Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Update: 5 Things to Know Now

Google’s Android 5.1 update continues to pick up steam and it appears headed for top devices like the HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S6 and more. With Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 release details heating up, we want to take a look at what Samsung smartphone and tablet users need to know about the Android 5.1 update as we push into May.

In November, Google released its Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system to Nexus users. In the weeks that followed, Android manufacturers like HTC and Samsung started pushing out their own Android 5.0 Lollipop updates. While all of the updates are based on Lollipop, we’ve seen Samsung push out Android 5.0, Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2. Google released its Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2 bug fix updates in the weeks after the initial release to fix some of the more glaring problems.


Verizon Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop Update Review - 1

Last month, Google released another Lollipop update, Android 5.1. Like Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2, Android 5.1 comes with bug fixes that tackle some of the biggest Lollipop problems plaguing the operating system. Unlike those two updates, the Android 5.1 Lollipop update brings some feature enhancements including tweaks to quick settings. It’s a sizable update and one that non-Nexus users have their eyes on.

Android 5.1 is heading to non-Nexus devices, this we know for sure. And while Samsung hasn’t announced anything just yet, we’re fairly certain that Android 5.1 will, at some point, start rolling out for Galaxy-branded devices.


In April, we saw a number of Samsung Android 5.1 details emerge and today, with the month coming to a close, we want to take a look at what we think Galaxy smartphone and tablet users need to know about the Android 5.1 update and release as we push into the month of May.


Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 5.1 Update Is Imminent

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Android 5.1 Lollipop update is imminent.

According to SamMobile, Google and Samsung are prepping a Samsung Galaxy S4 Android 5.1 update for the Google Play Edition version of the device. The Galaxy S4 GPE was one of the first GPE devices to receive Android 5.0 Lollipop but it appears that it will be one of the last to get the Android 5.1 Lollipop update. Google updated its other GPE devices several weeks ago.


The publication, which has been accurate with inside information in the past, claims that the Galaxy S4 Android 5.1 builds for the Google Play Edition model are ready to go. What this means is that Google could start rolling the update out at any time. A specific release date for Samsung’s first Android 5.1 Lollipop update isn’t known and Google may not announce it ahead of time. The update is expected to mirror the Android 5.1 updates for Google’s other GPE and Nexus devices.


It’s not clear if this will be the last update for the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition. With the device turning two years old, it’s possible that this will be the last major update for the aging Galaxy S4 variant. Google tends to keep devices updated for 18-24 months before kicking them to the curb.

Galaxy Android 5.1 Update All but Confirmed for These Devices

SamMobile also claims that Samsung is working on a Galaxy S6 Android 5.1 Lollipop update, a Galaxy S6 Edge Android 5.1 update, and an Android 5.1 update for the Galaxy Grand Prime. Samsung itself hasn’t confirmed its plans but again, the source has been credible with inside information in the past so the details are believable.

No One Else, Yet

As we press on into May, that’s all we have. An Android 5.1 update for the Galaxy S4 GPE, an update for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, and an update for the Galaxy Grand Prime. Still, it’s important to remember that another, less credible source, has stated that Samsung may opt to bring Android 5.1 to older devices.


A few weeks ago, a user on Reddit outlined potential plans for Samsung’s Galaxy Android 5.1 Lollipop update. The user cited information gleaned from a Samsung representative in Europe and claimed that Samsung could use Android 5.1 Lollipop to deliver new TouchWiz features to older devices.


Samsung’s well known for bringing new TouchWiz features to older devices and it’s possible that Android 5.1 will be the update that brings new features to former flagships like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S5. Nothing is set in stone. Yet.

Samsung Android 5.1 Release Date

One lucky T-Mobile Galaxy S6 Edge user appears to have gotten the Android 5.1 Lollipop on board his device. The update is Android 5.1.1, not Android 5.1, which is a bit strange given that Android 5.1.1 hasn’t even landed for Google’s top Nexus devices. We’re a bit skeptical at this point but there’s video evidence to back up his claims.

It’s still not clear when Samsung plans to release the Android 5.1 update for its older Galaxy smartphones and tablets. If the rumors are true, Samsung just entered testing. Testing is unpredictable and it can take several months to complete behind the scenes. Android 5.1 isn’t as big as Android 5.0 but it’s not small.



Furthermore, it’s clear that Samsung is content to let its Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop roll outs continue on for devices like the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy Note Edge. While we could certainly see a crossing of the streams later this year, the company doesn’t appear to be in any kind of a hurry to replace these two pieces of software.

Android 5.1 Features

Google’s Android 5.1 update comes with bug fixes and some feature tweaks and it’s possible that Samsung will use Android 5.1 to fix lingering problems and add some of the same features. To get a feel for the differences between Android 5.0 and Android 5.1, take a look at the slideshow below.

Android 5.1 vs Android 5.0 Lollipop Walkthrough: What’s New

Quick Settings

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Quick Settings

Our favorite new change has to do with Quick Settings. For those that don't even know, pulling down the notification bar twice (or once with two fingers) brings up a Quick Settings menu. From here you have access to screen brightness, and toggles for WiFi, Bluetooth, a flashlight, airplane mode, auto rotate settings, location, screen casting, and more quick toggles appear as you use them. Like hotspot control, and more.

In all of our slides Android 5.1 is on the left, with the older Android 5.0 screenshot on the right.

With Android 5.1 Lollipop Google made quick settings even better. Once you swipe down twice or once with two fingers, you'll have easier access to controlling WiFi or Bluetooth and connections. Rather than fumble through settings, simply tap the little drop down arrow, and you can connect to WiFi or Bluetooth devices all from here. This is a small but very convenient change, and one of our favorites.

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Now, thanks to SamMobile, we know of at least one feature that Samsung will bring to the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge with Android 5.1. If their intel is correct, Samsung will bring Guest Mode to the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Guest Mode, for those that don’t know, allows Android users to use separate profiles.

While it’s not a huge addition, it means that Android 5.1 should be more than just a bug fix update for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.