How to Check for Updates on Your Android Phone

Check for Android updates
Marziah Karch

The Android phone operating system gets periodic system updates, and these updates are pushed out to users. These updates are  also called firmware updates, since they are on a deeper system level than normal software (app) updates and are designed to control the hardware. Firmware updates on your phone require permission, time, and a restart. It's usually also a good idea to leave your phone in a charger during a firmware update so there's less of a chance that you accidentally run out of batteries mid-upgrade and potentially break your phone.


Google periodically pushes out upgrades to the firmware on your Android phone. Usually these are done over the air or OTA. You turn on your phone and it tells you that an update is available. These updates are rolled out, so they don't become available for everyone at once. That's because firmware updates need to be specifically compatible with the hardware on your phone rather than apps, which work with a wide variety of devices. Sometimes it's hard to be patient, so here's how you can check to see if your update is available now.

This is also useful if you were sent a system update but didn't have time to install it (your batteries were low or you couldn't spare the time, for example). 

How to Check for Android Updates

This works on most recent versions of Android, although some versions may have some slight variations in where the put the options. 

  1. Turn on your phone and drag your finger from the top of the screen downward in order to pull the settings menu down. (You may need to scroll down twice in order to get to the correct menu as shown here.) 
  1. Tap on the gear icon on the top of the screen. This goes to Settings

  2. Scroll to About phone and tap it. 

  3. Tap System updates

  4. You should see the screen showing whether your system is up to date  and when this was last checked. You can optionally select Check for update if you want to immediately check again. 

  1. If an update is available, you can tap to start installing it.