Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Update: What We Know So Far

Google’s Android 5.1 Lollipop update isn’t limited to its Nexus smartphones and tablets and there’s a good chance that it will be making it to Samsung’s stable of Galaxy smartphones in the future. Today we take a look at what we know, so far, about the Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Lollipop update and its rumored release.

In December, Samsung started rolling out its version Android 5.0 Lollipop. While the company’s initial roll out started with Android 5.0 and the Galaxy S5, we’ve seen Samsung roll out Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop to a number of devices including the Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note Edge. Google released the Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop updates a few weeks after the first Android 5.0 push.

Last month, Google started rolling out a brand new Android 5.0 Lollipop update called Android 5.1 Lollipop. Android 5.1 is a massive bug fix update that also introduces some small but important features.

Verizon Galaxy Note 4 Lollipop Update Review - 4

With the Android 5.1 update now hitting non-Nexus devices and Lollipop problems plaguing some users, Samsung Galaxy smartphone and tablet users are starting to gain an interest in Google’s new Android 5.1 update. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen a number of Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Lollipop update details emerge and today, we want to take a look at what we know so far about the Galaxy Android 5.1 Lollipop release.

Samsung Hasn’t Confirmed Anything

The first thing that we feel the need to point out is that Samsung still hasn’t confirmed Android 5.1 Lollipop updates for its Galaxy smartphones and tablets. The company remains focused on delivering Android 5.0.1 Lollipop and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop updates to many of its current devices including the Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note Edge.

Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Update Rumored

Several weeks ago, we heard that Samsung hadn’t begun to develop Android 5.1 Lollipop behind the scenes. At the time, we noted that this didn’t mean that the company wasn’t going to offer Android 5.1 to its Galaxy devices only that it hadn’t started testing the software in its labs. And now, it looks like work on the Galaxy Android 5.1 Lollipop update has begun.

According to SamMobile, 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. The publication is a credible source for inside information about Samsung Galaxy Android updates so you can take these rumors without a grain of salt.

See notifications and more on the Galaxy S6 Edge display.

So far, these are the only updates that are rumored. That doesn’t mean that these will be the only devices that get Android 5.1 Lollipop. It just means that these are the three that Samsung currently has in for testing. We will almost certainly see more rumors pop up as we push deeper into the year as Samsung starts to finish up its testing.

Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Release Date MIA

The Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 release date for the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy Grand Prime, and other devices remains out of reach, at least for the moment.

It’s important to note that Samsung Android updates, like all Android updates, take time. The testing process is also extremely unpredictable which means that it could be days, weeks or even months before Samsung’s able to get its first update out. If it even gets an Android 5.1 update out. There’s always a chance that it will pass it up in favor of something else if it doesn’t perform well in testing.

At this point, with testing just now starting up for Galaxy devices, we probably won’t see the updates start rolling out anytime soon. It does look like the flagship Galaxy S6 models (and the Galaxy Grand Prime) will be first to the Android 5.1 Lollipop update though.

Android 5.1 Lollipop Features

We don’t have any official information and we haven’t seen any Galaxy Android updates leak. That said, we do have a read on what we could see from Samsung and its Android 5.1 Lollipop updates for the Galaxy S6 and others.

Several 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.

He claimed that Samsung could use Android 5.1 Lollipop to deliver new TouchWiz features to older devices.  Samsung is 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 older devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S5.


The curved edges of the Galaxy S6 Edge look great.

The curved edges of the Galaxy S6 Edge look great.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 comes with less bloatware and it also allows users to uninstall Samsung applications to free up space and perhaps, improve performance. You can learn more about the Galaxy S6 software from our initial Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge impressions.

We don’t have Android 5.1 for Galaxy phones in our hands but what we do have is Android 5.1 for Nexus devices. The slideshow below outlines some of the changes that Google delivered to its Nexus smartphones and tablets and it’s entirely possible that some of these tweaks will appear for Galaxy users.

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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At the very least, we’d expect Samsung’s Android 5.1 updates to include a number of bug fixes for Android 5.0 Lollipop problems.

Android 5.1 Problems

Tons of Samsung Galaxy smartphone users are complaining about Android 5.0 Lollipop problems. And while we’ve seen Samsung and its carrier partners roll out bug fixes, users continue to hope for an Android 5.1 Lollipop update to fix their problems. We hate to break it to you but the Android 5.1 Lollipop update, in its current form, has some problems of its own.

We recently detailed many of the Android 5.1 Lollipop problems plaguing Nexus users. They range from random reboots and app crashes to Wi-Fi issues and problems with Bluetooth. These are identical to the problems found on Samsung’s Galaxy Android 5.0, Android 5.0.1, Android 5.0.2 Lollipop updates.

Point is, while Android 5.1 for Galaxy phones will almost certainly bring fixes, there’s a good chance that whatever Samsung rolls out, be it Android 5.1 or Android 5.1.1 or something else, will come with problems of its own. Keep that in mind before putting all of your eggs into one basket.