Ask LH: Why Hasn't My Phone Been Updated Yet?

Hey Lifehacker, Is there anything you can do if a telco isn't providing Android updates? I have a GT-N7105T (Galaxy Note 2 4G) supplied from Telstra and have been waiting on an update since last July. I've contacted Telstra a few times about the problem and they always say it's with Samsung. When I contact Samsung, their support team say "We don't know until the general public know". Telstra's Crowdsupport site always promises dates but nothing ever happens.

Is there anything I can do? I feel like Fred Flintstone using a buffalo horn as a phone. Thanks, Trying My Patience

Dear TMP,

According to Telstra's Handset Software Update page, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 4G is currently in the final phases of testing. It should be receiving Android Jellybean+ 4.3 in early February.

As to your broader question, there isn't a whole lot you can do in situations like this — you’re pretty much at the mercy of your telco. The phone contract you signed provided no guarantees about timely OS updates, which means Telstra technically owes you nothing.

That said, keeping customers happy is part of its job. If enough people complain about a specific update, there's a small choice it might get fast-tracked — our advice is always to keep on bugging!

If you can't wait a day longer, you could always root the phone and install your own ROM. Click here to read our in-depth Android rooting guide which explains everything you need to know. Good luck!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    the state of updates and our telcos is downright crap and beyond a joke, all of our telcos advertise the fact updates are coming etc all the time most even have a list with dates and progress but none of them actually promise a single update or that there schedules are even close to true so they cant be questioned when your 3 year old phone hasn't seen a single update despite the catalogue specifically stating it will

    this is why i will stick with the nexus line, get an international one and it will get updates days after google announce it, get a aussie one you have to flash away the aussie crapware but its simple as can be

    I've never understood the whole deal here with Telcos having to test and approve updates to Android devices.

    Last edited 24/01/14 2:24 pm

      They're not required to release updates, but they *are* required to ensure than an update doesn't drop service due to potentially compatibility issues.

      The main issue, with Android at least, is that after google does a public code drop, the manufacturer makes their version, releases that, then the carrier modifies, releases that, whereas other phone OS's are behind closed doors for more of the process, so there is less perceived time lag.

      Last edited 24/01/14 2:45 pm

    It's the same in most territories surely? They'll be compliance issues around emergency calling and various technical things they want to test. And then load it up with their network's chosen flavours of crapware.
    Gotta say though, never seen an advert (printed/point of sale/online/radio/tv/other) from any network promising software updates to existing handsets.
    It's an odd concept that people expect software updates. If I buy a Commodore I don't expect Holden to stick their next engine in it for free when they release it.

      Yes, but if you bought a Commodore with a Navigation Unit, you'd expect map updates in a timely manner.

        Not really, no. I'd consider it a bonus unless I'd paid for a service to receive map updates.

        Buyers of VE Calais and SSV with sat-nav probably expected updates in a timely manner.
        But no, it doesn't happen in a timely manner and you also pay through the nose for them.
        Last I heard, sat-nav map updates for VE are not even available anymore.

    This is why Nexus phones are great.

    Also because they're generally great phones.


    I have had same issues. I got a note 2 thru Optus. it hasnt received one bloody update! So I rooted it and its been running 4.3 with the same modem as it had on 4.2 so it doesnt have comparability issues at all! they are just lazy.

    The best way around this is. to buy an unlocked handset. thru IInet. (OR SOMEONE ELSE) I purchased the note 3 unlocked on a plan still (I know its confusing haha) and I've alredy got 2 updates for the note 3. and 4.4.2 is on its way. when you get an unlocked phone you update through Kies or samsungs own servers. not the telcos! so you get updates faster

    My disclaimer is that I always hack my devices and install custom bootloaders / kernels / ROMs / etc. If you're really that bothered by the lack of updates, do the same ... especially if you're out of warranty.

    Android devices, especially network-tied or OEM ones, are notorious for being orphaned early (sometimes less than a year). This is one of the bigger disadvantages of buying anything running this OS.

    That said, a reasonable question @ "TMP" is "do you really need an update?"

    If the device works as required, are you missing out on much? The additional features between the successive flavours of JB aren't huge. Most of the changes were subtle "under the hood" stuff. Admittedly there have been some bug fixes and security updates, but JB is fairly inherently robust.

    And just because you don't have the latest version of the OS doesn't mean you can't have the latest version of apps. Android has been designed deliberately this way so that functionality doesn't have to be so tied to the OS version.

    There is another factor to consider (less so in your case) that successive releases will be designed for faster CPUs and more RAM. There is a risk of winding up with a newer OS that crawls and crashes ... such as the final iOS5 update forced on my missis' ageing iPad1.

    Last edited 24/01/14 6:33 pm

    Surely they would have to provide security updates at the very least?

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