What is a firmware
Google frequently releases new Android Operating system updates, and these updates are called “Firmware”. Firmware updates are very different from Apps updates, as firmware must be compatible with your mobile device’s hardware and in contrast to Apps updates, firmware have to be reviewed by device’s manufacturer and they are not available on Google Play Store.
These updates are designed to automatically come to your device Over-the-Air ( OTA), through a WIFI connection. Under normal circumstances, you will receive a message alerting you of the availability of the update, then you will have to head over to the message and update Android firmware for your mobile device.
Firmware can also be defined as sets of programs and software that are installed on your mobile device’s Read Only Memory (ROM). Firmware in most cases, as in IOS, cannot be tampered with. They are designed in a manner that an ordinary mobile phone user cannot modify or customize it.
This is mainly because modifying and customization of the firmware need a bit of knowledge.
This is, however, a different scenario with the Android Operating system. The Android OS is compressed and is in a writable format known as “NAND flash memory” This means Android firmware is open to modification and customization. Different manufacturers, after receiving updates from Google, they can review and modify them.
Is there any need to update your phone?
Absolutely yes, there are many advantages for updating your Android firmware, including the following;
- The new update usually comes with an improved security
- Better connectivity
- Additional features
- Updated Android versions are mostly compatible with many latest Apps and games
- They usually improve battery life
- Lags and stutters elimination
Disadvantages can be encountered with each new update, but those cases are very rare. Some notable disadvantages that may accompany each Android update include;
- It may take considerable time to receive each new update and you cannot even be guaranteed to receive it. That means you may never taste a new update from the day you buy your mobile device, yes it’s very possible :)Unless you are a Google Pixel phone user, you are most probably to receive each new update as it comes, because when Google releases new OS versions, it just sends it to Google Pixels phones because there is no manufacturer review.
- If your device is rooted, you cannot receive OTA updates.
- Old phones, that phone you bought 7 years ago has slim chances of getting new updates, Google only sends new Android updates to that mobile device it is still to support for a year or so to come. As for old devices, you will have to manually update or turn to custom ROMs like LineageOS
Let’s take a minute to discuss point (1), the first disadvantage above;
Google Samsung launched its latest flagship on 9 August 2018 and was made available on the market on 24 August 2018, the Galaxy Note 9, but sadly, the latest Samsung comes with an 8.0/8.1 Oreo version instead of the Android Pie.
According to Google September 2018 Android OS update Distribution, about 99% of Android phones on the market don’t have Android pie yet, 19.2% use Oreo. Oreo witnessed a 4.6% increase in September, compared from August.
Nougat, Marshmallow, and Lollipop had a 1% uniform flop. Jelly Bean and KitKat also follow suit as many Android users seem to aim smartphones with later versions. Ginger Bread and Ice Cream Sandwich are constant at 0.3% and have the smallest piece of pie in the market.
The pie chart below shows the data in percentage form
As you can see, Android Pie has a very small bit of the Pie, yet it’s the latest version of Android in the market, most Android users would expect Google to avail the latest version to most Android phones, unfortunately, the situation on the ground is very different. Just hope in the near future Google is going to do something to address this issue.
There are basically, few things you must consider when you are about to update your Android firmware.
Updating Operating system takes time and your phone, during that process, may restart several times, make sure your battery is well over above 50%. For if your device’s power runs out during the process, you may damage your device. So make sure, there is enough power or you do it while charging to avoid some problems.
There are 4 ways you can update your phone, and if you have never updated your mobile device’s firmware, don’t worry, in this step-by-step guide, I am going to keep it very simple. You don’t have to be a guru in Android phones to do this, any ordinary mobile phone user can do it.
Update Android firmware automatically
This option is preferred by many, it’s safe and very simple to follow. All Android are made in such a way that they can automatically receive new updates if you have a stable internet connection.
By default, you are supposed to receive a message when an update is available, you will just have to open the update notification and tap to update to the latest OS version.
However, you may sometimes not receive the notification due to several reasons, ranging from a poor internet connection or the message can be deleted unintentionally. In that situation, you will have to check manually if there is an update.
To check if a new version was availed follow the below procedure, the procedure is almost similar with most popular manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei LG, Xiaomi etc, it may only differ where they put the option.
- Open your device’s settings
- Scroll down to “About device“.
