Installing an Android update in the background whilst continuing to use your phone was made possible years ago with Google's Android 7. Some smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung, still do not offer a practical feature called Seamless Updates. Now Google is forcing the issue.
We've all been there. Whenever a new Android update is available, you have to adapt the installation to your daily routine. Few people install an update as soon as it is released, usually the evening hours or overnight are suitable. Because during an Android update, smartphones from Huawei, Samsung and Co. cannot be used for some time. And so it turns out that an important security update may be postponed for days. Google has provided a solution since Android 7: Seamless Updates.
Smartphones with two system partitions are compatible with Google Seamless Updates. So-called Virtual A/B smartphones from Google, Asus, Motorola, or OnePlus also support this. The two big players in the market, Samsung and Huawei, do not. Just a week ago, colleagues from Android Police asked the question: "It's 2020, why don't Samsung phones support Android's seamless updates?" Now, Google is answering.
No Google services without Seamless Updates
Sammobile reports that a change in the Google Vendor Test Suite (VTS) is coming. According to this, background updates will become mandatory with the rollout of Android 11. Google is implementing a test procedure that can detect virtual A/B partitions in smartphones. If the hardware does not offer a virtual A/B partition, Google's VTS will fail and Google Mobile Services (GMS) cannot be installed. Given that most Android users would not use a smartphone without Google services, manufacturers such as Samsung have no choice but to provide virtual A/B partitions in their devices for seamless updates.
If you own a current Samsung smartphone, which also has the prospect of an Android 11 update, you shouldn't be too excited. According to reports, background updates will only become mandatory for manufacturers in upcoming smartphone generations, in Samsung's case the Galaxy S30/S21.
This feature not only brings significantly more convenience but security through fast installation of Google security patches. Also, data on the device can no longer be lost so easily by a broken update, since an extra partition with the previous version always serves as a reserve. The whole principle is based on this: while the user can still use his smartphone despite changes to the basic system, the Android update is carried out on the second virtual partition. After successful installation, the user reboots and lands in the current system within a few seconds.
With this app you can check if your smartphone offers A/B updates. Is your device already included? Leave a comment below.