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Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series misses out on this useful Android feature

Android’s seamless updates feature was introduced five years back.


What you need to know

  • The Galaxy S21 series phones do not support Android’s seamless updates feature.
  • Seamless updates allow updates to be installed in the background, allowing you to continue using your phone without any interruption.
  • Google had planned to make the feature mandatory on all phones with Android 11, but walked it back for some reason.

In July last year, a commit to AOSP Gerrit had suggested that Google was finally preparing to make Android’s seamless updates feature mandatory on all phones with Android 11. Unfortunately, however, it appears Samsung’s best Android phones of 2021 do not support the useful feature (via 9to5Google).

Max Weinbach from Android Police noted on Twitter that he couldn’t find “ro.virtual_ab” anywhere in the system image from a Galaxy S21. Third-party apps Treble Info and Treble Check also suggest the Galaxy S21 devices lack support for seamless updates.

Yeah I’m not finding “ro.virtual_ab” anywhere in any of the partitions build.propsGuess it’s not required for devices launching with 11

— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) January 24, 2021

Android’s seamless updates feature makes use of A/B partitions to install updates in the background, making it possible for you to continue using your phone while it is being updated. There is also a lower risk of data corruption during an update with seamless updates.

That is probably what happened. https://t.co/F1ZlvsOU9BThe original claim came from a comment left by a Googler on the AOSP Gerrit before the Android 11 CDD was finalized/made public. So they planned to require it (and a leaked draft I saw did say it was) but walked it back.

— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) January 24, 2021

As per XDA Developers Editor-in-Chief Mishaal Rahman, Google may have planned to require support for seamless updates with Android 11, but changed its mind for some reason.

Samsung Galaxy S21


$800 at Samsung
$800 at Amazon
$800 at Best Buy

Samsung’s latest flagship has a lot going for it, including a compact size and fantastic performance with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chipset. The phone also packs a large battery and is equipped with three capable cameras at the rear.