The December 2021 security patch is rolling out now for select Pixel phones running Android 12. Monthly security patches might not be as exciting as the Pixel Drop updates that add new features to your phone, but they’re still important to install as soon as possible since they patch security flaws hackers could exploit.
This month’s patch seems especially critical, with over 100 bug squashes and stability improvements and 87 security fixes for Android 12, including one that corrects a flaw that could let hackers execute code remotely on your device through manipulated media files hiding malware. The patch also fixes an additional 49 vulnerabilities specific to Pixel devices.
How to install the December 2021 Android 12 security patch
While the patch will eventually hit all Pixel devices running Android 12, the exact timing differs between models.
The patch started rolling out for most Pixel phones yesterday, including:
- Pixel 3a and 3a XL
- Pixel 4 and 4 XL
- Pixel 4a and 4a 5G
- Pixel 5
- Pixel 5a
However, Pixel 6 and 6 Pro devices will receive the patch starting next week, along with the December 2021 update and new Pixel Feature Drop exclusives.
If you’ve already installed the December 2021 Pixel Feature Drop update, chances are the Android 12 security patch is already installed, too.
To check if that patch is available for you, go to Settings > System > System Update. If you don’t want to wait for the update to arrive over the internet, these patches can also be applied manually by sideloading the OTA update file.
Alternatively, you can install the update using the factory image files available from the Google Developers page. This method will overwrite all your current files so be sure to back up your Pixel’s data first, then follow the steps in our guide on installing a ROM image to your Android phone.