Have you ever hit ‘update’ on your smartphone or tablet only to find that your device seems to end up worse rather than better? We shared this suspicion, so we put these updates to the test.
My phone is pestering me to accept the latest upgrade. I know I should because it’ll give me all the latest security patches and help protect my phone from leaky apps siphoning off my personal data.
But it’ll probably give me a few features I’m not interested in as well. For instance, I’ve got a yellow iPhone 5c and I love it, but updating it will add the Apple Watch app. And since I have no intention of buying the pricey Apple Watch, this app will take up valuable memory despite remaining unclicked.
That’s not the only thing putting me off from tapping the update button – sometimes upgrading can negatively impact key elements of your phone, such as its speed and battery life.
Does upgrading really downgrade your device?
To find out whether there was any truth to these suspicions we put the theory to the test in our lab.
We retested the battery life, processor speed and storage space on 26 smartphones and tablets after updating them to the latest version of Android or iOS. Of the 26 that we tested, 24 gained a lower mark in at least one of those categories, and 17 scored worse in two or more categories. In some cases they lost just a few minutes of battery life, or a few hundred megabytes of storage. But we also found some bigger differences – you can read all about these on our sister site Which? Tech Daily.
Pick and mix updates
So we’d like to see users given some control over what updates they apply to their smartphones. While security fixes should be mandatory, other updates such as new apps or cosmetic changes should be optional. And all updates should maintain or improve performance, rather than causing it to deteriorate. If manufacturers can’t guarantee this, then we think users should be able to roll back their device to the previous operating system.
Do you dutifully update your phone’s or tablet’s operating system? Did it make your device better or worse?