The May 2021 Pixel security update is ready, and you shouldn’t waste time installing it on your device.
This month’s patch fixes 42 bugs found in Android version 8.1, 9, 10, and 11 that affect common components from several manufacturers and various parts of the Android software, including the Android kernel (the core part of the operating system’s software that controls the phone).
Many are rated as “high” vulnerabilities that could allow a hacker to steal or expose your information, take control of certain device functions, or remotely execute malicious code. The full Android security bulletin notes are available here.
As for the Pixel-specific issues, the patch fixes seven moderate-severity vulnerabilities affecting Qualcomm components and the Android OS kernel in Pixel devices.
Google isn’t offering up more specifics about the disclosed vulnerabilities or how the patch fixes them, but encourages all users to install the update once it is available to prevent malicious actors from exploiting the security flaws.
The update is available now for Pixel 3, 3a, and 4 phones (including XL models), the Pixel 4a and 4a 5G, and the Pixel 5. You can check to see if the May security patch is available, or it’s already installed on your device, in the Android settings app.
- Go to Settings > System > Advanced > System Update.
- Scroll down and check the date under “Security Patch Level.” If it’s 2021-05-05 or later, then you’re up to date.
- If the Security Patch Level is earlier than 2021-05-05, go to Settings > Security. Tap “Check for security update.” If one is available, follow the on-screen steps to download it.
Non-Pixel Android phones will also receive the Android Security update as an OTA patch over the coming weeks. The exact update time depends on your device’s manufacturer and your cell service carrier.