Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop Update: 9 Things the U.S. Can Expect

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update is confirmed for arrival but it still hasn’t rolled out to anyone and it’s not clear when it will. We’ve been getting tons of questions about our opinion on the U.S. roll out and today, we want to take a look at what we expect from the U.S. Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop update and release.

Weeks ago, Samsung announced several Galaxy Android 5.0 Lollipop release details. Unsurprisingly its latest flagship, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, will be moving from Android 4.4 KitKat to Google’s brand new version of Android dubbed Android 5.0 Lollipop. The update represents the first major update for the Galaxy Note 4, a device that arrived with Android 4.4.4 KitKat on board.


Samsung’s Galaxy Android 5.0 Lollipop currently is only available for the Galaxy S5 and so far, the update’s spread to just a few Galaxy S5 models in a few different regions including the United Kingdom. The Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop update, while confirmed, is still MIA in all regions including the United States, one of the biggest markets on earth.


U.S. carriers have yet to confirm the Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop update but it’s clear that Samsung is planning a wide push to Galaxy Note 4 variants around the world. That silence is killing some Samsung Galaxy Note 4 users here in the United States, especially those dealing with Android 4.4 KitKat problems on their new Galaxy smartphone


With a Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop release confirmed but still missing, we’ve been getting a ton of questions about the update itself and the roll out. While we don’t have all of the answers, we do have some opinions on the matter and today we want to take a look at what we expect from the Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop update and release inside the United States.


These are our own predictions, based on years and years of covering Samsung’s software upgrades, and our goal is to help set some basic expectations for Galaxy Note 4 users in the U.S.

Hey Look, An Update!

When Samsung confirmed the Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update, it confirmed it for “early 2015.” That’s it, that’s all. So it should not come as a surprise to anyone that U.S. carriers, and really most carriers, have remained silent about upcoming release dates. French carrier SFR said January but that’s a French carrier and not a U.S. one.

We still don’t know if the U.S. will get the Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop update though if it’s coming for international carriers, it’s safe to assume that it will come to the U.S. as well. We’d put a lot of money on it. While we expect it to arrive in the U.S., we don’t expect anyone to announce much until the actual roll out begins.

Don’t expect U.S. carriers to outline specific plans ahead of time. The updates from Galaxy Note 4 U.S. carriers will probably arrive without much warning. Typically, U.S. carriers announce their plans on the day of the roll out. We could see some rumors point at specific dates but even those are extremely rare in the Galaxy Android update world.


If you’re new to this process note that this isn’t anything new. U.S. carriers usually don’t pass along Galaxy Android update details and Samsung USA executives have yet to take HTC’s lead. HTC execs openly discuss the testing process and release dates with their customers. And while foreign carriers in places like Australia like to keep their customers up-to-date, U.S. carriers don’t like to make any promises or take any risks.

Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop Release Soon

We don’t know when the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop release will arrive exactly though we have some idea because Samsung’s Android updates are predictable and the Android 5.0 Lollipop update has followed its usual pattern.

Samsung almost always rolls out its updates to current, high-profile flagships first before moving onto older devices. The Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S5 are the two most current flagships and therefore stand the best chance of getting Android 5.0 Lollipop in the near future. In fact, that’s exactly what rumors have suggested and there’s no reason to believe otherwise at this point.


Galaxy Note 4 release rumors put the software into the month of January, a window that falls into Samsung’s confirmed “early 2015” timeframe. The month is winding down though we still expect the Galaxy Note 4 to hit devices in the near future.


Rarely do we see the U.S. release lag months behind the international release. In fact, U.S. carriers often set the pace. So we’d expect the Note 4 Lollipop update to be near the front of the pack in terms of timing. While the delay hasn’t been explained, our best guess is that additional testing due to Samsung’s all but confirmed shift to Android 5.0.1 or Android 5.0.2 is the culprit.

We expect this update to be weeks away, not months away.

Android 5.0.1 or Android 5.0.2 Lollipop

Thanks to a leak, we know that Samsung is, at the very least, testing a Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.0.1 Lollipop update. Whispers point to a possible shift to Android 5.0.2 as well. So for the moment, we’re not entirely sure which version will roll out though we do expect Samsung to roll out an updated version of Android 5.0 to address Lollipop problems.

