Important: Why You Should Update Your Mobile’s Firmware or Software

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PS: This article about why you should update your mobile phone’s software was originally published here on MobilityArena in 2011 and has since been updated to bring it up-to-date. No pun intended.

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I was involved in a Twitter conversation in which someone mentioned that he ran into 5 or 6 Nokia N8 users with their devices still on PR1 or 1.2 firmware. I also mentioned that the average BlackBerry user here in Nigeria does not install any apps besides those that come with the phone, update apps, not to mention update their devices’ firmware. Evidence before me says the same is true for most iOS and Android users.

In my opinion, device manufacturers and OS developers should make app and firmware update notifications more intrusive or in-your-face. And it should be totally OTA. No-one should ever have to connect a mobile to PC in order to update it in this day and age. Thankfully, in 2022, standard practice now is that all software updates happen over-the-air (OTA).

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Samsung phones that have received the Android 12 firmware/software update

So, why should you ever bother to update your mobile phone’s firmware or software?

One, some of the complaints you have about your cell phone or smartphone get resolved by the manufacturer through newer firmware or software. These include issues with app stability, display colouring, performance issues, overheating, and more. Simply update your device to the latest software version, and the problems go away.

Two, some new features and functionality may be available through newer firmware. These features improve the usability and functionality of your device. In some cases, they make your device almost a totally different gadget. Update your software to enjoy those features.

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Three, newer firmware may bring cool, fancy, tricks to your phone. We geeks call it eye-candy. In other words, everything looks better. Upgrade and you may fall in love afresh with how your mobile’s user interface looks.

Here are some examples from the past. I carry three phones around with me these days – Nokia N8 and N9, and a BlackBerry 9300 Curve 3G.

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I updated my N8 to enjoy the new benefits of Anna, and also flashed it unofficially to enjoy the benefits of Symbian Belle (which will be officially released soon). Belle software is a totally different beast and as a result, my N8 is a different device entirely from what it was. It looks, feels, and behaves differently – more modern and smoother.

The N8 is so different that I can’t leave it at home while I have the N9 with me, so I carry both around. I also updated the firmware of the BlackBerry Curve 3G from BlackBerry OS5 to OS6, and the improvements are superb. Thank goodness for firmware updates.

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How To Update Your Phone’s Software

Back in 2011, you had to install your device’s PC software on your system, connect your device and click through the menu to check for any available updates. If one is available, and you have a fast Internet connection, you should be done in some minutes (except you are updating an iOS device, in which case, go watch a movie while the update is downloaded).

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However, that practice is history. As already mentioned earlier in this article, software updates are now done over the air, meaning they are downloaded directly to your smartphone over a mobile Internet connection or over Wi-Fi. There is no need for a cable and a PC any more.

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Go to the Settings of your phone, depending on which manufacturer and model, and look under About or System Updates. That is where you will find the menu to enable automatic software updates, as well as the ability to check manually. If an update is available, follow the instructions to download and install it. After installation, your cell phone will require a reboot. That is it.

Over the last 20 years, I have consistently updated the software of my smartphones, from Nokia to BlackBerry to Samsung to Apple to Xiaomi to Google Pixel, and more. Have you updated your mobile? Is your device any better after the update? If you haven’t, go get it done now.

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