U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Updating your smartphone's operating system when notified to do so helps patch security gaps and improve your device’s overall performance. However, there are steps to take beforehand to protect your device and any photos or other personal files that are stored on it.

Before you update your OS

Before you start an OS update or upgrade, take a few steps to help avoid problems:

  • Charge your phone: Avoid having your phone power down during an update by making sure the device has at least a 70-percent charge.
  • Back up your files: OS upgrades and updates should not affect the data stored on your smartphone, but backing up files it is still a good idea, just to be safe.
  • Make sure your device is compatible with the OS upgrade: A new OS may not be designed for all older devices.
  • Delete apps you no longer use: A new OS may need a significant amount of your device’s memory. Clear out apps that are just taking up space.

After you update your OS

Sometimes the new OS will have different pre-installed settings than the ones you have chosen, and will default to the new settings over your old ones. After you install the new OS, there are settings you should check to ensure your phone is not running functions or sharing data in ways you may not want.

  • Check your settings for Wi-Fi: Most smartphones include a function that automatically switches to your data plan when Wi-Fi connectivity is weak. If left on, this may cause data usage when you do not expect it. Decide if you want that function switched on or off.
  • Check for automatic app updates, which is sometimes found under mobile data usage settings: If you turn this function off, apps can only be updated using a Wi-Fi connection. This can help prevent excess data usage, particularly for apps that you do not use often.
  • Check the privacy settings for your device and network connections: Make sure your location services, Bluetooth sharing, ad tracking and social media settings are set to the preferences you want.
  • Check for OS compatibility for your most important apps: A new OS sometimes may be incompatible with one or more of your existing apps until a patch is issued. Check for upgrades for any apps that aren’t functioning properly. Also, you may wish to contact your device manufacturer or service provider to share feedback on app compatibility. Look for contact information on your bill, on your device or online.   

Printable Version:

Updating Your Smartphone Operating System (pdf)


Date Last Updated/Reviewed:

Alternate Format Requests

People with print disabilities may request braille, large print, or screen-reader friendly versions of this article via the email form at fcc504@fcc.gov For audio and other access, use the "Explore Accessibility Options" link.


Consumer Help Center

Learn about consumer issues - visit the FCC's Consumer Help Center at fcc.gov/consumers



File a Complaint with the FCC

File Your Complaint

Visit our Consumer Complaint Center at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov   to file a complaint or tell us your story.