Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
The Google Pixel 6 series made its debut last week to plenty of fanfare from fans and critics alike. However, one specific mention on its feature list piqued our interest. According to Google, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will get three OS updates, stretching to Android 15 when it debuts in 2024. In total, the phones will receive five years of security updates, too. But is this long enough?
It’s a question we posed to readers in a recent poll, and the results are now in.
Is the Google Pixel 6’s update promise long enough?
This poll saw more than 1,800 votes after it went live on October 23. There were two options to choose from, either “Yes, it’s enough” or “No, it should be longer.” Understandably, given the results of previous polls, the latter garnered the majority of the support.
More than three-quarters (75.3%) of respondents believe three years of OS updates and five years of security patches just aren’t long enough, especially for a company like Google. Around 24% of readers believe Google’s promise is sufficient.
Our verdict: Google Pixel 6 hands-on | Pixel 6 Pro review
Those arguing that Google’s support period is too brief have rational reasons. For starters, as the caretaker of Android, you’d expect Google to announce extended support for the OS on its latest and greatest flagship, in a similar manner to Apple’s iOS support. That said, this remains the best you can get on Android, with Samsung only promising four years of updates. Despite this, voters feel that Google’s setting the bar too low. But do those in the comments agree?
- JL: Don’t know about anyone else here, but my Pixel 4XL is now on its third OS (10-12) with at least one more coming next year. my phone gets faster with every OS update. This seems to be the opposite case in my experience with iOS. Apple’s stuff became laggier and laggier with every update. My Pixel is getting better and faster. Android 12 absolutely sings on my Pixel 4XL. It feels much snappier and better compared to Android 10 and 11. Although Apple phones get updates, these updates in my experience have always degraded the experience. I don’t feel like this subject gets the attention it deserves. Apple gets all the accolades but without any asterisks.
- Kira: Google should at the least offer 4 years of major OS updates to one-up other Android OEMs who are now promising 3 years of the same. This is even more important(and viable) since Google now has its own custom SoC, that will enable it to support Pixel devices for longer durations.
- Daniel: Personally I’m shocked to read this. I was convinced one of the main reasons for Google to manufacture their own chips was extending software support. Sure they’re promising 5 years of security. But let’s be honest: the average consumer doesn’t care about security patches, only about Android versions.
- Jetscreamer: There is no point in Google designing a custom, in-house SoC, if they won’t even support it for the long term. The main argument over OS upgrades for years was the Qualcomm excuse. So what is your excuse now Google?
- thereasoner: I think people aren’t seeing the big picture here. First, Google said “at least” 3 OS and 5 years security. Remember the OG Pixel wasn’t supposed to get Android 10 but Google updated it anyway, because important features the OG Pixel could take advantage of made it worthwhile. In this case Mainline and Feature Drops. The same could be true for the Pixel 6 and Android 16, but it’s obviously too early to tell. Second, Google has been actively separating both security updates and new features from the OS version since Android 10. Both Mainline for security and Feature Drops offer updates seamlessly and separately from the OS. As a result, the OS version is much less important for Android now than it is for Apple’s iOS, where OS updates are absolutely necessary for things that Android can get without them. Bottom line, if Android 16 has important features that the Pixel 6 can run then it will likely get this 4th OS upgrade, just like the OG Pixel got an extra and unexpected OS version update. Google just isn’t in the habit of providing an OS upgrade minus the features, much less one that hurts performance, like Apple does. Apple can get away with doing that because most of their users simply don’t know any better. Google would get absolutely roasted by their tech-savvy users for doing the same.
That’s it for this poll. Thanks for voting and commenting. Have any additional thoughts? Be sure to drop them in the comments below.