It makes sense for Samsung to release one or the other given that they come with tons of bug fixes. Why release a buggy version of software when you can take a little more time to release a far more stable update? There’s no rush here whatsoever and it would be a smart play from Samsung.


At this point, expect U.S. carriers to push one or the other to the Note 4 instead of the original Android 5.0 update. The only scenario where we might not see Android 5.0.1 or Android 5.0.2 is if Samsung and its partners bake the fixes into the Android 5.0 version of the Lollipop update. Either way, expect at least some of Google’s fixes to emerge for the U.S. Note 4 variants.

Staggered Release in U.S.

As far as the exact U.S. Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop release date is concerned, we’ll say this. It’s extremely hard to predict specific Samsung Android update release dates. U.S. carriers always start pushing out their updates on weekdays. The day is random and unpredictable and so is the exact time. We’ve seen Android updates push out in the morning and we’ve seen them push out in the late afternoon.

What we can also tell you is that U.S. carriers usually don’t release software updates all on the same day. It’s actually very rare that we see multiple roll outs start on the same day. Again, the release is dependent on the testing process and carriers tend not to cross the finish line at the same time. Some carriers usually lag behind the rest of the pack.


We do expect to see some U.S. Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop release dates cluster around a particular week but we’d be shocked if Samsung and its partners grouped them all together on the same day like Apple does with its iOS updates.

Look for the release to be extremely staggered and take place over the course of several weeks. The Galaxy Note 4 is only available on five carriers in the U.S. and those five carriers typically get updates out in a reasonable amount of time.

Slow Roll Outs

As for the Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop roll outs themselves, expect them to take place over a few days or so as Samsung, and its carrier partners, ensure a smooth delivery.

In the past, Samsung’s been forced to halt roll outs due to major issues. That’s one of the reasons why it, and U.S. carriers, slow roll their Android updates. So that they can identify issues before they spread to the masses.

While some of you will get the Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop update on day one, we expect others to have to wait a few days, or perhaps a week or so, for the OTA to arrive. The amount of time it takes will will depend on the carrier.

Similar to Galaxy S5 Lollipop Update

We’ve already seen the Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop update leak several times. The leaks haven’t shown off the official version (the one that Samsung will release to the public) but we doubt that the software will look too much different when testing is complete and it rolls out to the public.

The update is similar to the Galaxy S5 Lollipop update and it contains a number of big time changes including a new look for many of Samsung’s core applications. These now adhere to Samsung’s Material Design.

We also expect carriers to tack on their own enhancements for their own features. This is a large update so we’d expect the change logs to be full of carrier-specific changes. This is going to be the Galaxy Note 4’s first major update so you should expect these change logs to be fairly extensive.

Fixes for KitKat Problems

You can expect carriers to dish out fixes for Android 4.4 KitKat problems as well. We’ve spoken to several Galaxy Note 4 users and some of them are dealing with Android 4.4.4 KitKat issues.

Android 5.0 Lollipop will probably fix some of these issues but just don’t expect it to fix everything. Android updates never do. You’ll need to be extremely proactive if you want to solve every single problem and we suggest seeking out third-party fixes now ahead of the update.

Lollipop Problems

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 Android 5.0 Lollipop update will almost certainly bring problems of its own, even if Samsung does decide to roll out Android 5.0.1 or Android 5.0.2 like we expect it to.


Samsung and its carrier partners will do their best to weed out the major bugs on board but we almost always see issues slip through the cracks and make their way to the public release. Software is never perfect. Android 5.0 Lollipop won’t be perfect on the Galaxy Note 4 and we expect to see problems emerge on all five U.S. Galaxy Note 4 variants.

More Updates

Finally, expect more updates for the Galaxy Note 4. We’d expect at least one post-Android 5.0 bug fix update to cure some of the more glaring issues. And we fully expect the Galaxy Note 4 to get several more updates in the future. This is a new phone and Samsung and its U.S. carrier partners will almost certainly keep updates coming over the next two years or so.This is important to keep in mind, especially if you do stumble into Android 5.0 Lollipop problems.