Our complete guide on updating your Android mobile phone to the latest version of Android Nougat (7.1.1) or the freshly launched Android O, which is currently in beta.
Android 7.1, dubbed Android Nougat by Google, is officially rolling out to existing Android handsets right now. First found on the Google Pixel and Pixel XL phones, Android Nougat offers plenty of great new features compared to Marshmallow and earlier versions. The likes of split-screen multitasking is not to be sniffed at, nor is the improved resource management which helps to boost battery life.
We've already compiled a big list of when you can expect your phone to receive the Nougat update, but the likes of Samsung's Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge and the OnePlus 3T have already received this update over the air.
And Google has actually already launched its fresh new 2017 version of Android, known so far only as Android O. It's possible to download Android O to your phone right now, in beta form at least, to check out some of those cool new features.
Here we'll explain why you should strive to be on the latest version of Android and how you can actually update your smartphone right now.
What are the best features in Android Nougat and should I update?
Android Nougat, released towards the end of 2016, is the best version of Android so far. Nougat adds a lot of worthy features to Google's OS, while also tweaking and updating plenty of existing features to make them work better. Check out our Android Nougat review for a closer look at the new features.
With performance improvements thrown into the mix, even slightly older Android handsets should run 7.1 Nougat well. So there's no clear reason not to update your phone when Nougat becomes available for your handset.
Of course, we'll be updating all of our test handsets to Android 7.1 and adding to this article if we see any negative performance impacts afterwards.
Check out our guide on why you should upgrade to Android Nougat for more info.
How to update your phone to Android Nougat
It's easy to check if your phone has an update to Android Nougat available, and then download and install this update.
First, go to the settings menu on your Android phone. On most Android mobiles, you simply need to scroll down to 'About Phone' at the very bottom of the menu and give it a tap. Finally, select 'System Updates'. This will check for Android updates automatically and prompt you to download and install if one is found.
Some Android phones follow the same steps, but wording or positioning will be slightly different. For instance, on some mobiles this option is called Software Update instead of System Updates. It's all the same thing, though.
Note that a few handsets have a separate update section in the main settings menu. If you can't find the update option in the About Phone section, check there instead.
If your Android 7.1 update is ready, accept any terms and make sure you're connected to a reliable WiFi network. This will prevent you from using up lots of your data allowance, as the Android Nougat update will be rather big.
Now all you need to do is wait and perhaps fix yourself a tasty beverage, while the OTA package is downloaded and then installed. This will involve a phone restart, at which point your handset has been upgraded to Android 7.1. Congratulations!
How to update your phone to Android O right now
Android O has just been officially launched by Google, in beta form. This allows anyone to download an early version of Android O, to test out on their personal handset.
Of course, as with any beta version software, you do so at your own risk. There's a chance (however small) that Android O could knacker your precious mobile, resulting in some messy backing out to Android Nougat. So proceed with caution.
To get Android O on your phone today, head to Android's Developers website - specifically the Android O download page. From here you can download the system image for your chosen mobile and follow Google's instructions to get it up and running. Everything you need is right there on that page.
Note that only Google's recent handsets will accept the Android O beta update. In other words, the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel and Pixel XL. You can also try out Android O on the Nexus Player and the Pixel C laptop.