How Long Does Google Support Its Pixel Phones? A Guide…



If you’re thinking about buying a Pixel phone, you might be wondering how long Google actually supports its Pixel phones? Here’s everything you need to know…


After what can only be described as a rocky start, Google has finally started to hit its stride with its Pixel phones. The Big G even has its own custom silicon now in the form of its Tensor chipset. And its latest phones, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, have received pretty solid reviews.

For all intents and purposes, Google wants to make its Pixel phones the “iPhone” of the Android market. But in order for it to do that it first needed to match Apple’s market-leading support of its iPhones, where six or even seven years’ worth of iOS updates is common.

Google still hasn’t done this, however, and while its Pixel phones are still the best for getting Android updates in a timely fashion (in the Android market), Google still lags way behind Apple in this context. For instance, upwards of 90% of iPhones are now running iOS 15, Apple’s latest build of iOS.

Conversely, just 13.3% of ALL Android phones in circulation are running Android 12 as of right now – a horrifically small number. To make matters worse, Android 12 is now over 12 months old and has already been replaced by Android 13, which has now begun rolling out to Pixel phones.

This quagmire of a mess is known as “Android fragmentation” and it has been a problem since day one inside the Android community. And there’s no real fix for it either; fragmentation is as much a part of Android as Google’s core services. It’s just a fact of life, although you can do a lot to avoid it by switching over to Google’s Pixel phones.

How Long Does Google Support Its Pixel Phones?

Google currently guarantees three years’ worth of Android updates and four years’ worth of security updates for all of its new Pixel phones, so if you buy a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro today, it will get Android 13, Android 14, and Android 15, as well as an extra year of security updates. Not bad, right?

Not so long ago, this level of support was about as good as it got in the Android space. But then Samsung decided to up the ante and offer the same level of support for its phones. And then, in 2019, it doubled down further by adding four years’ worth of security updates, effectively equalling Google’s promise.

How Many Android Updates Do Pixel Phones Get?

The ONLY difference between Google and Samsung’s pledge is that, with Google’s Pixel phones, because they’re made and controlled by Google, you will get access to new Android versions first – sometimes months ahead of any Samsung phone. For this reason, Google still has a slight edge over Samsung, especially if you like early access to new builds of Android.

pixel 6a review
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The Google Pixel 6a – It Too Gets Three Years’ Worth of Android Updates

Never one to back down from a pee-pee measuring contest, Samsung then announced in 2022 that it would offer four years’ worth of Android updates and five years’ worth of security updates, effectively scuppering any claim that Google had for offering the best support in a market that it has complete control over. Ouch.

Samsung will now provide up to five years of security updates to help protect select Galaxy devices. These updates — when paired with Samsung’s award-winning defense-grade security platform Samsung Knox — give Galaxy devices more secure end-to-end protection against potential security threats. On top of that, Samsung Galaxy Enterprise Edition customers will receive a one-year license for Samsung Knox Suite solutions to easily deploy and manage devices with access to a dashboard that tracks security updates and more.

Samsung

There are rumors of Google offering five years’ worth of Android support to its newer phones, starting with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, but, again, these are just rumors – there is no concrete evidence to back it up. That being said, if Google does want to make its phone the de facto choice for millions of people is going to have to counter Samsung’s updated policy. And when it does, it’ll need to offer at least five to six years’ worth of Android updates.

Google CAN and SHOULD Be Doing Better

Google owns and controls every aspect of Android. It controls what features it has, how it functions, and what devices it can run on. Google should be providing better support to its Pixel phones – three years just isn’t good enough (it’s around half what Apple manages on average). Even Samsung is beating Google and it makes A LOT of phones. Google literally makes three phones a year. Are you telling me it doesn’t have the resources to support these phones for six years?

Part of the reason why Apple’s iPhone is so popular is that people know they can buy one and use it for years at a time. They know they’ll get the latest version of iOS when it is available, and they know that they’ll get security patches as soon as they’re released. Apple is so consistent in this context that many people, meaning tens of millions, wouldn’t dream of switching from iPhone to Android.

If Google wants to beat Apple at its own game, it is going to have to dramatically improve its quality control (it’s all over the place, and it has been for years), provide its users with access to more Android updates, and, finally, become the leader of the market it quite literally controls. This means ensuring its phones can and will run multiple versions of Android, just as Apple does with its iOS platform.

Phones are extremely expensive now, costing close to a thousand dollars a pop, so consumers should have the right to run their phones for as long as they like. Imagine if you spent a thousand bucks on a PC and it only got two or three years’ worth of support? You wouldn’t stand for it. Well, you shouldn’t when it comes to phones either. This is the main reason I switched over to iPhones after using Android phones for years.

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Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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