Samsung Galaxy S21 top back half of phone
David Imel / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 owners have discovered the phone still doesn’t support Android’s seamless updates.
  • You’ll have to reboot your phone whenever there’s a system upgrade.
  • It’s not certain why Samsung hasn’t adopted the technology.

Don’t expect to quietly update your Galaxy S21 in the background while you move on to other tasks. 9to5Google, Brandon Lee and others have discovered that the new Samsung phone series doesn’t support Android’s seamless updates despite hints Google might require the feature from Android 11 onward.

Samsung’s omission of seamless updates will leave you installing Galaxy S21 patches the old-fashioned way — that is, rebooting your phone and leaving it inoperable for minutes at a time. It might feel archaic, particularly when Google first introduced seamless updating with Android 7.0 Nougat in 2016.

The company hasn’t explained why it isn’t using seamless updates with the Galaxy S21. We’ve asked Samsung if it can elaborate.

Related: Samsung has raised the bar for Android updates

Storage might play a role. Seamless updates in Android consume about 3GB of storage due to partitioning — Samsung may be reluctant to chew up that space, particularly when the Galaxy S21 family doesn’t offer microSD card support. The inconvenience may be worthwhile if it frees up valuable space for your apps and media.

This doesn’t preclude Samsung from introducing seamless updates in the future. We wouldn’t count on it, though, and it won’t be surprising if any change comes only when that 3GB of space becomes trivial for many users. For now, you’ll have to find something else to do while your Galaxy device installs patches — and time those upgrades accordingly.