Samsung just embarrassed Google with an extra year of Android security updates

Samsung Galaxy S21 should get regular security updates
(Image credit: Future)

Update: Samsung may have done it again, with a rumor claiming Samsung will be offering four years of Android updates and five years of security patches for the Galaxy S22, S2, Tab S8, Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3.

Samsung just announced it would be improving one of the worst things about Android phones. The company has just confirmed future phones will be getting four years of Android security updates, instead of the usual three.

This new arrangement also retroactively applies to phones that launched since 2019, like the Galaxy S10 range, and that all Samsung mobile products would be included. Whether they’re Galaxy S, Z, A, Note, or Tab. Even the original Samsung Galaxy Fold gets a look in.

It’s an announcement that’s bound to put other Android phone makers to shame, especially Google. Despite Google owning and developing Android, Pixel phones only get three years of Android software and security updates. Most other companies offer three years of security updates and just two years of software maintenance.

Compare that to Apple, which controls its own hardware and software just like Google. Typically iPhone support runs for five to six years, and even now iOS updates are available on 2015’s iPhone 6S and the original iPhone SE. Both are likely to be completely discontinued around the launch of the iPhone 13 later this year. But it proves phone makers don’t have to abruptly cut people off after just three years.

Granted Samsung hasn’t said anything about Android software updates beyond two years. So keeping your old Galaxy device for longer may well cause you to miss out on whatever features newer versions of Android have to offer. But an extra year of Android security updates ensures you won’t be at risk when keeping hold of an older phone.

It also means other phone makers are more likely to follow Samsung’s example and start offering four years of security updates as well. Some of them may even start offering more to try and beat Samsung as its own game. Hopefully, Google is among them.

But for now, if you value keeping your phone secure, it sounds like your next phone should be a Samsung. Just make sure it’s one of the following devices:

  • Galaxy Fold, Z Fold2 5G, Z Flip, Z Flip 5G 
  • Galaxy  S10, S10+, S10e, S10 5G, S10 Lite, S20 5G, S20+ 5G, S20 Ultra 5G, S20 FE 5G, S21 5G, S21+ 5G, S21 Ultra 5G   
  • Galaxy A10e, A20, A50, A11, A21, A51, A51 5G, A71 5G 
  • Galaxy XCover FieldPro, XCover Pro
  • Galaxy Tab Active Pro, Tab Active3, Tab A 8 (2019), Tab A with S Pen, Tab A 8.4 (2020), Tab A7, Tab S5e, Tab S6, Tab S6 5G, Tab S6 Lite, Tab S7, Tab S7+ 
Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.