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September 28, 2017

Android’s ‘Check For Updates’ Button Works for Reals

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

It was once a joke. That CHECK FOR UPDATES button lurked deep in the Settings app on an Android phone or tablet. You’d tap the button and . . . [suspense] . . . nothing. The device would say, “Oh! I checked for an update. Alas, one is not available.”

It was a lie!

Sure, there were times when an update wasn’t available. Then again, when an update was available, tapping the CHECK FOR UPDATES button was like pulling the handle on a slot machine. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time . . . nada. And the request often failed on purpose.

That’s because, back in the old days, Google rolled out Android updates in phases. They had an allotment of updates and once that quota was met, your device didn’t get updated. No, you had to wait until the next phase. If your device updated automatically, great. And if you tapped the button before the ration of updates was distributed, you were good. If not, you missed Google’s arbitrary deadline. You had to wait, no matter how frequently you tapped the CHECK FOR UPDATES button.

With the latest update to Google Play Services, the quota limitation is off.

You might access the check-for-updates action from the Settings app, but it’s Google Play Services that governs system updates. Because this app is updated for all devices (as opposed to Android operating system updates), you probably have this new, on-demand update feature already installed on your device. That means that tapping the CHECK FOR UPDATES button now works!

Of course, the pending update must be ready for your phone or tablet. If it is, then the quota is ignored and you receive the update pronto. I suppose that Google finally figured that if someone is desperate enough to want an update, well, why not give it them?

Keep in mind that tapping the button isn’t magic. If an update isn’t ready, it’s not going to suddenly appear. Ancient Android devices are not going to receive newer version of the operating system. Yet, if you read that your Samsung Galactic Tablet is ready for Android 8.0 “Oreo,” tap the button and you shall receive. And it’s about time.

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