How to update Android easily: Did you know that a new version of Android is out, you would like to install it on your smartphone but you don’t know how to do it? Don’t worry, if you want, I’ll be here to help you. Come on, take five minutes of free time and find out how to update Android easily with the instructions I’m about to give you. If you are lucky you will be able to do it all in a couple of “taps” … but only if you are lucky!
The market for Android devices – you must know – is very fragmented and this leads to an annoying asynchrony of the times in which updates are released by the various manufacturers. What am I referring to? I’ll explain it to you right away. It often happens that hardware manufacturers do not release updates for Android in a timely manner. Since Google, which develops the operating system, releases a new version of Android, it takes several weeks, if not months, when manufacturers make it available to their users.
Think, there are even cases in which the release of updates is interrupted out of the blue by the manufacturer (this happens especially with low-cost devices) leaving the user with the burden of getting a more updated version of Android “manually” (following a procedure not really within everyone’s reach). Would you like to know more? Well, then read on, you will find everything explained below.
As you will soon discover, there are mainly two types of updates for the Android operating system: the official ones , i.e. those released by the manufacturers of the various devices, and the unofficial ones , i.e. created ad-hoc by the developer community, which require quite complex procedures. for installation.
In the case of official Android updates, the likelihood of losing personal data is extremely low, except in the case of problematic or interrupted updates for unforeseeable reasons (e.g. sudden device shutdown). For the unofficial ones, alas, things are different: in order to apply them, it is necessary to subject the device to the unlocking of the bootloader , a procedure that always requires the complete formatting of the device memory .
In any case, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises, my advice is to make a backup copy of the most important data, to always keep at hand: in this regard, the automatic saving features made available by some may come in handy. cloud services (eg Google Photos , often integrated into Android) or PC software released by smartphone and tablet manufacturers (which often allow you to create complete backup copies in just a couple of clicks).
Furthermore, if your goal is to copy the files present in the Android memory to the computer disk, in order to be able to move them elsewhere and access them at any time, you can connect the devices to each other via USB and use the Windows File Explorer, or the Android File Transfer software for Mac, to save the content you want.
To learn more about the most effective strategies for backing up data from Android , I refer you to reading the specific guide I have dedicated to the topic; if, on the other hand, you have Samsung , Huawei branded smartphones or tablets , you can follow the instructions I have given you in the guides dedicated, specifically, to the devices produced by the aforementioned “big names” in the sector.
In addition to making the backup, be sure to download system updates via the Wi-Fi network (as they may be of significant size and affect the Giga available on the cellular plan) and, before starting the update procedure, check that the remaining charge of the device is equal to or greater than 60% . Whenever possible, to avoid unexpected shutdowns, it would be advisable to update by keeping the device connected to the charger.
How to update Android easily: standard procedure
At the time of writing this guide, the safest way to update Android easily is to use the dedicated system functionality specifically for this purpose.
Updates of this type are called OTA (ie over-the-air ), as they are distributed via the Internet and, in order to be installed, do not require the use of other devices.
OTA updates are almost always safe, as they are customized and “modeled” by the manufacturer based on the device they are intended for: in other words, if your device notifies you of updates, you can install them safely, as it is difficult you will run into mistakes.
This approach, however, has a major limitation: since the world of Android is extremely varied and there are devices for all tastes, manufacturers often struggle to chase the official releases of Android (those made available by Google, so to speak) and adapt them to your devices.
As a direct consequence of this, not all Android devices are updated by their respective manufacturers on a regular basis : except for the top of the range, for devices produced directly by Google (those of the Pixel family , for example) and for those belonging to the line. Android One , which quickly receive the new versions of the operating system, it can happen that weeks, or even months, pass between an official release of Android and the availability of the OTA update dedicated to a specific type of device.
In light of this, some Android smartphones and tablets (such as those a little older or belonging to the low-end of the market) may receive updates sporadically or, even worse, not receive any at all; it is in cases like these that, in order to receive new features and security updates, it is necessary to act unofficially, after installing customized ROMs .
We will talk about this last possibility shortly but, for the moment, let me explain how to install the official Android updates using the appropriate functionality integrated into the operating system.
To begin with, open the Settings of the smartphone or tablet, by tapping on the symbol of the gear that resides on the Home screen or in the app drawer, touch the System item and, to view all the options, touch the word Advanced .
