Updates to the Android software are much prized by users, as they help users add new features for a more attractive Android experience and stability of the operating system, without actually pitching for a better, and hence costlier, phone. While phone updates are released regularly across the platform for the iOS software, due to the much larger number of devices that use the Android software, such a collective roll out of updates can not be achieved for Android. Even when software updates are available, there is no telling if the update will work on the specifications your specific phone brings to the table.
Now, there are two ways in which you can install updates on your device – over the air (OTA) or manually, the latter being the more complicated of the two. We will detail here how to do both for different devices.
This is the usual way in which updates are installed on phones, and more convenient because the roll out happens automatically (OTA). When updates are available, you will get a notification that such is the case, and all you need to do is to click on it to be done. If you clear the notification by mistake, you can check for yourself if there is an OTA update available by going to About Device > System Updates > Check for Updates. Although this path may differ for the phone you are using, similar options are available in all Android phones and you may want to spend some time learning the specific way of your phone.
There are plenty of reasons why you may want to update your phone manually. For one, when you make your updates OTA, it will always require that you have a stable Wi-Fi connection throughout the length of the download and install. You may also have rooted your device and may not be receiving any updates automatically. Whatever the case, with these steps you can update your Android device manually.
Step 1 : Locate the ROM
To install manual updates, the first step is to locate the ROM that you intend to install for the device. For official ROMs, you can check the official webpage of the manufacturer and find the appropriate ROM for the model of device you are using. Custom ROMs are also available elsewhere.
Step 2 : Installing the ROM
After you have located the ROM you want to install, you first need to find out the specific program that works for your brand of Android smartphone. You can also use something called a custom recovery, that will need your device rooted and unlocked. We will give here a list of such ROMs for various brands, and a brief description of each.
This program is used to update Samsung Android devices, and it helps us download the intended ROM and install it on our mobile phones/PC. KIES downloads firmware mindful of your device and location, which means if the ROM you want to download has not been rolled out for your device or region, you will not be able to access it.
This is another program that lets you download ROMs for Samsung Android devices. The difference that it has with KIES is that with Odin, you can install the ROM you have downloaded yourself, unlike KIES.
Flash Tool :
This is helpful in downloading and installing flash ROMs on Sony Xperia devices. Ensure that the bootloader of your Xperia device is unlocked for this program to work as intended. The software works on most Windows PCs.
HTC Sync Manager :
This is to install updates on HTC devices, and can be downloaded from the official HTC website. The way to install is to connect your device to a PC via USB and then launch your program. Only official updates available.
HTC One Tool Kit :
Developed at XDA Developers Forum for HTC devices, you can use this to unlock your bootloader, root your device and install official and custom updates on your HTC phone.
LG PC Suite :
As the name suggests, this software is to download updates for LG devices, and can be found on the LG device search page. This official program will only install official updates available for your phone.
KDZ Firmware Updater :
This allows you to download official and custom ROMs for LG devices. Although this program is easy to install for most systems, it has been found to be problematic for Windows Vista and 7 where you have to ensure that it has appropriate administrative privileges.
RSD Lite :
This firmware is for Motorola devices, and will allow you to download flash ROM if you are facing issues. The software is available on the official site of the manufacturers.
Custom Recovery :
In case you did not find what you were looking for in the above list, Custom Recovery may be your best bet, as it lets you download flash custom ROMs or backing up your device, and is always accessed on rebooting your phone. The program eliminates a middle man like the PC that is used in most of the above programs.
ROM Manager :
Offers you a list of what ROMs are available for your phone, and lets you download and install ROMs straight from the apps.