Samsung Galaxy Android 8.1 Update: 5 Things to Know

Samsung’s currently rolling Android 8.0 Oreo out to Galaxy devices, but the company will release Android 8.1 Oreo in August.

As we push into the summer, Samsung’s Android 8.0 Oreo/Experience 9.0 UI roll out is picking up steam. The Galaxy S8 Oreo update’s widely available, the Galaxy Note 8 Oreo update’s making progress, and the Galaxy S7 Oreo update is finally pushing out to users in the United States and regions around the world.

Samsung’s promised a steady stream of Android 8.0 Oreo updates throughout 2018 and those of who haven’t gotten bumped up from Android Nougat should be on the lookout for the upgrade as we press on into the year.

The company’s Oreo update is currently based on Google’s Android 8.0 software and includes its own Experience 9.0 user interface. That will change in August.

Last year Google released a newer version of Android Oreo dubbed Android 8.1. Android 8.1 is still the most up-to-date version of the operating system and companies like OnePlus have pushed it out to their devices.

Samsung’s finally confirmed its first batch of Android 8.1 updates and they’ll arrive in August. These updates will likely be followed by a much wider roll out in the weeks ahead.

Today we want to help answer some of those questions as we outline what we know, and what we think we know, about a potential Samsung Galaxy Android 8.1 Oreo update.

Android 8.1 Oreo Update

Android 8.1 Oreo was first released for Nexus and Pixel devices in December, 2017. Since then, Google’s released several new Android 8.1 builds with additional security patches and bug fixes.

The Android 8.1 update is a maintenance release, but it comes with some additional features (like speed labels for open Wi-Fi networks), some of which could come to Galaxy phones down the road. Either in new Android 8.0 builds or in an Android 8.1 update.

For more on Android 8.1 and its changes, take a look at our walkthrough.

Samsung Galaxy Android 8.1 Update

After a long wait, Samsung’s finally confirmed plans to release Android 8.1 and it’ll arrive alongside upgrades to Samsung’s Experience UI.

The first device running Samsung’s version of Android 8.1 is the Galaxy Tab S4. The Galaxy Tab S4 will also utilize Samsung’s new Experience 9.5 user interface.

The Galaxy Tab S4 won’t be the only device Samsung upgrades to Android 8.1. Samsung’s new budget Galaxy Tab A 10.5 will also run Android 8.1 out of the box.

According to Galaxy Club, Samsung is also testing the Android 8.1 Oreo update on the Galaxy Note 9. The update’s shown up in a benchmark for the United States-bound model known as the SM-N960U.

Official Galaxy Tab S4 firmware has leaked out and its revealed potential features coming to the Galaxy Note 9 with Android 8.1. These features are related to the Galaxy Note 9’s S Pen and include:

  • Control music with the S Pen.
  • Use the S Pen as a remote camera shutter.
  • Remotely unlock your device if the S Pen was removed from the device and then the device locks.
  • You will be able to press the S Pen button to do more in a range of apps.
  • Press and hold the Pen button to open any app or S Pen feature.
  • Set up single and double press Pen actions.

Samsung’s confirmed plans to launch the Galaxy Note 9 on August 9th. And with Android 8.1 now confirmed, we now know it won’t run Google’s new Android Pie operating system out of the box.

It looks like the company is planning to launch Android 8.1 on its new Samsung Go smartphone.

The device has been certified at the Wi-Fi Alliance running Android 8.1. This certification is a necessary step ahead of launch and could mean that a launch is imminent. We’ve also seen the Samsung Go’s Android 8.1 firmware leak ahead of Samsung’s upcoming announcements.

It also looks like Samsung is testing Android 8.1 on the Galaxy J7 (2017). The update’s shown up in benchmarks at GFXBench. Reports also point to a release on more obscure devices like the Galaxy J7 Neo, Galaxy J7 Nxt and Galaxy J7 Core.

