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Does Software Update Delete Everything in Android?

Does Software Update Delete Everything in Android?

Every time you receive an update, your Android shows a prompt to save your data. But does the software update delete any of your data?

When Android gets an update, no user data is lost or deleted. Updates bring new features and bug fixes to the OS software, but strive to leave the user’s data and settings as untouched as possible.

But what if there is an error or power outage during a software update? Existing data might be lost in this case. What else might cause a loss?

See also: Does Updating Your Phone Make It Faster?

When you update a mobile, is all your data deleted?

In the case of official software updates from the device manufacturer, you will not lose any data as these updates are designed to keep changes to the system database schema to the minimum.

In case of a software update you choose to install by yourself, however, it’s a good idea to backup important data files. You can do this using an application that allows you to connect your smartphone to your PC and sync the files you want to your PC (e.g. Samsung Kies).

When we update an app or system, what happens to the data from the previous update?

When an app or the system is updated through OTA, the previous update is removed from the device as the newer version replaces the older one.

User data, on the other hand, is generally not affected by the update, as Android and app developers seek to maintain backward compatibility across updates. This means your old files and data need to continue to work with the new version of the systems or app.

In some recent Android versions, apps are updated by background downloading a differential patch update containing only the differences with the old version, as opposed to the whole app. The patch is then applied to the existing version of the app to update it.

In contrast, if you downloaded an apk package yourself and installed it manually, that file remains in your phone even after an update until you delete it yourself.

Will a software update delete my apps?

A software update does not delete your apps. Every update has the apps and data protected during the process.

However, there are a few scenarios where this might not always be true:

  • After a system update, an app (e.g. gaming apps) may no longer be compatible with the latest version of the OS and stop working. In most cases, though, you can install the updated versions the app from the Google Play Store.
  • If there any interruption while your device system is being updated, such as a power failure or some error, the software update may fail, and existing apps may no longer work properly. In this case, you may need to factory reset your phone, reinstall the system update, and reinstall your apps.

Will a software update delete my photos?

A system update itself won’t delete your photos on your phone. User photos and videos are stored in a protected location in your device’s internal or external memory (depending on your device settings) such as a DCIM folder. OS and app updates normally do not touch these user folders.

That said, errors and failures are always possible during an update, rendering your device unusable. In this case, a factory reset may be necessary, and that would wipe out your internal storage and everything in it including your photos.

Thus, it’s always a good idea to backup your images and data by uploading them to the cloud, e.g. through Google Drive or Photos, before Android has a software update.

If your photos are all stored on your SD card, the risk of deletion is much lower. In case of update failure, you can pull out your SD card and easily access your photos on another device.

Will my phone be reset if I do system updates?

A device won’t reset itself during a system update, whether it’s an OTA (over-the-air) update or a manual one.

In the case of a manual update, however, e.g. for installing custom ROM from the manufacturer’s website, manually resetting and formatting the device after the update is advised to avoid usability issues such as lags due to cache or file errors.

Resetting the phone beforehand will prevent errors in OS installation and clear out the cache.

What are the things I have to do before updating my phone?

Whenever you plan to update your phone, always backup your data and apps first. Additional things you should do include:

  • Create more than one backup. Getting a cloud backup or using a free app like Helium can help you backup your important data by copying files via USB.
  • Make sure your phone battery is charged at around 70 to 80% so the phone won’t power off while the update is in progress.
Samsung Accounts and backup menu

Samsung data backup and restore menu

What happens if the data connection is lost in an Android system update?

What happens if the data connection is lost in an Android system update?

The loss of internet connection will not prevent an update if the update package has already been downloaded. All OS upgrades and installations will take place once the entire functioning copy of the OS has been downloaded and inspected for data loss (MD5 or SHA hash Check).

If the internet connection is interrupted while downloading the update package, the download will be paused and resumed once the connection is restored. 

Once the actual update starts, however, a data connection is no longer required as everything takes place locally on the device once all required files have been downloaded.

After download, installation begins. The package is stored in the phone’s storage and is used to set up the system. Turning off the internet has no effect. However, a minimum of 50% battery life is required.

If I do a factory reset on an Android phone, will the software update also be deleted?

If a factory reset is done on an Android phone, the software update will not be deleted. When a factory reset is done, only the user data is removed, mostly the passwords, accounts, languages, and other user settings.

Thus, after a factory reset, your device will still have the same system version it had before the reset.

Be aware, however, that all the data stored in the device’s internal storage will be deleted. So after a factory reset, all your user data and settings will need to be entered again, or restored if you made a backup before the reset.

Samsung factory reset feature

See also: Does Factory Reset Remove Updates (Android)?

Is it safe to update Android phones whenever asked?

It is recommended to upgrade your device whenever your smartphone asks you to. Your smartphone or tablet has a risk of getting compromised if you keep using an out-of-date operating system.

  • Updates correct bugs and security issues while also removing sluggish software. To secure your digital assets, keep your system, smartphone, or tablet updated. For example, Google, Yahoo, and many others stole OpenSSL and modified it.
  • Glitches such as unwanted characters on the screen can be fixed with an update patch. Updates often bring new functionality. A big upgrade can improve your device’s compatibility with new hardware and applications.
  • Secure your smartphone with regular manufacturer updates.
  • Built-in utilities of update ensure bugs free update. Since stock versions of the respective androids are verified they should be used.

That said, it’s always a good idea to check user reviews of important update your android device is receiving before putting in it.