- System updates, usually right at the top of the device screen
- See if there is an update and when the device last checked for updates
- If there is an Update, click on update
Manually update android version
There are valued reasons one may resort to manual updating of firmware.
- Your device may be rooted and no longer receives OTA updates, rooting is discouraged by many mobile phone manufacturers and if you root your mobile device, you will never receive any new OS update
- If you have a poor internet connection, you may not receive updates
Faced the above scenario? then take any one of the following three options;
a)Update using device’s manufacturer website
Through your device’s manufacturer website, you can get an update. Almost every Android phone manufacturer has a website through which it avails new OS versions ready for anyone to download and update. So given that your device’ s manufacturer has firmware for your model available on their website, it’s just a few clicks before you update your device.
You can notice that some manufacturers cannot use this method when updating firmware, but there is always a way around.
HTC Sync Manager-Developed by the HTC company, it is of great importance when it comes to firmware downloading. For HTC users, you can visit the official website to find if your model has an update available. You can perform a number of functions from the website, you can sync data from your mobile device to your PC, manage content on your device and many more
Flash Tool-This Sony flashing tool is used for Sony Xperia devices and for this tool to function, the device’s bootloader has to be unlocked. Developed by Sony Xperia, has been of great use for the past years for Developers and Sony users. It’s very similar to Samsung Odin, besides helping in updating the firmware, it can also flash stock and custom firmware
LG PC Suite-Is available on the official LG website, on the downloading option. To find out if an update is available, open the link above, click on LG-Suit and hot to use. The LG Suite has a very nice user interface. A great tool for LG phones users in backup, restore and update the firmware.
Using this tool, you can update your LG device using a UBS connection on your PC. Updating using this software is, however, not supported on all LG device.
To update your device with a USB, make sure you have;
- A desktop or laptop
- LG phone to be updated and
- USB data cable
- Using USB, connect your mobile device to PC
- On your mobile device’s screen, drag down the notification panel and tap on connection
- Choose LG Suite or MTP (Media Sync)
- Tap connect on your PC
- Tap on Try connect
- Right at the top menu click on Mobile Device>>Mobile device Software Upgrade
- Find out if there is a software update and click Start to begin the installation.
An additional feature called SmartShare is a great tool that can be utilized when sharing content between your mobile device and your PC
b)Android updato firmware download website
For Galaxy phone users, this is the biggest free firmware achieve available so far. The update from Updato are well scanned and tested before the end user, so they are very safe.
When you want to update your mobile device with Updato, in its library, make sure you enter the correct model and make of your device. If you are unsure of the make and model, go to the settings>find About device. And you will find the correct model and make of your device
After you entered the model of your device, a drop-down list of all available firmware updates will appear. You will only need to choose firmware for your device and of your region.
It is very possible that you may not find one for your region, don’t be disappointed, you can always download the firmware from other regions without any worry. Only make sure you entered the correct model and make, and you are good to go.
Now that you have chosen the firmware you want, download it to your PC. You can install it to your mobile device using Samsung Odin Software, a great tool, trusted by Samsung and been in use for a number of years now. Odin software can also be used to flash custom ROMs and custom recovery.
When you select a firmware from another region than the one you live, you can expect some minor changes. But usually, they don’t have much impact on your device, so it’s nothing much you can worry about.
It’s very simple, updating your device using this option, however, it’s only applicable to Galaxy phones. Let’s hope you are a Galaxy phone user or else you can use the other alternatives.
c)Manufacturer’s official software
You can turn to the official software that is provided by your device’s manufacturer if you cannot utilize any of the above-mentioned methods. It’s now a question of what type of mobile device you use, but, updates for popular brands like Samsung, LG, Huawei, Sony etc, can be found in a number of sites and is of great help when updating your firmware.
You just need to exercise caution when installing Updates from these site as they may harm your device.
If you are a Samsung Galaxy user, you can use Samsung Smart Switch software when updating your device’s firmware, very easy to use.
Samsung also has what is called “Kies software”, used for updating old Samsung Galaxy devices. Kies software goes an extra step by enabling you to backup, sync and manage your device’s data. Updating your mobile phone using official software is similar to using Over the air (OTA) updates. You will not be able to install custom ROMs and Stock Firmware that are not from your region
Did you find this article helpful? Did you manage to update your device firmware using the articulated methods? We would like to know by your comments below. If you have any question on this topic, feel free to come out and drop your question in the comment box below and I would be more than happy to help you out