types

Android is extremely versatile and mostly free, although development and ownership of some of the features remains in the hands of Google and its partners. However, the other side of versatility is diversification. So you often don’t have to deal with the “standard” Android operating system.

On the other hand, there is an ecosystem of different Android distributions , with packages created specifically by the manufacturers of the hardware they need to run on, or by the users and fans of that OS to optimize their performance. Before updating Android, then, it would be better to “have an overview”.

CUSTOMIZED DISTRIBUTIONS FOR ANDROID

There are ROMs (the term for firmware) and Android-based operating systems developed by users and developers passionate about the green robot world, as well as, as I said, smartphone manufacturers .

Usually these OSs, especially open source ones, can be found on XDA-Developers , a portal that is currently a statement regarding customized Android versions. Please note, however, that in order to install these OSs on a smartphone that is not yet running (but still supported), you need to run root , which is the procedure to give you administrator rights on your device.

Among the most used custom Android OS , there are:

  • MIUI (Xiaomi)
  • EMUI (Huawei)
  • Oxygenos (OnePlus)
  • LineageOS
  • Cyanogen-mod OS
  • paranoid android

To see all custom Android versions and the devices it supports, see the list of custom Android versions on Wikipedia (in English).

ANDROID DISTROS DEVELOPED BY GOOGLE

Remaining with the software of the parent company, you should know that Google distributes , in addition to the main OS distribution , also a reduced and unchanged version from manufacturers, called Android One , whose work is limited to certain classes of devices, namely low-performance Android smartphones, and whose update is subject to expiration action installed at the time of installation.

Also, with regard to Google-linked mobile Android distributions, the AOSP project , an open source initiative by Google that makes the source code available to third-party developers to create custom distributions , needs to be considered . Currently, the unmodified AOSP source code is only available on Google smartphones such as Nexus and Pixel . For more details read the AOSP dot on the Android wiki page (in English).

Another distribution always available from Google (in partnership with Intel) is Android Automotive , a system designed specifically for the on-board computers of some cars manufactured after 2017. This, however, should not be confused with Android Auto , which is the mobile interface for the infotainment system. The latter cannot be used without a paired mobile device.

READ MORE: Best Affordable Android Smartphone: Buying Guide

In terms of smart TVs, Google is developing the Android TV OS, a version optimized for streaming video and running apps on the latest TVs. It should be said, however, that Android TV also runs on set-top boxes such as the Roku, i.e. devices that convert a traditional TV to an intelligent TV (this assuming the TV in question has at least an HDMI or similar video input).

AVAILABLE ANDROID VERSIONS

Since all of these distributions are obviously based on the source code of the Google Android operating system, the versions currently available must be considered .

As of this writing, the latest version of Android is Android 10 , released in September 2019. Among the most common ones still in circulation, however, there are those from the previous five years, namely Android Lollipop (5.0), Android Marshmallow (6.0), Android Nougat (7.0), Android Oreo ( 8.0) and Android Pie (9.0).

Typically, these major updates are released between July and September of each year (also called the third quarter). Of course, not all devices support the latest generation of operating systems. More information on this can be found in the list of Android versions of Wikipedia (in English).

Types of Android launchers

As with all Linux systems, Android also offers various user interfaces (UI for short) called launchers . The launcher acts as both an application manager and a desktop (to the extent that the concept can be extended to devices other than computers), and can also include additional services in the form of widgets (e.g. custom clock, weather functions, etc.) etc.).

For this reason, some third parties, such as Facebook or Microsoft, have developed launchers specifically designed to make certain applications easier to use, optimizing the entire interface accordingly.

How to update Android
How to update Android

Knowing which launcher you are using is especially helpful because each one offers a different update setting, or a different organization. Among the most common , in any case, I can quote you:

  • Facebook home page
  • Google NOW Launch
  • Google Pixel User Interface
  • MIUI launcher
  • LG UX (Optimus UI)
  • EMUI launch module
  • ASUS ZEN UI
  • Samsung experience
  • Samsung One UI
  • Microsoft Launcher

To find out which of the launchers is installed on your Android phone, check out the list of Android launchers on Wikipedia . Find your device manufacturer in the information section. Then look at the year of the launcher and compare it to the year of your device. If you can’t do it right away, don’t worry, because I’ll give you more details on this in a minute.

Preliminary operations

Now let’s see what you need to do before updating Android . Keep reading to figure out what to do.

DEVICE BACKUP

First of all, in order to safely update the Android system, you need to do complete backup of your data , including not only user files (images, audio, video, documents, etc.), but also the entire settings block. Yes, although nothing will be canceled .

