How to Update Your Smartphone

You don't have to wait for a prompt to discover available updates...

How to Update Your Smartphone

Sometimes your phone might seem overly complicated, but one of the easiest things to learn is how to update your smartphone. While your carrier might force updates now and then, you can also manually check and update your phone yourself. It’s vital to download new updates to improve performance and security.

Things to Consider Before Updating

Before you learn how to update your smartphone, there are a few things you might want to consider. First, make sure your phone is fully charged or plugged in. Updates can drain battery life quickly and if your phone shuts down in the middle of updating, it could cause your phone not to operate correctly.

Most updates take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, so plan accordingly. During updates, you can’t do anything on your phone, including making calls. A few phone varieties, such as Google Pixel, update in the background and allow you to use your phone normally throughout the update process.

Finally, smartphone updates may be large files. Some mobile carriers don’t count system updates against your data plan, but others might. If you’re not sure, only perform your updates over Wi-Fi to avoid any possible data overage charges.

Updating Your Android Phone

In most cases, you’ll be notified when an update is available and you won’t have to do anything except follow the instructions on your screen. This is why learning how to update your smartphone is easier than many other smartphone tasks.

If you want to check for updates manually on your Android phone, open the Settings app and tap About Phone near the bottom of the list. Select System Updates. Wait for the phone to search for updates and if one is available, follow any on-screen instructions. Please note that exact steps may vary slightly depending on your Android model.

You may see two types of errors during the update – failed update and/or not enough space available. For a failed update, restart your phone and try again. The problem could just be a bad connection.

If your phone doesn’t have enough space available, clear some space on your phone and try again. This might be a great time to move pictures to the cloud or a backup drive and clean off any apps you no longer use.

Related Read: How to Get a Better Android Battery Life

Updating Your iPhone

Apple recommends backing up your iPhone before updating it. While learning how to update your smartphone is still simple on an iPhone, there is a small chance of an update not installing correctly. This could corrupt data on your phone. Doing a full backup of any important apps and files is a good precaution to take.

You should see a notification when new updates are available. When an update is available, tap Settings > General > Software Update. Tap Download and Install. You can schedule the installation for a later time if it’s more convenient for you.

If your device won’t update using Wi-Fi or a data connection, connect your device to your computer. Open iTunes and choose your iPhone. Select Summary and Check for Update.

Related Read: How to Get a Better iPhone Battery Life

Reasons You’re Not Seeing Updates

Don’t worry if your friends or family receive updates at different times than you do. If you have different phones or carriers, you may not receive the same updates at the same time.

Most iPhones should update at the same time, but since Android devices are made by different manufacturers, updates are released sometimes weeks or months apart. Google’s Nexus phones get updates immediately. According to Business Insider, Motorola usually pushes out updates sooner than other manufacturers. LG and HTC are a close second and a third.

Some manufacturers may not release updates for older models. To get the latest system updates or Android OS, you may need to upgrade to a new device.


Contribution by Crystal Crowder

About the Author

Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.

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