From the time of its release to date, Android has dramatically improved its visual and conceptual functioning. The latest OS updates will always be an attraction for you as an Android user.
For the most part, you’ll be right in the sense that every piece of software needs maintenance and improvement with time. That is why Google updates it so often in the first place.
You may notice a few significant changes in the appearance and performance of your phone after an update. However, would it be correct to say that the OS updates are essential for your phone?
Why You Don’t Need the Latest Version of Android
A lot of phones will be limited to just one or two updates, or sometimes none at all. But while we all like to get updates and the new features that they bring, there are a number of reasons why they aren’t quite as important as a lot of people think.
1. Almost All Apps Still Work on the Old OS Version
Your phone won’t suddenly stop working the moment a new version of Android is released. Older versions continue to be supported for years.
In almost all cases, your apps will work perfectly fine on your current version of Android. It wouldn’t make sense for app developers to end support for older OS versions as they would lose a large chunk of users if they do so.
So it is likely that not getting the update will not hamper you in terms of downloading and using apps from Google Play. And if all of your apps are running on your older Android version, it is clearly worth retaining.
2. Security Updates Are More Important
The most crucial kind of update is the security update. Unlike OS updates, you need to install these to keep your phone safe from potential security threats.
Unlike OS updates, security patches don’t change the entire system of your phone. These patches are usually much lighter and are totally worth having. So as long as your phone is still getting security updates, you don’t need to worry too much about the OS updates.
3. Manufacturer Skins Are Often More Important
Only a few manufacturers, like Google and Motorola, run a near-stock version of Android that shows the latest version of the OS in all its glory.
All other manufacturers, like Samsung with One UI and Oppo with ColorOS, run their own skins on top of Android, complete with their own unique features and their own look. They don’t always implement every feature in Android, either.
So the manufacturer’s skin is often more important than the underlying operating system itself since it dictates almost everything about the user experience. You might get updates to that even if it’s still based on an older Android version.
4. Google Rolls Out New Features Regardless of the OS Version
A lot of what makes up the Android experience actually comes from Google and is independent of the operating system.
If you can’t update your entire OS, it is not a big issue as your Google Play Services will get the necessary updates anyway. As a result, you’ll most likely get the latest features of all the Google apps and services on your older OS version.
Google continues to support at least the last three versions of Android. So unless your phone is very old, you are safe.
5. The Hardware Might Not Be Up to It
This point is something you might want to consider before updating your phone. The hardware capabilities of your phone, such as the processor and RAM, remain the same after an update, but most of the time, the newer OS version will be heavier in terms of storage and the number of resources it uses.
So, the OS itself will consume more of your hardware resources, most likely making your phone slower. If your device is already old or slow, not getting an update could actually be a good thing.
6. New Versions Are Often Buggy
Every time a new major piece of software rolls out, there are going to be bugs in it. It doesn’t apply to Google only—it’s the same with most companies out there.
For example, people rushed to update their software from Android 10 to 11 but ended up reporting many problems. It’s because the new update had many bugs and flaws. The users couldn’t take screenshots, and some apps that worked fine before the update kept crashing.
These problems get fixed in time, but updates do not always go smoothly.
But Android Updates Are Still Nice to Have…
Some new Android versions bring a few minor features and maybe some performance or battery enhancements. Others are much more significant, and can even change the whole direction that Android is heading.
Android 12, for example, introduced a whole new design language called Material You, along with some much-needed privacy features. These are worth having.
The UI changes, in particular, can be important. Nothing ages a phone more than an outdated UI.
When the interface and skin of the software are updated, it feels like you are using a new phone. The update can improve the visual interface of your device.
It is natural to get tired of the feel and look of the old software. So, in such cases, if you see an update that significantly changes the UI’s look, that update is worth installing for you.
Don’t Worry if You Can’t Get the Latest Android Version
You shouldn’t get worried if your phone no longer offers you updates to the Android operating system. The updates are sometimes important, and they’re nice to have, but they aren’t essential.
As you have read above, your phone will likely work fine on the older version of Android, and the developers will maintain support for it.
And remember, a lot of phones might get updated, but it can take a while. Only Google’s Pixel phones are guaranteed to get a new version almost immediately. If you own a different brand—and a model in the cheaper ranges especially—you might have to wait.
From a new look to new privacy controls, here are all the major features that Google is introducing in Android 12.
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