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How to update your Android smartphone or tablet: Get the latest software

A one-size-fits-all guide to updating your device to a newer software version of Android

Android system update

If you've got an Android smartphone or tablet you're going to want to update it to the latest version to get all the latest features. Here's how to update Android on your smartphone or tablet.

We all want the most up-to-date gadgets and therefore the most recent versions of the software that is available for them. Upgrading an Android device might take you to a newer version of the operating system like 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or 4.1 Jelly Bean bringing new features or enhancements for your smartphone or tablet. The latest version of Android is 4.4 KitKat.

See also: Google I/O round-up - Android, Google Play, Google+, Chrome and Maps.

Google I/O announcement roundup: Android, Google Play, Google+, Chrome and Maps - See more at: http://www.techadvisor.co.uk/news/google-android/google-i-o-announcement-roundup/#sthash.Te7kXs1n.dpuf

Upgrades for Android devices are generally available over-the-air (OTA) which avoid the need for cables and a desktop PC. They are also rolled out gradually and will depend on the manufacturer and mobile operator.

In general, you'll receive a notification telling you that an update is available but you can also manually check and upgrade your device manually.

The interface and possibly the process will vary between different devices, for example Samsung's Galaxy devices, but here's a one-size-fits-all guide to upgrading an Android smartphone or tablet.

How to check if your Android device is updated

Before you go trying to update your device, you should check which version of Android you are running. You might already be on the latest version. It's easy to check so follow the below guide up to step four. This screen will have a section called 'Android version'. If it doesn't, click 'Software information' to find out.

Google Android version

The latest version is Android 4.4 KitKat which 4.3, 4.2 and 4.1 all coming under the name Jelly Bean.

How to update your Android smartphone or tablet

Step One

As a precautionary measure it's good practice to back up your data such as contacts and photos. The upgrade should not affect your data but there is no guarantee.

Step Two

Navigate to the Setting menu of your device. On most Android devices this can be done via the app menu or notification bar. Typically the Setting app will have a cog or spanner logo.

Android App Menu

Step Three

Scroll down the Settings menu and click on 'About Phone' or 'About Tablet'. If you have a tabbed settings menu then this will appear in the 'general' section.

Android About Phone

Step Four

The menu can vary slightly from device to device but click the 'Software Update' or similar button. This section of the menu will also detail which version of Android your device is running.

Android Software Update

Step Five

Your phone or tablet will now search for an available update. If you are taken to another menu, select the 'Software update check' button or similar.
 
If an update is available your device then you will be asked whether you wish to install it. If you select yes then the system will download and install the new software and reboot.

Note: You device may require a Wi-Fi connection to search for an update. We also recommend downloading the software over Wi-Fi because the file size can be large.

Android Software Update Check

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