Several Android smartphone manufacturers offer PC software that makes this task easier. However, it is also true that almost all Android versions now allow to back up directly to the Internet using Google cloud services or other supported cloud storage services.

To be sure of the possibilities offered by your distribution, you can only search directly in the system settings for “Backup” , and see what is more convenient than the data that you know to store on your device; as always, in these cases, remember that you are solely responsible for their safety.

CHECKING THE ANDROID OS VERSION BEFORE UPDATING

In order to be able to check for an update, we also need to know the exact version of the installed OS . This information is usually found in Device Settings .

However, be careful not to confuse the launcher version with the operating system version ; and watch out version of the kernel (the heart of the operating system). In fact, full operating system updates come months or years later. While patches, small “patches” made on the kernel are released more often. For a better understanding, see the example screen (where the EMUI trigger is shown).

You will be able to make sure that your Android device is already updated to the latest version of the operating system or not. If not, please follow the steps explained in the next in-depth analysis.

Update procedure

As we said, every Android mobile phone is sold factory-preset, a system pre-installed by the manufacturer, which is called ROM for computer reasons, and is optimized for the type of use that the designers thought for the device.

Fortunately, however, except in rare cases, the procedure for installing an Android update is the same for any launcher and associated distribution. All you have to do is adapt the following steps to your smartphone so that you can complete this operation successfully.

ANDROID UPDATE FOR SMARTPHONES AND TABLETS

To update your Android smartphone or tablet , simply go to the “System Preferences” section , in particular the “Updates” section , and confirm that you can download and install the update. Some launchers, such as EMUI (but not only), have an Update system element .

Having entered this section, after a short download, you will find a new version for installation (download, of course, with a Wi-Fi connection), with its brief description and a log of changes (a file compiled by the developers regarding the changes made). Next to this information, it will be possible to choose whether to install the Android update now or wait until late at night when the phone may not be used; in both cases, make sure you have a good battery (at least over 60%).

Once started, the software update cannot be interrupted. Do not turn off the device during operation for any reason, but let the procedure take its course: the mobile phone will immediately reboot and a progress screen (different for each launcher) appears, usually written in English.

Don’t worry if the percentage of progress shown will seem like it at some point in time, because this is a simple timer implementation that, in practice, has to deal with the possible slowness of your personal equipment. Usually, however, the installation of an already downloaded update takes no more than a quarter of an hour, after which the mobile phone will automatically reboot, showing the manufacturer’s logo for a few minutes, after which everything will be completely ready to work again, and you will simply be prompted to unlock the screen.

UPDATE ANDROID FROM PC

If you are not convinced by this procedure, or for other reasons you want to update Android from your PC , just follow the instructions of your device manufacturer, who will also provide you with the necessary application to continue. Each of them, in fact, provides its own software. Among the most common are

  • Samsung Smart Switch – download here
  • Mi PC Suite (Xiaomi, no longer supported)
  • Xiaomi Assistant (in beta at the time of writing)
  • Hisuite by Huawei – download from here .

After downloading the Windows or Mac software and installing the USB drivers for your Android device, connect your phone to your computer via a USB cable. It will be recognized automatically. At this point, just look for the system update related item in the kit you are using, then confirm and wait for the actual Android software update.

FLASH MEMORY FOR ANDROID

To update Android, you can also flash the update file . As for the ROMs installed through the root of the device , after recovery, you need to download the .zip file and then transfer it to the internal memory of the phone. After that, you must restart in recovery mode and flash the updated ROM . If an older version is already installed, then there is usually no need to erase the contents. However, always read the installation specifications.

If it’s a manufacturer that downloads the update file from the Internet and installs the flash, such as OnePlus, you can do so even earlier. As you already know, OxygenOS and similar distributions support loading flash from preferences. So, you just copy the file to your phone and launch the update from the settings.

For example, if you have a OnePlus device , you can connect to this page (preferably from a computer), select your smartphone model from the list, and download the latest available software version . After that, just connect your phone to your computer via USB and copy the downloaded .zip file to the internal memory. After that just go to Settings and select Update System . Then tap Settings again (top right), select Local Update , find the .zip file, and tap Install .

The software will flash automatically. So you have to wait a few minutes for the operation to complete. However, remember to perform an MD5 checksum check before transferring the file to the device.

ANDROID TV UPDATE

What we have said so far for updating mobile devices, other than updating PC and flash, basically applies to Android TVs and TV boxes as well, however, a variety of different implementations such as launcher and factory restrictions do it is absolutely impossible to describe the standard procedure.

