Smartphone updates happen to be a mess provided the modern smartphone has existed, but Samsung just took a large step in the best direction. The organization has decided to extend security update support to some full four years. That’s more than every other Android device maker, Google included, which previously matched Samsung with 3 years of guaranteed updates.

To understand how significant this is, you simply need to go back in time a couple of years. Major security flaws like Stage Fright prompted Google to make security updates more prominent. It began listing monthly patch levels within the system settings and requiring that OEMs release the occasional update. Google’s own Pixel phones led the way with two major OS updates and 3 years of security patches.

Google eventually chose to make Pixels fully upgradeable for three years, making certain devices such as the Pixel 5 can get Android 12, 13, and 14. Samsung started catching up to Google because the Android maker added features like Treble and Mainline that simplify system updates. Now, Samsung is applying a number of its immense resources to place updates into overdrive.

According to Samsung’s new policy, most of its phones will get security updates for 4 years from release. That’s much better than what Google or other OEM promises. The update guarantee isn’t just restricted to flagship phones, either. Samsung lists a lot more than 100 devices that are covered retroactively including ultra-budget devices like 2021’s Galaxy A10. High-end phones like the Galaxy S20 and Z Fold2 will also be included, obviously. (Check out Samsung’s article for that full list or see below.) These to will all get monthly or at best quarterly patches for any full four years.

It’s a significant undertaking to promise four years of updates on so many phones, but Samsung has got the scale to get it done. Another OEMs can’t produce updates in a reasonable cadence even if they make just a few phones each year.

While this is a significant improvement in terms of security and privacy, it doesn’t mean Samsung phones will deliver new features better than Google. The South Korean technology giant is just talking about security updates as opposed to version updates that bump a telephone from, say, Android 11 to 12. Samsung will probably still lag behind with these larger feature updates. If standing on the latest and greatest OS provided possible continues to be important to you, that’s Google’s domain. If you want security patches that demonstrate up long into the future, that’s Samsung’s bag.