One of the main reasons why some people prefer the Apple ecosystem over Android is the long-term software support that the company offers. Apple devices can receive updates for many years, sometimes even longer than their hardware lifespan. On the other hand, Android handsets have a reputation for being quickly abandoned by their manufacturers, with generally no updates beyond three years.
However, this is no longer the case. As people keep their phones for longer, Android manufacturers have realised the importance of building brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. Led by Samsung, many of these companies have started to provide update support for over half a decade – and some like Fairphone have actually managed to beat Apple at its own game with eight years of support.
The software support landscape has changed significantly in the past few years, and Android is no longer lagging behind. In this article, we will explore how different brands have improved their software support policies in 2023 and rank them accordingly.
#1: Samsung (up to 5 years of updates)
Samsung may not be the only phone manufacturer offering four major OS updates, but it certainly was the first to do so. The Korean company announced in early 2022 that it would offer four years of Android OS upgrades and five years of security patches for select devices, starting with the Galaxy S21 series in 2021.
Other Android brands quickly followed suit, so to one-up them once more, Samsung began offering the same number of updates as its flagship devices to its mid-range devices. Take the recently launched Galaxy F54, for instance. Priced at Rs 29,999, this phone will likely get updated all the way until Android 17. Meanwhile, even the company’s entry-level offerings are said to receive two Android upgrades. Samsung takes home the trophy here.
#2: OnePlus (up to 5 years of updates)
OnePlus’s new software policy promises four OS upgrades and five years of security updates for flagships released in 2023 and later, putting it in the same league as Samsung. Premium Nord series devices are starting to get 3+4 years of updates with the OnePlus Nord 3 but older and more affordable Nord devices aren’t expected to be updated beyond 2+3 years.
#3: Oppo (up to 5 years of updates)
Oppo’s software update policy guarantees four years of major Android updates and five years of security patches for flagship Find series phones launched in 2023. Older flagship phones should receive three years of major Android updates and four years of security updates, as the company had announced in a forum post back in 2021.
Meanwhile, Reno, F, and K series phones are subject to two years of major Android updates and four years of security updates. For entry-level A series phones, it’s a 1+4 update policy.
#4: Xiaomi (up to 5 years of updates)
Xiaomi recently announced that its upcoming flagships – Xiaomi 13T and Xiaomi 13T Pro – will receive four years of Android OS upgrades and five years of security patches. This is an extension of its existing policy that promises flagship devices 3+4 years of updates. While unspecified, the company’s upper-mid-range devices should receive three years of Android OS updates as well.
However, the company’s newer budget phones like the Redmi 12 5G (priced Rs 11,999) are promised to receive two years of Android updates and three years of security updates. Meanwhile, entry-level offerings like the Redmi A2 will get three MIUI updates and three years of Android security updates. There’s no word on the number of Android upgrades for this one.
Xiaomi definitely has upped its game in the past couple of years, but scanty and irregular updates make it lose points.
#5: Google (up to 5 years of updates)
Pixel devices from Google offer three years of major OS updates and five years of security patches as of now. But the upcoming Pixel 8 series is set to raise the bar with a minimum of five years of Android OS updates along with the corresponding security updates. If and when this happens, Google will have beaten Samsung in the software support game.
#6: Realme (up to 4 years of updates)
Realme promises to keep most of its phones (except for the entry-level ones) updated with at least two Android versions and three years of security patches. However, some models enjoy even longer support:
– The Realme GT Neo series and the flagship devices will get three major software updates and four years of monthly security patches.
– The Realme 10 Series will have up to three years of software support, including any necessary major updates.
– The Realme GT 2 and Realme GT 2 Pro will receive three upgrades and four years of patches.
#7: Vivo (up to 4 years of updates)
Like Xiaomi, Vivo’s software update policy isn’t very clear, but the latest flagships are promised to be supported for up to four years – three Android version updates and four years of security patches. Older Vivo X series devices continue to carry the previous software support policy of 2+3 years and so do newer premium mid-range offerings like the Vivo V27 Pro. For anything more affordable, it’d be fair to assume a maximum of two Android updates, but it can also be fewer than that.
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The brand still loses to Realme though, because the latter has started using the 3+4 years of updates formula with a few of its non-flagship devices, which is something Vivo is yet to provide.
#8: iQOO (up to 4 years of updates)
iQOO’s newer flagships are promised to get 3 years of Android OS updates and 4 years of security updates. Meanwhile, its newer Neo and Z series devices are promised to receive two major Android updates and three years of monthly security patches.
#9: Motorola (up to 4 years of updates)
Motorola’s new foldable Razr series will receive three years of Android updates and four years of bi-monthly security updates, the company has confirmed. Meanwhile, Motorola’s other flagships generally receive two software upgrades and two to three years of patches, putting the brand at the bottom of the list. Budget offerings typically see just one upgrade and two years of security support.