Smartphones have become an integral part of most peoples’ daily lives.
They provide a variety of beneficial functions, ranging from communication to entertainment, information, GPS, and more.
All of these features are designed to run smoothly- as long as the phone is properly functioning.
To function properly, your phone requires regular updates to ensure that it’s compliant with the latest specifications and improvements.
Phone manufacturers and carriers constantly create new features and enhancements to improve existing functions on smartphones.
These get pushed to individuals’ handsets as regular software updates. A wireless update is how the manufacturers ensure that the smartphones are able to attain these new functions and upgrades in a timely and efficient manner!
Much to the ire of common consumers (i.e. us), no device is ever truly complete by the time it launches.
Smartphones tend to introduce cutting-edge capabilities that the manufacturer refines over time.
Waiting to address all those issues perfectly would mean a significantly delayed product launch!
This kind of delay would lead either to poor market perception, or cannibalizing sales by the competition.
At the same time, specific bugs and other issues become more apparent as users provide feedback on their experience.
Releasing a firmware update means squashing many of these bugs, as well as introducing certain much-awaited features.
A wireless update is a convenient way for manufacturers to distribute bug fixes and operating system updates to customers.
Wireless updates are typically released in waves, categorized by batches of phone makes and models.
The wider a manufacturer’s product catalog, the more waves they have to release! Some of the wireless updates that Android manufacturers release are listed below:
The most common wireless update for Android devices is the operating system update, as Google releases a new version of Android each year.
Phone manufacturers run a custom version of Android on their devices, then tweak it before releasing it to their customers.
Most smartphones usually get at least one OS update in their lifespan. A few will receive up to three OS updates, such as Google with their Pixel phones.
Android also releases security patches alongside newer OS versions. These are then distributed either with an OS update or a standalone wireless update.
Security patches are critical to the safety of Android devices- especially in this age of malware and other privacy invasion risks!
App developers continuously refine their products and push updates to customers.
App updates are the most frequent type of upgrade, with some apps receiving weekly iterations.
When it comes to popular software, customers provide plenty of feedback for app developers to fix their products- which then encourages developers to upgrade their services constantly.
Competition among apps also leads to more innovation and refinement, which provides a good explanation for constant app update notifications!
Database updates are the least common type of wireless updates.
Certain apps need extensive databases to function, such as the navigation app “Maps.”
In the past, you had the option to download maps to a local drive on the phone and use the app offline.
Over time, however, a country’s map would receive more details of new and existing routes and landmarks. This new information would require a new download to update the local database.
Database updates nowadays are commonly pushed as plain app updates.
Wireless updates are great for making your phone perform more effectively, but you need to treat them with caution.
Malicious individuals and programs tend to explore all opportunities at their disposal to infiltrate your phone.
Smartphones contain plenty of personal information that’s of great value to such individuals.
Therefore, bad actors strive to find new and different ways to extract this information!
One way to do so would be to disguise their malware as a wireless update.
Thus, learning to distinguish the difference between a legitimate wireless update and malware is essential.
There are certain factors that are helpful to keep in mind when it comes to determining whether the update is legitimate or has malicious intent.
When you receive a notification for a wireless update, make sure to check its credentials.
For example, if it’s an OS update, it will be signed and released by Google.
You should see full details of the update’s contents, along with its size. This information can also easily be verified on the official Google website.
Where did the update come from?
If it’s an app update, was it through the Play Store?
An important thing to keep in mind is that a wireless update is only as legitimate as its source.
A malicious app most likely won’t disclose its source, but will attempt to push itself onto your device.
If part of it is already installed on your phone, its update will still not reveal its source.
Some can potentially mimic legitimate wireless update sources, so you need to be extra cautious!
It’s also important to note the frequency of the wireless update.
Certain apps receive updates weekly, and such updates are perfectly safe to install since they are released through the Play Store.
Meanwhile, OS updates normally appear on devices once a year. Don’t download or install if you receive another update before the year is out!
A legitimate wireless update will never ask you for personal or account information.
These updates only ask you to put in your phone unlock code or password to confirm you’re the actual owner.
App updates also don’t perform such requests, as they only need you to tap the update button in the Play Store.
If an update seems any more intrusive, you need to check its source carefully.
Legitimate wireless updates tend to notify you of their availability and offer options for action.
If your phone doesn’t have automatic wireless updates enabled, you can turn them on in your device’s Settings.
To activate firmware wireless updates, follow these steps:
- Navigate to the phone’s settings
- Search for the “About Phone” tab.
- Under the “Check for Updates” section, there should be an option to enable automatic wireless updates.
App updates also allow for automatic wireless updates.
You can either automate the process, or rely on Play Store notifications when the updates are available.
For most people, notifications are sufficient.
You can, however, make it more convenient by going to the Play Store and locating the Settings tab.
You will find this by clicking on your avatar at the top right corner of the Play Store home page.
Click on “Settings,” then on “Network Preferences.”
When you click on the “Auto-update apps” option, you will see the option to update over Wi-Fi or any network. Select one that suits you the most.
Android security updates typically send notifications similar to OS updates. These don’t have a way to automate for security purposes.
Instead, Google will push a notification to your device and give you the option to download and install it. The download normally prefers a Wi-Fi connection.
Wireless updates are necessary for improving your smartphone user experience.
They, however, can become a nuisance if they’re too frequent and use up too much data! You may also be concerned about your phone’s security.
Firmware updates are rare, appearing once a year at most. After your last OS update, you shouldn’t have to worry about another firmware update notification.
The update also prompts you for action at all stages, making it the least intrusive of all updates. All actions are designed to keep your phone as safe as possible.
The most intrusive and data-hungry wireless updates are the app updates.
Expect a colossal data bill if you have enabled automatic updates over both mobile data and Wi-Fi networks!
Good news: You can turn this option off by following these steps:
- Go to the Play Store’s “Settings” section by clicking on your avatar at the top right corner of the Play Store homepage.
- Click on the “Auto-update apps” tab.
- Select the “Don’t auto-update apps” option from the drop-down list and confirm your selection.
Wireless updates not only allow your device to perform better, but they are also necessary to keep it secure and functional.
While legitimate updates are vital, you also need to avoid malicious attempts at infiltrating your phone.
Here are several ways you can keep your phone safe:
- Research more about each update before you agree to download and install it.
You can read more about the update on its Details page, or by visiting the official website. The information shared will prove whether the update is worth it or not.
- Stay informed on the news about your smartphone, since there are usually announcements long before a major update release.
Do not rely solely on the update notifications! Being aware of update timelines for your phone and region will help you avoid malware.
- Invest in a good anti-malware app.
You may, unfortunately, install something dangerous on your phone. If you have a good anti-malware app, it will automatically identify, quarantine, and delete the malware.
- Automate wireless updates only from trusted sources.
Once you understand which sources are legitimate, you can automate their updates to make them more convenient.
Wireless updates for your Android smartphone are essential, all things considered.
They improve performance, eliminate bugs, and introduce more features and capabilities to your phone.
And although malware can be disguised as wireless updates, there are multiple ways to secure your phone.
You always have the option of improving your phone’s security by learning more about firmware and other updates to judge legitimacy. Automatic wireless updates offer convenience, depending on how you set them up.
In conclusion, you have complete control over how you wish to implement these wireless updates!