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In light of the recent "stagefright" MMS vulnerability, I understand that while Google may release fixes to security vulnerabilities, it requires co-operation from the handset manufacturer to deliver those fixes to handsets.

As the owner of an aging Samsung Galaxy S2, I'd like to know if I'm ever going to get an update. No-one ever told me that my handset was no longer going to receive updates. Maybe it still is but Samsung are still working it out.

How long after a handset has been made should I reasonably expect security updates to be pushed out? At what point should I seriously consider replacing a handset if these updates are important to me?

Related: https://windowsphone.stackexchange.com/q/10068/13848

closed as primarily opinion-based by Izzy, bmdixon, Matthew Read Jul 30 '15 at 16:36

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Do you really want an exhaustive list of the nearly 20,000 distinct Android phone models? – Huey Jul 28 '15 at 15:32
  • @Huey - I've changed my mind and rewrote the bulk of the question to simply ask "how long after manufacture is reasonable". Hope whoever voted-to-close will reconsider. – Bill P. Godfrey Jul 28 '15 at 19:26
  • This is up to the manufacturer and carrier, and you (if you are willing to install a custom ROM, for example). There is no fixed guideline. – Matthew Read Jul 30 '15 at 16:36
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It depends on your manufacturer and carrier to deliver the update. My guess is that it would only be the newest models or this past year's flagships that would be updated in a reasonable amount of time.

If you have the understanding and really want the update, I know many of the custom ROM's will be updated well before any of the carrier stock images. I checked yesterday and my phone received an update in a nightly build about 2 weeks ago. Check and see if your device is supported by Cyanogenmod.

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For a smartphone, you can expect security updates to be supported for 18-24 months. Google says Nexus devices receive updates for 18 months.

Nexus devices may not receive the latest version of Android if they fall outside of the update window, which is usually around 18 months after a device has been released.

The Nexus line is nominally supposed to get better updates from Google because it uses a version of Android that is unmodified by the carrier. The Galaxy S2, released in 2011, is almost certainly no longer supported by Samsung.

Sadly the economics of phone contracts and replacements has made the lifetime of a phone 2 years. The phone manufacturers simply expect you to get a new phone when you renew a phone contract, so they do not bother spending money on continuing to support older phones.

You may be able to find a third party ROM like CyanogenMod that has updated software for the Galaxy S2.

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