Once this is done, locate the Updates section , tap on it and wait for the smartphone to check for any available updates; if there are any, tap the button to Download the latest available update.
At the end of the procedure, you will be shown a notification message relating to the successful download of the update and its availability for installation: then tap on the notification message and indicate whether to install the update immediately , restarting the smartphone / tablet , or whether to install it in the night , during the period of inactivity of the device.
As I mentioned earlier, the versions of Android can be very different from each other and, for this reason, the menu items you see may differ from those I showed you a little while ago: if, for example, yours is a Samsung branded device , the path to follow is Settings> Software update> Download and install ; if, on the other hand, you have a Xiaomi smartphone, you must go to Settings> System info , press the MIUI version button and then touch the Check for updates button .
Please note that many versions of Android also allow you to define additional settings, linked to the download and installation of updates: to access them, in the screen dedicated to updates, tap the (⋮) button at the top right, tap the voice Settings / update Settings from the menu that appears on the screen and served menus and available switches to adjust as you desire.
For example, you can choose whether to automatically download / install the available updates, whether or not to use mobile data during the download and whether or not to activate the updates in advance (ie the “beta” program of the operating system), where possible: I do not recommend to enable the latter option, unless you have experience with Android, as it could make the device unstable in some cases.
Once the device update has started, it will restart and complete the operations necessary to upgrade the operating system to a later version; this phase, which could last several minutes, must not be interrupted in any way. Finally, it is essential that the smartphone and tablet remain switched on during the entire update procedure.
How to update Android via PC
If, for some reason, you are unable to download OTA updates via your smartphone, you can do the same from your computer, using the official software released by the device manufacturer: Huawei HiSuite (Windows / macOS) for Huawei , Samsung Smart devices Switch (Windows / macOS) for Samsung-branded smartphones and tablets , Sony Xperia Companion (Windows / macOS) for Sony devices, LG PC Suite (Windows) for smartphones manufactured by LG and Lenovo Smart Assistant Tool (Windows) for smartphones and Lenovo and Motorola tablets.
In principle, all you have to do is download the manufacturer’s program on your computer, install it and, after connecting the smartphone / tablet to the PC via USB cable , start the Android update procedure through the program downloaded just now. .
To give you the idea, let me explain how to act on a Samsung smartphone / tablet, using the Samsung Smart Switch software. To get it, connect to the Web page I reported to you a little while ago and click on the Download button for Windows , or Download for iOS , depending on whether you have Windows or macOS. Once the download is complete, open the file obtained and follow the procedure that best suits your operating system.
- Windows : click on the Yes button , put the check mark next to the items I accept the terms of the License Agreement and click on the Next and Finish buttons to install the program and start it.
- macOS : double-click on the SmartSwitchMac.pkg file that appears in the program installation window, click the Allow button twice consecutively, then click Accept and Install and, when prompted, enter the Mac password and press the Install Software button . At the end of the procedure, click on the Restart button to restart the Mac, and run SmartSwitch by calling it from the Launchpad or from the Mac Applications folder .
Once the program is open, update it if necessary, then connect the smartphone / tablet to the computer via USB and tap the Allow button that appears on the display, in order to allow communication between the devices.
Now, if updates are available, SmartSwitch will notify you and ask you to install them: to do so, click on the Install button and wait patiently, without ever disconnecting the two devices , for the updates to be downloaded to your computer, transferred to the smartphone / tablet memory. and installed on the latter. At the end of the process, you will see a message indicating the successful installation of the same.
If you deem it appropriate, you can have Smart Switch download the updates available on the PC “in advance”, in order to speed up the entire update procedure, when the Android device is connected to the computer: to ensure that this happens, click on the […] button located in the upper right corner of the Smart Switch window, then on the Preferences button and, subsequently, on the Software Update tab , attached to the new window that has opened.
Now, put the check mark next to the item Download the latest software estimate and select the target devices (i.e. those for which you are interested in getting updates) from the box immediately below. Finally, click on the OK button , in order to make the applied change effective.
How to update Android: custom ROM
How do you say? Do you have an older device and haven’t received any updates from the manufacturer for months now? In this case, the update procedure becomes somewhat complicated, as it is necessary to replace the version of Android in use with a newer one, using a custom ROM .
