All You Need to Know About The Latest Android Version

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No matter how different they may seem, all smartphones and tablets share one commonality: They run on an operating system (OS). You can think of your device’s OS as a brain, of sorts—it’s the software responsible for making sure your device runs smoothly, no matter what task you’re working on.

Though there are several operating systems in use, one of the most common is Android, which runs on Samsung, Motorola, and Google phones (among others). Since technology is constantly changing, new Android versions are typically released every year. Sometimes, these updated operating systems come with a range of new features to upgrade your mobile experience. In this article, Optimum will explain the features of the latest Android version and reveal how to update your phone to get the best experience. Keep reading for all of the details.

What Is The Latest Version of Android?

The latest Android update took place in October 2023 with the release of Android 14.0, the newest Android version. It comes a bit over a year after the release of Android 13, which debuted in summer 2022.

In order to enjoy the benefits of the latest Android version, you’ll need a device that runs on Android OS, plus a good phone plan. At Optimum Mobile, we offer the latest phones and have plans for everyone, so you can always stay connected. Explore our plans here and shop our available devices while you’re at it.

What Is Android 14 Called?

As Android users may be aware of, Google started a unique tradition in 2009 with the release of the first Android OS. Each update was given a codename: The first was “Cupcake,” and each Android release that followed was bestowed a similarly sweet confectionary-themed nickname.

After the launch of Pie (Android 9), Google stopped using these names publicly. However, they continue to be used internally. Rumor has it that Android 14 was known as “Upside Down Cake,” a theory seemingly confirmed by an upside-down cake-themed statue installed at the Google HQ in autumn 2023.

Android 14 Features

The latest version of Android’s operating system comes with improvements in accessibility, battery life, camera features, and privacy features. Ahead, we’ll detail the most notable upgrades that come with the new Android version.

Improved accessibility

Over the years, Google has made a concerted effort to prioritize accessibility in its operating systems and devices. Android 14 offers more accessibility features than ever, with the option to increase font size up to 200% for easier on-screen reading. The scaling is nonlinear, too—so text will be scaled proportionately to how it should appear, rather than all text appearing the same size.

Security enhancements

With Android 14 comes several privacy and security improvements. One of the most notable is that the new OS restricts the download of apps made before a certain date because older apps are often more susceptible to malware. The new Android operating system also offers more transparency about where users' data is stored and shared, as well as options to customize app access to your photo and video library.

Customizable lock screen shortcuts

Prior to the release of Android 14, only some Android phones (specifically, Samsung Galaxy phones) allowed for lock screen shortcut customization. Now, however, all Android lock screens can be customized—regardless of which device you have. All devices will now have two slots for shortcuts. You can choose from a range of options (including shortcuts to the camera app, Google Wallet, QR code scanner, and flashlight) and create a lock screen that suits your unique needs.

Enhanced camera features

If you’re a photographer (or an aspiring photographer), you’ll be pleased to know that the latest Android update includes support for high dynamic range (HDR) images. Effectively, this means you’ll get clearer, crisper images with more vibrant color and better contrast. The new operating system also includes improvements in image processing time, support for tap-to-focus and tap-to-zoom, and better image quality in low-light conditions on supported devices. Keep in mind that image quality will still largely depend on the device you’re using. For a rundown of the best smartphone cameras for amateur and serious photography, check out our article Finding the Best Camera Phone For You in 2023.

Built-in Health Connect app

rior to the new Android update and launch of Android 14, you’d have to download Health Connect from the Google Play store if you wanted to use the app. Now, however, it comes built-in to all Android devices. With Health Connect, you’ll see all of the data from your various fitness devices and apps—fitness trackers, running maps, cycle trackers, etc—all in one place. It’s basically your central hub for all things health and a huge upgrade for those interested in tracking their health data. Discover some of our favorite health and fitness trackers here.

Better battery life

While it’s not explicitly advertised as such, the latest Android version includes several features that may help extend your battery life. For example, there will be efficiency improvements for background activities and large file downloads, as well as new permission for app alarms. You can get a full rundown of all of Android 14’s features here.

How To Check Your Android Version

To check which version of the Android OS you’re running, go to your phone’s settings menu and tap the gear icon. Scroll down, and there should be a section that says “about phone” or “about device” (the exact phrasing will depend on what device you’re using). Tap the entry, and you should be able to see various information about your phone, including your IMEI number and what Android version you’re running.

How To Update to Android 14

If you check your Android version and discover that you’re running on 13 or earlier, you’ll probably want to upgrade. But whether or not you’re able to depends on who manufactured your phone. That’s because each manufacturer handles updates themselves—and when a new Android version rolls out, they’ll usually send you a push notification enabling you to download the update right away. Still, if you want to check, click the tab that says “check for updates.” If an update is available, you’ll be able to download it.

Pixel phones are the exception: They update automatically since they (like Android) are owned by Google. So, chances are good that if you have a Pixel phone, you’re already running the latest Android version.

Remember that an operating system is only as good as the phone it’s running on—and a phone is only as good as its network. Get the best mobile experience with Optimum Mobile, which keeps you connected with America’s largest and fastest 5G network.

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