In this guide we’ll explain how to check for updates on Android smartphones and tablets. When a new version of Android comes out it doesn’t arrive for everyone at the same time. Instead, it slowly hits devices over the period of a few days, or even weeks. Here’s how to get the latest software faster by manually checking for updates.
If you’re like most users, you simply accept an update once you see it in the notification bar. However, they roll out in stages. Starting with 1-25% of devices first, then 50%, and gradually increase until everyone gets the update.
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You don’t have to wait for that notification to get the latest Android 8.0 Oreo. Simply use the “check for updates” button that’s hiding in settings. And while this button is nothing new, the way it works recently changed and now it actually helps you get new software quicker.
Right now, most users are waiting for the highly anticipated update to Android 8.0 Oreo. Delivering tons of new features, improved security, better battery life, and picture-in-picture-mode. Google’s latest software is exciting, but in between each major update, we get monthly security patches, bug fixes, and other important software changes.
Whether you’re having problems with your phone, or just want to get the latest update as fast as possible, here’s how to check yourself.
How to Check for Updates on Android
Every phone or tablet has a button that will manually check for new software, it’s just hiding in settings. Once you know where to look, you’re all set. Keep in mind that the location is different depending on what device you have, but it’s always in one of two spots.
- Open the Settings app or tap the gear-shaped settings button in the notification bar
- Scroll to the bottom and select About Phone or System
- Now, find System Updates or Software Updates
- Tap Check for Update
Again, it’s worth noting that some manufacturers do things a little different. Samsung, for example, has a dedicated option under settings labeled “Software Update” so you don’t need to go into About Phone or the system settings at all. Our screenshots above show Samsung’s settings menu, while the image below is stock Android on the Google Pixel.
Once you press the button to check for updates, your phone will connect to Google’s servers and see if anything is available. Or, it will check with Samsung, Verizon, LG, T-Mobile or whatever manufacturer or carrier you use.
In here, you’ll see if an update is available, or if you’re running the latest software. This screen also details when the last time you checked, for your reference. If you haven’t checked in a few months, go ahead and check now.
Whatever phone you have or carrier you use, it’s all nearly the same. Either way, there is a big check for updates button that will see if you’re running the latest software or not. If new software is available, it will instantly notify you and either start downloading automatically, or ask if you’d like to download the update. Go ahead and hit accept or “download and install” to get started.
Whether there’s an update or not you should see some sort of information. Either an option to download it or a pop-up confirming you’re on the latest software and nothing is available.
Before we go, it’s worth noting that the way the “check for updates” button works changed in late 2017. Today, when you hit the check for updates button the system recognizes that this is a user-initiated check. If new software is available, you’ll get it almost instantly.
In the past, during a slow software update rollout hitting the check for updates button didn’t do anything. If your device wasn’t next in line in the percentage-based rollout, where it goes out to a certain amount of users at a time, nothing would happen. Now, it bypasses any limitations or staged releases and gives you any software that’s available for your device.
Basically, manually checking for updates actually works on Android now, and will help you get the latest software ahead of anyone else. As long as one is available, of course.
Now that you know, keep an eye on the latest news, and get new software as soon as you can.