If you had never heard of it, a custom ROM (or custom ROM ) is a “modified” version of Android, almost always made by third-party developers, through which it is possible to switch to a later – or previous – version of the system operational, even if the manufacturer does not officially allow it.
However, this operation is far from risk-free: installing a version of Android other than the official version of the manufacturer almost always invalidates the warranty and, in any case, involves the complete loss of the data present in the memory.
Moreover, since the procedure involves the intervention on some extremely delicate parts of the operating system, it could permanently break the smartphone / tablet making it unusable, even following an apparently minor error.
So, before even considering this type of update, search Google for news relating to the support status of your specific smartphone / tablet model and check if the manufacturer is about to release new updates or not.
If, following this verification, you decide to proceed anyway, it is good that you are aware of the fact that the steps required to install a custom ROM on a given device vary profoundly based on its make and model . Generally speaking, here’s what you need to do to succeed.
- Check the version of Android currently installed by going to Settings> About device , and take note.
- Search and download a custom ROM specific to your device, based on a version of Android higher than the one currently installed. In this regard, you can search on Google for phrases such as [smartphone / tablet brand and model] custom ROM [android version] .
- Get the necessary software to unlock the bootloader and install the custom ROM on the device: ADB / Fastboot for Windows or macOS or the ODIN software for Windows (only for Samsung devices). I told you how to get them in the opening chapter of my program guide to get root permissions .
- Get a custom Recovery , to be loaded via Fastboot and used to install the new ROM on the device.
- After downloading and eventually installing everything you need, connect the smartphone / tablet to the computer via USB, enable USB debugging on it and restart it in Fastboot mode (generally it is sufficient to turn off the device and turn it back on by pressing and holding the Power and Volume keys – ).
- Using the Windows Command Prompt or PowerShell , or the macOS Terminal , use the fastboot software to unlock the device’s bootloader . Following this procedure, the smartphone / tablet memory will be completely reset.
- Also via fastboot, install the customized Recovery and start it by turning the smartphone back on in Recovery mode (generally, just press the Power + Volume Up keys ).
- Now use the Mount function of the Recovery, so you can access the internal memory of the smartphone / tablet as if it were a USB key and copy the custom ROM on the Android device.
- Finally, go back to the initial Recovery menu, tap the Install button and select the ROM to install on the device. Therefore, perform the action necessary to start the installation of the file (eg swipe to the right) and wait patiently for the procedure to be completed.
With a bit of luck, you may find specific steps to take on your device directly on Google, by typing phrases like flash custom ROM [device brand and model] . If, on the other hand, you want a concrete example, read my guide on how to return to the previous version of Android , based on the Motorola Moto G smartphone (the basic criterion is always the same, only in your case you have to install a later version, and not a previous one, of Android).
How to update apps on Android
Are you interested in understanding how to update apps on Android ? If so, the matter is very simple.
If you have a smartphone or tablet equipped with the Play Store and Google services, you can check the availability of updates for the apps by starting the Play Store , by tapping the ☰ button located at the top left and selecting the item My apps and mine games from the menu that appears.
Now, tap the Updates tab (at the top) and examine the list of apps to update: to update a single app, tap the Update button corresponding to its name; to download and install all available updates, tap the Update all button located at the top instead.
By default, Android automatically downloads and installs updates for apps, as long as the device is connected to a Wi-Fi network and sufficiently charged; to change this behavior, call up the main menu of the Play Store again, select the Settings item and tap on the Automatic app update option .
Finally, use the panel that is proposed to you to indicate your download preference: On any network , to download and install updates via Wi-Fi and 3G / 4G / 5G; Via Wi-Fi only , to download and install updates only if you are connected to a wireless network; or Do not automatically update apps to completely disable automatic updates. More info here .
If, on the other hand, you have a HUAWEI device not equipped with Play Store, you must use the AppGallery app to manage app updates: by default, the latter updates the apps automatically, whenever the smartphone is connected to the Wi-Fi network.
However, to check for any updates and activate / deactivate the automatic update, recall the app in question from the Home screen of the device, go to the Manage tab (below) and use the Automatic update via Wi-Fi lever to enable whether or not automatic updates; if there are any pending updates, press the appropriate buttons displayed on the screen to start them. More info here .