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Should I run Operating System Updates Immediately?

Date Written: 12/29/16

When an update is available to the operating system (OS) on your phone or tablet you may wonder whether or not you should run it. Whenever a major update is released to either iOS (iPhones/iPads) or Android OS we'll get quite a few inspectors asking us if they should run it or not. When asked, we typically don't tell someone they should or shouldn't as what is best varies from person to person (and sometimes update to update).

One big picture thing to keep in mind is that there is a difference between a major version update to an OS (going from iOS9 to iOS10) and an update to an existing version (going from 10.1 to 10.2). Major version upgrades tend to have more new features but carry with them a greater chance of new bugs and issues when first released. Updates to an existing version often include subtle changes, bug fixes and minor improvements.

Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of running an OS update as soon as it becomes available.

Pros

  • Get access right away to new features
  • Get access to bug fixes as soon as they are available
  • Certain apps require the newest version of an OS and having it helps ensure you'll be able to run these apps
  • Almost every new update will include some security fixes which make your device more secure

Cons

  • Major OS changes almost certainly will come with some bugs. If you install it right away you are more likely to be impacted by these bugs as it can be days, weeks, or months before a fix is available.
  • If you are using an older device (2+ years), running the latest operating system can sometimes make your device seem to run (or actually run) slower
  • OS changes can impact every app on your device. When major changes are made sometimes app developers run into issues that take them some time to sort out which means an app that you use that has never had any issues could require an update to work properly with the OS update.

One way to approach updates is to wait a few weeks to install a major version update (iOS 9 to iOS 10), but install the minor updates within a few days of release. This allows you to wait to see if the update is causing major issues for others before you run it, while still allowing you to take advantage of what's new and any bug fixes that come out without too much delay.

Android

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