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Samsung’s recent Galaxy devices will now get at least four years of Android security updates

Samsung’s recent Galaxy devices will now get at least four years of Android security updates

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A big jump in long-term security support

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Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra
Photo by Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge

Samsung has announced that it’ll be extending the amount of time that its Galaxy smartphones and tablets will be getting security updates. Now, devices released from 2019 and onward will receove at least four years of security updates.

Previously, Samsung offered either monthly or quarterly security updates for at least the first two years of a device’s life span, the frequency of which is determined by the device itself. More premium phones like the Galaxy Note or Galaxy S lines get monthly updates, while budget-friendly models like 2020’s Galaxy A71 5G get quarterly updates. Samsung also drops some of its higher-end devices down to quarterly updates after a certain point in time, like the Galaxy S8 lineup.

It’s important to note that Samsung is only promising four years of “regular security updates,” which is actually Samsung’s lowest tier of update frequency, reserved for devices that it still supports but without the promise of a monthly or quarterly cadence. Still, the new announcement does mean that Samsung is working to extend the usable life span of dozens of its devices, including some of its cheaper entry-level phones that might not ordinarily see that kind of long-term support.

To put that commitment in perspective, Google itself only promises “at least three years” of security updates for its Pixel phones. And there are far fewer models of Pixel hardware to support than the 40-plus phones and tablets for which Samsung is promising security updates.

The other important caveat here is that Samsung is promising security updates for at least four years, not Android OS updates. Samsung did guarantee support for at least three “generations” of Android OS updates in 2020, but only for some of its phones.

Today’s news from Samsung is also not the same commitment that Google and Qualcomm made in December to ensure that phones with new Qualcomm chips will support both four Android OS updates and four years of security updates. While similar in overall goals, that announcement only applied to devices starting with this year’s Snapdragon 888 and on, whereas Samsung is retroactively making its commitment for devices as old as 2019.

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