To recap, here are the devices that should receive Android 8.1 Oreo in the future. We could see additional devices added to the list in the near future:

  • Galaxy Note 9
  • Samsung Go
  • Galaxy Tab A 2018
  • Galaxy Tab S4
  • Galaxy J7 (2017)
  • Galaxy J7 Neo
  • Galaxy J7 Nxt
  • Galaxy J7 Core

Samsung Android 8.1 Release Date

The Galaxy Tab S4 arrives on August 10th in the United States and Galaxy Tab A 10.5 arrives on August 24th. We could see some firmware leaks emerge ahead of time, but that’s when Samsung’s version of Android 8.1 will officially arrive.


As for the Galaxy Note 9, all signs currently point to a release on August 24th, just ahead of Apple’s rumored iPhone 11 release date in September.

Some Devices Could Stay on Android 8.0

While the Galaxy Note 8 launched with Android 7.1.1 Nougat on board, many popular Galaxy devices stayed on Android 7.0 Nougat.

After the Galaxy Note 8 release, Samsung upgraded devices like the Galaxy Tab A 9.7 and Galaxy J5 (2016) with Android 7.1.1 Nougat. However, these devices moved up from Android Marshmallow. Devices that were already running Android Nougat stayed on Android 7.0.

If Samsung follows the same protocol this year with Android 8.0 and Android 8.1, we could see devices move up from Android Nougat to Android 8.1 later in the year (the Galaxy J series is one example) and devices like the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 stay behind on Android 8.0.

Samsung probably won’t say much about those plans so keep an eye out for rumors and additional Android 8.1 benchmarks as the year goes on.

How to Get Android 8.1 Oreo Right Now

If you aren’t planning to buy one of these newer devices you’ll still be able to get Android 8.1 Oreo on board your device.

There are already ways to get Android 8.1 on Galaxy phones right now and we should see more unofficial Oreo ROMs emerge throughout the year.

If you get sick of waiting around for Samsung, and again it could be months before you officially get Android 8.1, you’ll need to take advantage of unofficial software.

4 Reasons Not to Install Galaxy Note 8 Oreo & 10 Reasons You Should

Install Android Oreo to Improve Your Note 8's Security

Install Android Oreo to Improve Your Note 8's Security

If you value your security you should probably install the Galaxy Note 8 Oreo update soon after it arrives for your device. 

Samsung continues to release important security patches each month and the Galaxy Note 8's Android 8.0 Oreo update brings the latest patches from Google and Samsung. 

The first batch of Galaxy Note 8 Oreo updates delivered Samsung's March security update, but newer releases to come with an updated list of security patches. Samsung recently started rolling out its June security update.

If you're curious about the current version, you can read more about the security patches over on Samsung's website

If you failed to download an older security update from another month, you'll get those patches when you go to install Oreo on your Galaxy Note 8 for the first time. Each update comes with important patches to protect you and your phone from harm.  

Samsung's version of Android 8.0 also comes with security improvements to Samsung Pay and enhancements to Find My Mobile.

The changes to Find My Mobile include the ability to remotely back up Secure Folder to Samsung Cloud if you lose your Galaxy Note 8 and a way to lock up Samsung Pass using Find My Mobile.

Android Oreo comes with enhancements to the device's Biometrics. Features that use biometrics like your face, fingerprints, and irises are only available when you use a secure screen lock type like a pattern, PIN, or password.

If you decide to switch to a non-secure screen lock type (Swipe or None), a Galaxy Note 8 running Android Oreo will automatically suspend biometric authentication for unlocking and for verification in apps like Samsung Pay and Samsung Pass. 

Android 8.0 Oreo also enhances the Galaxy Note 8's biometrics with additional security features. 

Features that use the Galaxy Note 8's biometrics (face, fingerprints, and irises) are now only available when you use a secure screen lock like pattern, PIN, or password.

On Oreo when you switch to a non-secure screen lock type (Swipe or None), biometric authentication is suspended for unlocking and for verification in popular apps like Samsung Pay and Samsung Pass.

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