Samsung updates hundreds of millions of aging phones

Daniel Sims

Posts: 670   +27
Staff
What just happened? Anyone still using Samsung Galaxy phones between roughly 2014 and 2018 — of which there could be half a billion — should check for firmware updates. The updates Samsung is pushing are minor but unusual because the affected models are far older than the oldest phones that typically receive security patches.

This month, Samsung started sending out minor updates to Galaxy phones that are several years old, which usually no longer receive support, possibly reaching hundreds of millions of users. The affected models include the Galaxy S5 Neo (Vodafone's version), Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy S6 series, and the Galaxy A7.

Galaxy S5 owners should look for firmware version G903FXXU2BFG3 in the settings app. Galaxy S6 phones receive firmware version G92xFXXU6EVG1, the Galaxy Alpha gets version G850FXXU2CVH9, and the A7 receives A750FXXU5CVG1.

Samsung hasn't provided specific details on what the updates contain or why it sent them, but they appear to fix a GPS issue. The update for the A7 includes a security patch. Official updates for aging hardware usually fix serious security problems that could impact many users, but Samsung hasn't said as much. Furthermore, the official list of the phones still receiving security updates doesn't reach back to the A7, S5, or S6.

Last year, Samsung promised that new Galaxy phones would receive security updates for at least four years. The oldest models the company officially supports include all Galaxy S10, the Note 10, and the A10 models from 2019.

For comparison, Apple recently released a critical iOS security update for iPhone models stretching back to the 6s launched in 2015. Manufacturers should maintain security updates for as many of their devices as possible since most customers don't always upgrade to the latest models.

Owners of recent Galaxy phones should look forward to Android 13, which will come to various Android models later this year. It isn't clear yet which Samsung models the new OS will support, but it came preinstalled on Google's most recent Pixel phones. Apple is also readying the next iteration of iOS for release this year, which supports all iPhone models back to the 2017 iPhone 8.

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Xclusiveitalian

Posts: 870   +290
Samsung is probably attempting to kill these phones to drive up sales. Expect your newly updated phone battery to be absolute poop and apps that ran fine will now be super slow.
 

Fulljack

Posts: 103   +95
Samsung is probably attempting to kill these phones to drive up sales. Expect your newly updated phone battery to be absolute poop and apps that ran fine will now be super slow.
yeah, no. that's a recipe for class-action lawsuit. nice conspiracy, though it gets boring after Apple
 

aMerkuri

Posts: 70   +24
Samsung is probably attempting to kill these phones to drive up sales. Expect your newly updated phone battery to be absolute poop and apps that ran fine will now be super slow.
Models like S9 and less are already poop phones in terms of dropping performance, lag. Source: I have S9.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,255   +304
GPS is an important feature for me. I use it for navigations and accuracy is very important, especially when you're walking. I wonder if these phones came with poor GPS to begin with.

or who knows if maybe samsung really had a change of heart and made these phones' GPS even better than before. all in all good GPS in a phone is a must have.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 1,019   +1,871
Still using my S8. Surprisingly an update came out on it about 8 months ago which was unexpected and with the update it seemed to improve battery life a bit. I was under the impression that about a year prior to the last update they pushed out was going to be the last one.

I know the battery is starting to show it's age, but if I don't use the phone at all during the day (other than time checking, email checking and those few minor things) the phone stays above 60% charge. I'll be content if I get another year out of this things before I have to upgrade. I got the phone December of 2017 so I'm coming up on the 5 year mark and hopefully she'll last me 6 years+.

 

Nanochip

Posts: 110   +153
Hopefully the s23 plus has a good snapdragon chip in there on TSMC 4nm. Better than the snapdragon 8+ gen 1. If so, I’ll trade in my s21+. Otherwise keeping it for another year.
 

Morphine Child

Posts: 168   +316
Whatever it is, it's nice to see someone at Samsung cares. Guess it was a serious issue, doubt they would bother for something trivial.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 848   +1,362
Still using my S8. Surprisingly an update came out on it about 8 months ago which was unexpected and with the update it seemed to improve battery life a bit. I was under the impression that about a year prior to the last update they pushed out was going to be the last one.

I know the battery is starting to show it's age, but if I don't use the phone at all during the day (other than time checking, email checking and those few minor things) the phone stays above 60% charge. I'll be content if I get another year out of this things before I have to upgrade. I got the phone December of 2017 so I'm coming up on the 5 year mark and hopefully she'll last me 6 years+.
Just replace the battery. It might be a $50 cost to pay someone for it but it’s sure to last 2 years. That’s definitely cheaper than getting a new phone, improves your current phone for a bit, and saves you money on average even if it only adds one year of life.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 699   +586
I am not sure if this is a coincidence but both Apple and Samsung issued security updates with very vague change logs as to what it is fixing. The timing of the updates from both companies are very close. What's even fishier is the fact that Samsung is willing to issue this update to phones that are way past their security update eligibility. There's been a lot of security flaws identified and ignored. But why specifically this that they are so keen to go the extra mile...