An Android phone displaying the update screen saying 'Optimising Apps' with two cogs spinning. The device is on a blue background with a pen next to it.

The Android operating system is known for its flexibility and customisability, especially compared to Apple, but it can also be confusing. So, if you’re wondering about what the latest Android version is and the different types of operating systems available, we’re here to help.

Before we delve into the different versions and types of the Android operating system, it’s important to understand the different Android phone manufacturers. Unlike iPhones, which only have one manufacturer—Apple—Android devices have multiple, and they typically have their own version of the operating system, too.

When it comes to Android phones, you’ve already heard of the major players. The biggest companies are Google, Samsung, and OnePlus. However, there are also a few other lesser-known Android phone brands, too. These include:

  • Huawei
  • Sony’s Xperia Range
  • Razer Phone
  • LG
  • HTC
  • Xiaomi
  • Asus
  • Oppo

The Different Versions of the Android Operating System

It’s important to note that along with the different manufacturers of Android, there are also variants of the Android operating system. For example, Samsung has its own version of the Android operating system on its devices, with its own unique software and features.

Whilst Samsung’s version of the Android operating system may share the same name as, for instance, Google’s Stock version of Android—they aren’t the same. They can have different features, the user interface is different, and even the apps they support can be different. 

There have been 12 major versions of the Android operating system released. Here they are and the years they launched:

  1. Android Version 1.0: First released in September 2008.
  2. Eclair 2.0/2.1: Released back in October 2009, adding more camera features and HTML5 support in the browser.
  3. Honeycomb 3.0: Released in February 2011 and is a tablet-only version of the Android operating system. 
  4. Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0: Launched in October 2011, this version adds a range of new features, like facial recognition and resizable widgets.
  5. Lollipop 5.0: Launched in December 2014, adding in a new material design user interface, back-end changes, and enterprise features.
  6. Marshmallow 6.0: Launched in 2015, adding in major features, like Android Pay and standardised fingerprint support.
  7. Nougat 7.0: This version was released in 2016 and introduces new features, a Virtual Reality mode, and internal architecture updates.
  8. Oreo 8.0: Released in 2017, this version update improved battery life and performance by limiting what apps could do in the background. 
  9. Pie 9.0: This release further improved battery life, added multiple and external camera support, and increased Bluetooth device connectivity options.
  10. Android 10: This version was released in 2019, and it is when they stopped using the name of sweets or desserts for version names. 
  11. Android 11: Launched in 2020 and improved on voice commands, smart home control, pop-up bubbles, and even added in-built screen recording.
  12. Android 12: This update launched in 2021 and brought a major visual change with the new “Material You” design.
  13. Android 13: Released in 2022, it added a variety of new features. For example, apps to adopt user settings and RCS text messaging.
  14. Android 14: This is the latest Android version, released in 2023. It includes a wide range of new features, including a more customisable lock screen. Among other updates, it also makes bloatware easier to find (and remove).

Some Android phone manufacturers will call their variant of the Android operating system by different names. For example, OPPO’s Android-based operating system is known as ‘ColorOS’. The Chinese-based manufacturer Xiaomi, is currently in the process of rebranding their operating system to ‘HyperOS’.

How To Check Which Android Operating System Your Phone Has

Checking which phone uses which Android operating system is just a click into settings or a Google search away. If you know what brand and model your phone is, you can easily search for the phone’s Android operating system version online.

It’s important to know your Android version for a range of reasons. It can help if you ever run into a problem and need to troubleshoot or find features. The exact process will depend on the device, but here is how you can check which Android operating system and version your phone has:

  1. Open your phone’s Settings app. It should have a gear-shaped icon.
  2. Scroll down to find the menu option that says About Phone. Sometimes, this might also be titled About Device.
  3. There should then be an option in the menu called either Software Information or Android Version. This should give you information on your device’s operating system and version number.

On some Android devices, you don’t need to tap into Software Information or Android Version. The information for the Android operating system version is just displayed on the About screen.

Updating Your Android Operating System

Depending on your phone’s settings, it might send you a notification when a new Android operating system is available, or your phone might automatically update. If not, here’s a general step-by-step guide for updating your operating system that works for most Android phones:

  1. Open your device’s Settings app.
  2. Tap System and click Software update.
  3. If there’s a new software update, you’ll then be prompted to download and install it.

Just a reminder: When you go to update your phone, ensure that your device has enough battery and that you have a charger nearby. The last thing you want is for your device to go flat during an update installation. 

Also, if your Android device seems to be losing battery faster after an update, that’s okay. After a software update, your phone is still working hard in the background to optimise the update and install other components.

Security Updates

When updating your Android operating system, it’s important to install any security patches and Google Play system updates, too. The process for checking if an update is available for security is similar to the operating system.

  1. Open your device’s Settings app.
  2. Tap on Security & Privacy.
  3. Go to System & Updates.
  4. For security updates, click on Security Update. For Google Play system updates, tap on Google Play system update.
  5. Follow (if any) the steps on the screen.

It’s important to remember that these steps are for Android phones running either a ‘Stock’ OS or a variant that is similar. If your device runs a modified version of Android, installing a new update or security patch might differ slightly.

Update Your Android Phone To A Refurbished Device at OzMobiles

Now that you know how to check your Android operating system version, are you looking to upgrade? We stock a wide range of refurbished Samsung Galaxy devices and a collection of other refurbished Android phones, all of which come with a 12-month warranty.

If you’re looking for a new phone or have any questions, feel free to reach out and contact us. Our customer service team is always happy to assist you with any concerns. 

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