A firmware update on Android is essentially the same thing as an iOS update on an iPhone. It updates the Operating System of your Android device, improving usability and the overall UI and UX experience for the Android user.
Because your phone has to reset itself and cannot be used for the duration of a firmware update on Android, many people wonder how long exactly one of these updates will take, since depending on the length of time, they may have to set aside a specific time to carry out the update.
A firmware update on Android takes, on average, between 20-30 minutes. It can take longer at times, depending on the size of the update, however, and may stretch to a couple hours at most. Once the firmware update has completed, you can use your phone again as normal.
If you have any further questions, or would like more information on the subject, see our FAQs below.
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What is a firmware update on Android?
Androids are designed to offer their users the openness, accessibility, and customizable autonomy which come with computers. In other words, you can customize just about every inch of an Android phone, rather than relying on using only what the manufacturers say you can (as you’d have to with an Apple iPhone).
When we refer to the firmware of an Android phone or tablet, we’re referring to a Read-Only Memory based written software which includes the entire Android Operating System of your device. In other words, when you get a notification telling you that there is a firmware update ready to be downloaded and installed on your Android device, this is the same as telling you there’s a system update, or operating system update, waiting to be applied.
New firmware updates your Android’s basic operations – usually fixing reported bugs and adding new, innovative UX and UI design features – without requiring any change be made to the hardware itself. A firmware update is how you keep your older Android phone up to date with the user experience of newer units.
To learn how long a firmware update takes on Android, read our full article above.
Do I need to do the firmware update on Android?
You don’t need to do the firmware update on Android. If you’re happy with how your smartphone or tablet is running, and don’t feel you need for it to be updated, then you can certainly go ahead and ignore the firmware update notification. Just note that it will keep popping up every few days, usually when you’re right in the middle of doing something, to ask you to schedule the update. Nevertheless, you can keep hitting ‘Remind me later’ for as long as you like.
Can I use my phone whilst the firmware is updating on Android?
No, you cannot use your phone whilst the firmware update is running on an Android phone. It is recommended that you ensure your phone is plugged into its charger in the wall socket, and left alone until the firmware update is complete. Once the firmware update has finished downloading and installing, your phone will reset and reboot for you to continue using as normal, though you’ll likely notice a few features look or interact differently due to the firmware update.
Is the firmware update on Android worth it?
Everytime software developers for Android come out with a new Operating System update, they release it as a patch or firmware update which our Android devices automatically detect and download ready to be installed.
If you lag behind on the update currently installed on your phone, then when you finally do get round to updating your firmware, you’ll find there’s another update waiting for you on the other end. The question of whether getting whichever firmware update or new OS version your phone’s asking you to is a tough one to answer.
Firmware updates generally tackle bug issues reported by users relating to the current OS, whilst also making the overall UX and UI more accessible and enjoyable to engage with. Thus, on one hand you could argue that the firmware update is worth it.
On the other hand, however, if your Android device is operating smoothly as is, then you may feel there’s no need to get the new firmware update. If this is the case, you’ll not really notice any drawback to sticking with what works for you.