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4 things to do before - and after - an Android update to avoid problems

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S6 galaxy s6 software update notification
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I've talked a lot about the Android update process and how to handle it correctly, but I'm always surprised to find that not everyone listens when I talk. So I'll try again: if you want to enjoy a perfect Android update experience without any of the usual problems, follow these steps. I can't guarantee Android itself will be bug free, but I can help you minimize your chances of suffering.

1. Back up your data

This is one thing I'll never get tired of saying: back up, back up, back up. The more backups the merrier, the more often the better, the more locations the safer. Get yourself a cloud backup service, use a free app such as Helium, copy files to your computer with a USB cable, email yourself stuff, make a Nandroid – just do whatever it takes. The point is that you do it. And then you do it again, just to be sure.

Follow our guide on how to back up everything on Android.

helium app
Helium is a great tool for backing up Android, even without root access. / © ANDROIDPIT

2. Charge your battery

It's important that your Android doesn't run out of power during the update. So ensure it has adequate charge before you start.

We recommend making sure your battery is at around 70 to 80 percent as a minimum, before you start to install any update.

samrtphone usb laptop
Make sure your phone is charged before you start an Android update. / © ANDROIDPIT

3. Take some last minute screenshots

It's also a good idea to snap a couple of screenshots of your home screens and email them to yourself before you start.

If you use an alternative Android launcher you can save your home screen preferences, but not if you use a stock launcher, so take a quick few screenshots of your home screens. These will serve as handy reminders that you can use to set up your phone back how you like it. The update itself won't reset your phone, but you'll see why we recommend taknig screenshots in the next step.

4. Wipe cache and factory reset

Some of you may claim there's no need to factory reset after an Android update and that may be true for you. But at the very least you should clear the system cache for your Android after installing the firmware. This is the quickest and easiest way to clear up any early battery drain bugs and performance issues.

A factory reset and 'start from scratch' approach with new firmware gives you the best opportunity of avoiding the problems that seem to plague users following an update.

AndroidPIT Moto X 2014 Recovery Mode wipe cache partition
At the very least wipe the cache partition, but better yet, do a factory reset after an update. / © ANDROIDPIT

Once you've backed up all your data and installed the update, simply reboot into recovery (usually by turning your phone off and holding Power and Volume Down simultaneously, but it varies on different phones – search the site for your device) and then wipe the cache partition and factory reset.

When you boot up again, simply restore your backup (or use Android's Tap & Go feature) and set your home screens back how you like them using your handy screenshots as a reference.

As I said above, I can't guarantee that the new Android version won't have any bugs, but the usual performance and battery issues, random reboots and crazy app behavior can generally be avoided with this simple procedure.  

Do you suffer from problems after an update? What do you do to prepare for an Android update? 

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Kris Carlon

Kris Carlon
Senior Editor

Kris is a former AndroidPIT Editor who came to the team via a lengthy period spent traveling and relying on technology to keep him in touch with the outside world. He can usually be found juggling three phones at once and poring over G+ posts, Reddit and RSS feeds.

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  • 1
    Alex K Aug 19, 2016 Link to comment

    What's the point of that article? I would like to make system backup before updating. I want to have ability to return back to Android 5.1 if something goes wrong.

  • Rick C 1
    Rick C Jun 5, 2016 Link to comment

    Thanks, everything I needed, except SD card considerations for Marshmallow.

  • TouringMovie74 1
    TouringMovie74 Mar 24, 2016 Link to comment

    What can I do if the phones no longer activated but I had to factory reset it? It searches for update for days with no results

  • Rodger Ramirez 6
    Rodger Ramirez Sep 2, 2015 Link to comment

    Great tips. I always factory reset my Android after updating it.

  • 24
    Deactivated Account Aug 29, 2015 Link to comment

    On the S6 edge to enter into recovery mode: Press and hold volume UP, Home, Power button at the same time.
    If you press the volume down button in the same combination you enter the download mode for those that don't know.

  • Little Stacy 6
    Little Stacy Aug 28, 2015 Link to comment

    It's very good. Thanks for your sharing!

  • 1
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  • Junaid Qureshi 17
    Junaid Qureshi Aug 26, 2015 Link to comment

    4. Unroot it first so it won't cause problems/Firmware crash/Bootloop

  • Addison Graham 1
    Addison Graham Aug 26, 2015 Link to comment

    It should be this hard, just Wow

    • Kris Carlon 35
      Kris Carlon Aug 26, 2015 Link to comment

      Totally true. It shouldn't be this hard. But then again, cars don't always start when they should, TVs go weird in thunderstorms and all kinds of things are a little bit wobbly. I don't expect everyone to follow these steps (and of course, you don't even need to), but it's what I do and I very rarely have update problems so I thought it was worth sharing.

      Junaid Qureshi

  • 6
    lonnie gast Aug 26, 2015 Link to comment

    I don't know about anyone else, but I've had problems go away with an update.HTC one m9's overheating was addressed, even after i installed "cool master" to counter the heat. The only problem I have now is .....none. :D <3 love my new phone !

  • Junaid Amir 1
    Junaid Amir Aug 26, 2015 Link to comment

    can any one tell to me that how can stop the apps which install automatically
    you can send on (

    • Junaid Qureshi 17
      Junaid Qureshi Aug 26, 2015 Link to comment

      Junaid Amir you will need root access for that to debloat/remove unnecessary apps from ur device

  • Nirjon Ahmed 6
    Nirjon Ahmed Aug 26, 2015 Link to comment

    OK... Thnx

  • Mohsen Moradi 1
    Mohsen Moradi Aug 26, 2015 Link to comment


  • Dashboard Digital Watch Face 2
    Dashboard Digital Watch Face Aug 26, 2015 Link to comment

    Indeed, there should be caution when trying to update your smartphone. You have to know the important details in order to protect and secure your smartphone.

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