Pixel phones are usually the first to get , and that’s one of the biggest perks separating Google’s phones from other Android devices. Your phone may be eligible for upgrades over the next three to five years, but that depends on which model you own.
Android version updates usually bring new features and design tweaks to your phone. , for example, will introduce more Material You customization when it launches this fall. It’ll also have better privacy and security features and improved compatibility with devices such as laptops and speakers.
Google guarantees three years of software and five years of security updates for the and from when those devices became available in the US Google Play Store. That includes three major Android version updates, security updates until October 2026 and “feature drops,” which are smaller software updates introducing extras such as vaccine card shortcuts and air quality alerts. If you own a , , or , you can expect to get updates for at least three years from the date each phone launched in the US Google Store.
The Pixel 3 and earlier are no longer eligible for Android version and security updates. Google still includes the Pixel 3A and 3A XL on its list of supported phones even though those devices are only guaranteed to receive updates until May 2022. CNET has contacted Google for clarity and will update this story accordingly.
Take a look at the table below to see how long your device will be compatible with new Android software updates.
Google Pixel Software Updates
|Phone||Android Version Updates||Security Updates|
|Pixel 6 and 6 Pro||Guaranteed until at least October 2024||Guaranteed until at least October 2026|
|Pixel 5A 5G||Guaranteed until at least August 2024||Guaranteed until at least August 2024|
|Pixel 5||Guaranteed until at least October 2023||Guaranteed until at least October 2023|
|Pixel 4A 5G||Guaranteed until at least November 2023||Guaranteed until at least November 2023|
|Pixel 4A||Guaranteed until at least August 2023||Guaranteed until at least August 2023|
|Pixel 4 and 4 XL||Guaranteed until at least October 2022||Guaranteed until at least October 2022|
|Pixel 3A and 3A XL||Guaranteed until at least May 2022||Guaranteed until at least May 2022|
Android 13’s new features
will introduce a bunch of new features that aim to improve security, customization and connectivity with other devices. Some highlights include:
- End-to-end encryption for group conversations to its Rich Communication Services messages app
- Emergency SOS calls for Wear OS smartwatches
- An expansion of Material You that includes premade color sets and themed icons for your home screen apps
- The ability to automatically erase your phone’s copy-and-paste clipboard after a short period of time
- Fast pairing for setting up new devices
Android 13 is currently still in beta, and we’re expecting to see the final version arrive in the fall alongside the . Check out our to learn more about what’s coming in the update.
Pixel feature drops explained
Pixel feature drops are exactly what the name implies: regular updates that bring new features to Pixel phones. While new Android versions, such as Android 13, bring sweeping changes to the entire operating system, feature drops are smaller updates focused on specific additions. Google launched its first feature drop in December 2019, and new releases typically debut in December, March and June.
Google announced its on June 6, and it’s available for the Pixel 4 and later. The update includes a new tool for creating music videos, easy access to your COVID-19 vaccine card from the home screen, new wallpapers for Pride Month, conversation mode for reducing background noise in the Pixel’s Sound Amplifier accessibility mode and more information on the lock screen, such as a Nest doorbell video feed.
How to see your Pixel’s Android version and check for updates
You can check your phone’s Android version and see if updates are available by opening the Settings menu, tapping System and selecting System update.
While Google says most security patches will happen automatically, you can check for security updates manually by launching the Settings app, choosing Security and selecting the Google Security checkup tool.
You can also see if a Google Play system update is available from this menu by choosing the Google Play system update option in the Security section.
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