How to Check If Android Is Up to Date
Android is one of the most popular operating systems for handheld devices today. Available across many platforms such as smartphones, tablets, and even some smart home devices, the operating system is versatile and fairly user-friendly.
Like any software, you’ll need to regularly check for updates. Developers release updates periodically to give users new features, patch the holes in security, and fix bugs.
In this article, we’ll show you how to check for updates on your Android device. Although the manufacturers may vary, the instructions are nearly the same across all devices. Let’s get right to it!
How to Check for a Software Update
Checking your device’s software version is quite simple. Whether you’re using an Android tablet, a Samsung Galaxy, an LG smartphone, or something else, you can follow these instructions.
Just bear in mind that the screenshots may not match your device exactly, but the instructions will still apply.
To check for a new software update, do this:
- Swipe down from the top of your screen and click on the Settings Cog.
- Scroll down and tap ‘Software Update.’
- Tap on ‘Check for updates.’
Your device will begin to search for any updates. If your device is already up-to-date or there isn’t one available it will simply say ‘Current Software is up to date.’
Helpful Tip: If you don’t see the software update option as listed above, use the search bar within the devices’ settings. Type in ‘Software’ and select the appropriate option that appears.
That’s all there is to it! These instructions will help you check for software updates on most Android devices. If there is an update available simply tap on the option to perform the update.
Make sure that your device is plugged in to its charger and connected to WiFi otherwise the update may never begin.
In the above screenshots, we’re using Android 11 which is the most current version of the software in March of 2021. The Android interface hasn’t changed much in the past few years but what if you’re using a much older version?
How to Check Your Current Version
If you’re curious which version you’re using right now, the above steps won’t tell you. But, finding your Software version is really simple!
All you need to do is follow these steps:
- Swipe down from the top of your device’s screen and tap on the Settings Cog.
- Scroll down and tap on ‘About Device.’
- View the current version of the Android software.
Although the newest version of Android today is Android 11, these instructions haven’t changed much since Android used the name of sweets for their software.
Where to Find OS Information on Android Devices?
You can find OS information under the About Device tab in most Android smartphones and tablets. The steps may differ slightly from one model to another, but this is the general path you have to take:
- Go to Apps.
- Select Settings.
- Find and tap on About Device or About Phone.
- Find and read the info for Android Version.
- Alternatively, tap the Android Version tab to expand it.
Extra Tip – Android Versions
Here is something else you might find useful. Android operating systems have various names for specific versions.
If your phone doesn’t display any additional information besides the version number, you can use the following list to figure out what your version of Android is called.
- Jelly Bean for versions 4.1 through 4.3.1.
- Kit Kat for versions 4.4 through 4.4.4 and 4.4W through 4.4W.2.
- Lollipop for versions 5.0 through 5.1.1.
- Marshmallow for versions 6.0 through 6.0.1.
- Nougat for versions 7.0 through 7.1.2.
- Oreo for versions 8.0 through 8.1.
- Pie for versions 9.0
Once we reached Android 10; it seems we no longer had special names for the versions.
Locating OS Information for Older Versions
Here are some steps that should work on all Android devices that have a specific operating system designation, as the ones previously listed.
Nougat, Oreo, and Pie
- Go to Settings.
- Tap on About Phone.
- Tap on System Information.
This should display the current OS and version installed on your device. You can also check for newer available updates through the following steps:
- Go to Settings.
- Access Software update.
- Select Download Updates Manually or Download and Install.
This will enable you to search for the latest version, download, and install it on your phone. Usually, a newer version should be installed automatically if your phone is not up to date. However, this feature may not be used to install beta OS updates since they’re not usually stable for all phones.
Marshmallow, Lollipop, and KitKat
- Go to Settings.
- Tap About Device.
- Go to the bottom of the page to find the Android Version tab.
If you want to initiate a check for newer updates, here’s what you can do:
- Go to Settings.
- Tap About Device.
- Tap Software update.
- Follow the instructions.
This will initiate an automatic online search for the latest Android version of your specific OS, that is compatible with your device. It will not be installed automatically once found, you’ll have to do that manually.
Jellybean and Older
- Go to Settings.
- Tap About Phone.
- Tap Android Version.
From the same path, you can instead select Software Update instead of Android Version, if you want to see what’s the latest version available for your Android OS.
As you can see, the steps involved are basically the same. There are only small variations in wording. This can also happen because of the manufacturer, not just the OS version.
What the About Device Tab Can Show You
The About Device or About Phone tab will always show you the Android version installed on your device. It should also show you the device name, model number, the version of your security software, and its release date.
More or less information will be displayed, depending on what device you’re using. Older devices typically show less relevant information in the About section. But, on devices using Android Pie 9 or newer, for example, you may also see the One UI version installed, the service provider, the Knox version, build number, and much more.
Of course, for most casual users, this is irrelevant information.
Why Is It Important to Check the OS Version?
Most people end up checking their OS version because some apps are not running properly on their devices. It’s a known issue that some apps may not respond well to older OS versions which means that an update might be necessary.
Others check the OS version as well as other device information in order to determine whether they have a legitimate device in their hands. You too can use the information displayed on your device and cross-reference it with what the manufacturer lists on the website for your model.
This should let you know whether you have an official model or if you might’ve been duped into buying a fake.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Android operating system can be a confusing and overwhelming thing to learn. We’ve included some of the answers to your most frequently asked questions here!
Why isn’t the newest update available yet?
Not all Android users get the newest updates at the same time. Whether it be because the manufacturer hasn’t released it yet or your cell phone carrier hasn’t, you’ll need to wait it out.
Unlike iOS users, Android users don’t have the same benefit of a KeyNote and exact date for new software releases.
My phone won’t update. What’s going on?
If your phone is having trouble completing an update there could be several reasons.
Your phone may not be charging and connected to WiFi. Plug it in and make sure it’s connected to a stable WiFi network.
The battery life may be too low. Let it charge for a bit (above 30%) and try again.
You may have run out of storage. Open the Settings on your phone and tap on ‘Device Care’ or use the search bar to type in ‘Storage.’ Unfortunately, you may need to wipe some data, delete apps, etc. to get your phone to update if this is the case.
Should I update my Android device?
In years past, there were a lot of rumors about avoiding updates due to the issues that they caused. These days, most people keep their devices updated because the risks of not doing it outweigh the risks of updating your device.
Depending on how old your device is, you still may want to forego the newer updates. For example, if you’re still using the Note II today, Android 11 is too advanced for your phone’s hardware. Of course, if your phone is that old it probably won’t work with most applications today either so it’s really time to update.
Performing an update doesn’t erase any of your data on your phone, so you shouldn’t worry too much about that. However, if an update gets stuck (because the WiFi was disconnected or something like that) then you may need to do a factory reset after all.
Essentially, one should think of software updates like they do oil changes on their vehicle. They are necessary to keep your device secure and running smoothly. But, they aren’t completely without risks either. If you have a newer device and you keep your phone backed up to the Cloud, the risks of updating won’t likely effect you.
Do You Keep Your OS Updates on Automatic or Manual?
Just as it is with most laptops and computers, Android devices tend to perform better if most automatic update features are turned off. But then again, this OS is more susceptible to incompatibility issues if you consider how many new “must-have” apps appear from third-party developers.
How do you usually tick the automatic update option on your device? Do you uncheck it to boost performance and limit notifications or do you keep it on to avoid bugs and freezes on newly installed apps? Also, did you ever have to rollback an OS update in order to keep playing your favorite title? Let us know in the comments below.