Samsung is extending the time its Galaxy smartphones and tablets will get security updates, with the longer period affecting both new devices and those launched as far back as 2019. The decision, announced today, should mean more security over the typically longer times that users now keep their smartphones, not to mention addresses one of the lingering complaints about Android devices.
Google releases regular security patches and upgrades for Android, but most of the time users are reliant on whoever made their phone or tablet to actually package up a version to suit their particular device. It means that some even recently-announced hardware can still be left without the latest security updates, potentially leaving users vulnerable to hacks and malware.
Today, Samsung said that its Galaxy Z, S, Note, A, XCover, and Tab series of devices – effectively covering the vast majority of its Android smartphones and tablets – since 2019 will get regular security updates pushed out “for a minimum of four years” after they were initially released. A full list of the devices covered with the newly-extended policy can be found at the end of this post.
“Mobile devices play such an important role in our lives, it’s only natural that we want to hold onto them longer,” Seungwon Shin, VP & Head of Security Team at Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, explained today in a statement. “That’s why, thanks to the latest technology advancements, we’re committing to securing Galaxy devices for even longer, so that everything that should be kept protected stays protected.”
It means over 130 models will now have extended security patch coverage, Samsung claims. That includes flagships like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Z Flip 5G foldable phones, recent high-end models such as the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Galaxy S21+, and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. However it also covers more affordable devices, such as the Galaxy A10e, A11, and A51.
Some of those devices will get monthly security updates, while others – typically older phones – will continue to get quarterly updates. Exact timescales will vary by model, location, and carrier too.
As phones have trended to more expensive, research has indicated that users tend to keep hold of them for longer than they once did. Meanwhile, Samsung’s policy change is arguably even more important for tablet users – it covers models like the Galaxy Tab Active Pro, the Tab Active3, and the Tab A 8.4 (2020) – which are even more infrequently upgraded.
Eligible Galaxy Devices:
Galaxy Foldable devices: Fold, Z Fold2 5G, Z Flip, Z Flip 5G
Galaxy S series: S10, S10+, S10e, S10 5G, S10 Lite, S20 5G, S20+ 5G, S20 Ultra 5G, S20 FE 5G, S21 5G, S21+ 5G, S21 Ultra 5G
Galaxy Note series: Note10, Note10+, Note10+ 5G, Note20 5G, Note20 Ultra 5G
Galaxy A series: A10e, A20, A50, A11, A21, A51, A51 5G, A71 5G
Galaxy XCover series: XCover FieldPro, XCover Pro
Galaxy Tab series: Tab Active Pro, Tab Active3, Tab A 8 (2019), Tab A with S Pen, Tab A 8.4 (2020), Tab A7, Tab S5e, Tab S6, Tab S6 5G, Tab S6 Lite, Tab S7, Tab S7+