However, it should be remembered that the update is available, as for mobile phones, through a special command in Settings , and, of course, requires a Wi-Fi or LAN connection .

Alternatively, but only for devices that allow it, you can manually update Android using a memory stick , to which you will have to manually (via PC) copy the update files provided by the manufacturer on their website, which you will also have to contact for the exact procedure.

However, it should be said that this latter operation is so risky to the integrity of the device that it is highly impractical if you do not have an accurate record of what you are doing. So act at your own risk and only if you are willing to risk an unsolvable TV lock.

UPDATING ANDROID CAR AND ANDROID AUTO

To update Android Automotive, simply follow the exact same procedures as for installing updates on mobile devices . All you need to do is go to the Settings section and find the Operating system update item .

Also, please note that this on-board computer software is supported by the car manufacturer’s team. Then follow the instructions in your model’s manual or check directly on the manufacturer’s website.

As far as Android Auto updates are concerned , you should know that updates are deployed and installed automatically by Google. However, these updates are not always downloaded immediately. So if you want to force Android Auto updates, just use the Android Auto app on the phone that is associated with your car. Then tap the icon with three horizontal lines and select Settings. There, under General , activate the Try a new Android Auto option .

Thus, when the phone reconnects to the car, the latest Android Auto software will be installed.

UPDATING ANDROID APPS

Updating the Android operating system is not the same as updating apps downloaded from the Play Store . To find out which apps need updating and installing, first launch the Google Play app on your device. After that, in the application menu, select the item My applications and games or a similar item.

You will see a list of apps and games to update. To start the update, after connecting to a Wi-Fi network, simply click the Update button After that, the download and installation will take place automatically.

For applications downloaded from third-party sources (such as APKMirror), you must first download the corresponding updated APK files through the appropriate portal. Then, after activating Unknown Sources in the settings of your smartphone, simply open this APK file for the operating system to prompt you to install it. During the update process, the data stored in the application is usually not deleted (please make a backup before updating such applications).

However, keep in mind that many APKs found on the web may contain various types of malware . Therefore, in addition to carefully checking the downloaded APK files, I suggest that you install one of the best Android antiviruses for free so that you can be safe.

If you want to update your Android app to beta, you can use Google Play. Find the app you want to test and tap it to access the info section (which has user reviews). Then scroll down and tap the Participate option This way, after a few hours, you will be given the option to access the developer’s beta channel (assuming it is provided via Google Play).

SO ANDROID BETA UPDATE

Google offers for Android, similar to what happens for all open source operating systems, the ability to install on devices that are not yet stable versions , for testing purposes or just for curiosity.

The end-user benefits of installing these releases, called beta in jargon (i.e. already in use with a certain margin of safety), are mainly related to the ability to preview some new features still in the implementation phase, which can then be abandoned. in the final version; on the other side of the coin, however, there are many bugs that trigger the beta, which is for developers and not the average user. Therefore, it is entirely possible that the Android beta suddenly freezes , exhibits bizarre behavior, or does not even respond adequately to commands.

If you still want to update Android to beta , you can go to the corresponding Android beta page . Then click the Sign In button and sign in to your Google account. This will show you connected devices that are compatible with newer versions of Android. Select the one you want to use for these tests (assuming it is supported) and run the wizard.

For the above reasons, Google will ask you to quickly register for its beta testing program. You will then be presented with a confirmation of your Android beta program subscription.

If at you is not supported by the device , do not give up: it simply means that at this time Google could not (or did not bother to) release a compatible beta version, but the final version – depending on the renovation plan, proposed by the manufacturer of your device – not will definitely be subject to this limitation.

Checking Android version after update

After completing the installation of the Android update, you can repeat the procedure for checking the system information that I showed you in the preliminary paragraph of the tutorial, where you will find a new patch installed instead of the previous one.

Whether the software is installed on a mobile phone, tablet or car, your Android system is now up to date and protected from previous vulnerabilities and may offer you new features.

By continuing to update constantly, you can keep your phone in optimal condition until the end of official support, saving you a lot of time and money. You can then decide whether to buy another Android smartphone or install compatible third-party distros that usually keep the device longer.

To version control updated Android apps, simply head over to the Google Play section In the ” Install” section , find the application you want to test and click on it to go to the dedicated page. Then select the News option and scroll through the changelog until you find the App Info section . Here, look in the “Version” section . Then you will find the build number associated with the latest available version of that app.

This way you will know if the Android update and app update actually went well.



 

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