Regularly from time to time, Android security updates are released. Some of the users get it on time while others tend to wait until it reaches their smartphones. You must be wondering why does it take so much time to reach you. We will try to explain the complications involved before the Android Security Updates reach your phones.
Android Security Updates – How It Works?
Generally, iPhones get updates every five years and Android gets them about every 2 years. The speed at which these updates are rolled out also varies in the case of both the manufacturers. We will be talking today only about Android and how the whole process takes place.
As we all know the Android OS is used not just in smartphones but a number of other devices like refrigerators, media boxes, smartwatches and everything in between. Android is an open source operating system which makes it accessible to anyone with the source code.
Being open source can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage. For instance, Huawei and Samsung specialize in kitchen appliances, Google cannot venture into these areas. This can pose a problem when it comes to security.
When an error is reported in the Android System we need to see who is responsible for the error. It can be the manufacturer or the suppliers of the various components involved in building the appliance. Similarly, in the case of a smartphone, it consists of numerous parts which need to be tuned up together with each other as they work simultaneously.
So when there is a bug in the system it is not easy to trace the cause, as it is like finding a needle in a haystack with so many components involved. Once the root cause is known as the person responsible for it must resolve it. Relevant data is forwarded to Google as well in case it the fault of a supplier so that it is taken into account in the Android code.
This whole process takes some as it also involves a lot of testing. Each every fault can result in huge consequences as Android is popular over 2 billion devices run the OS. Google makes sure it delivers the best and maintain high testing standards. After conducting all the tests and confirming that the code is error free it is forwarded to all manufacturers that make Android devices.
2. Manufacturers To Move
The manufacturers get 30 days to process these bug fixes in their software and to cover any risks. On completion of this process, Google will issue the monthly security update. This includes an extensive logbook with what has been modified. This is to ensure that the consumers can check if the manufacturers like Samsung or Nokia have taken care of the security risks involved.
The reason the entire process takes such a long time as Android runs on devices manufactured by many companies. For example, there is a bug related to Android on a Blackberry phone, they will report the issue to Google. Google will fix the bug and then makes sure it runs properly on all other devices as well. After this, it releases the updates to all manufacturers like Samsung as well as Blackberry.
Once the updates reach Samsung, it will consider what the latest updates are. Further will check if these updates apply to their brand of smartphones and if the updated solution causes further errors or not. Though Samsung and Blackberry run on the same Android OS they actually running on different systems.
Both the phones running on Android are same yet different from each other. As a result of which updates which work for Blackberry may not work with Samsung. Both have their own set of software to compliment with Android, which controls how the icons, menu look and both will have a different user interface. For example, in the case of Samsung, it does not use a physical keyboard, whereas though Blackberry is an Android smartphone it comes with a physical keyboard.
Yet both are sent the same security updates by Google. This leads to the manufacture needing more time to understand what exactly needs to be done. They will initially compare the earlier codes with the latest codes send by Google to fix the bug. This will enable them to understand What has changed? What impact does this have on our system? Does the bugfix cause other problems? These are just a few questions that might arise in front of the manufacturers while checking a Google security update.
Yet again the security update is meant not just for different manufacturers but also a single manufacturer, for instance, Samsung might have numerous model of smartphones with different screen size, processors, RAM and storage capacities and Android versions as well.
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3. Final Rollout
It’s only after all these conditions are met in totality does the security patch actually rolls out. This is easier said than done and that’s the reason why devices are updated in phases. Generally, the size of the security update is around 100MB and if everyone is to simultaneously download the file the servers will not be able to handle the load and crash. As a result of this, it takes a while after a manufacturer has released the updates to reach you.
During the rollout period also the manufacturer checks for errors. For instance, there is a complaint from the first batch of recipients of the Android security updates, the company can quickly react by restricting the update. This avoids the trouble of getting into major problems. For example, if the latest safety update faces issues where the battery is drained quickly. This update can quickly be withdrawn by the manufacturers or Google, rework on the issue and fix the problem.
4. Phone Updates
After going through several processes when everything goes well you get the updates on your smartphone and you can install it without having to worry. Android keeps some extra storage space vacant on your smartphones, this is used to install updates without jeopardizing your personal files.
The update patch when installing onto your smartphone tells your phone exactly what needs to be updated. It reads the codes specifically and replaces what needs to be replaced ensuring that the updates are installed faster. In case you encounter and error in the Phone app when calling service numbers then your phone replaces only the appropriate rules script and not the entire program.
Once the all files are updated you will need to restart the smartphone. This is needed to be done as some of the Android components can only be updated when the phone is not used. Once the phone is restarted your phone is completely updated.
The old Android security updates will still be there on your phone just in case if something goes wrong during the installation. So you can always rollback to the previous version and try again. You can do it when the next service patch is released.
Which Manufacturer Is Fast?
You need to understand choosing the right manufacturer goes a long way in getting the Android security updates on time. Google and Nokia are the most reliable of the lot and the first to get the updates. Both update their devices monthly and are always given maximum security protection. Nokia demands special attention as it is known to release a lot of devices which fall under the budget and middle segment category, such phones usually do not get the highest priority in terms of updates.
Other to provide regular security updates are Sony and Samsung but they release Android security updates a little less frequently. This holds true in the case of their cheaper smartphones range. Huawei on the other hand does have a good reputation as far as safety is concerned. This story seems to be same with Xiaomi phones that fall under the Android One program.
Motorola is yet another smartphone manufacture who is slow in the release of Android security updates. They manage to update the phones three times in a year where they release multiple patches bundled together.
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