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See if your phone is eligible for Android 13 and Pixel feature drops.
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom’s Guide.
One of the best benefits of owning a Pixel phone is that Google’s devices are usually the first to get new Android updates. Depending on which Pixel you own, your phone could be eligible for upgrades over the next three to five years.
Android version updates usually bring new features and design tweaks to your phone. Android 13, for example, will introduce more Material You customization when it launches this fall. It’ll also have better privacy and security features and improved compatibility with devices such as laptops and speakers.
Google guarantees three years of software and five years of security updates for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro from when those devices became available in the US Google Play Store. That includes three major Android version updates, security updates until October 2026 and “feature drops,” which are smaller software updates introducing extras such as vaccine card shortcuts and air quality alerts. If you own a Pixel 4, Pixel 4A, Pixel 5 or Pixel 5A, you can expect to get updates for at least three years from the date each phone launched in the US Google Store.
The Pixel 3 and earlier are no longer eligible for Android version and security updates. Google still includes the Pixel 3A and 3A XL on its list of supported phones even though those devices are only guaranteed to receive updates until May 2022. CNET has contacted Google for clarity and will update this story accordingly.
Take a look at the table below to see how long your device will be compatible with new Android software updates.
Read more: What iOS 16 and Android 13 Tell Us About the Future of Smartphones
Android 13 will introduce a bunch of new features that aim to improve security, customization and connectivity with other devices. Some highlights include:
Android 13 is currently still in beta, and we’re expecting to see the final version arrive in the fall alongside the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. Check out our full story on Android 13 to learn more about what’s coming in the update.
Read more: The Most Exciting New Phones We’re Hoping to See in 2022
Pixel feature drops are exactly what the name implies: regular updates that bring new features to Pixel phones. While new Android versions, such as Android 13, bring sweeping changes to the entire operating system, feature drops are smaller updates focused on specific additions. Google launched its first feature drop in December 2019, and new releases typically debut in December, March and June.
Google announced its latest Pixel feature drop on June 6, and it’s available for the Pixel 4 and later. The update includes a new tool for creating music videos, easy access to your COVID-19 vaccine card from the home screen, new wallpapers for Pride Month, conversation mode for reducing background noise in the Pixel’s Sound Amplifier accessibility mode and more information on the lock screen, such as a Nest doorbell video feed.
Read more: Google Pixel Watch: What We Know (and Don’t) So Far
You can check your phone’s Android version and see if updates are available by opening the Settings menu, tapping System and selecting System update.
While Google says most security patches will happen automatically, you can check for security updates manually by launching the Settings app, choosing Security and selecting the Google Security checkup tool.
You can also see if a Google Play system update is available from this menu by choosing the Google Play system update option in the Security section.
Looking for more Pixel advice? Learn whether you should upgrade to the Pixel 6 and check out these Pixel tips and tricks.