Article ID : 00338158 / Last Modified : 17/04/2024Print

Frequently Asked Questions about Xperia software updates

    Table of contents: 


    What is a software update? 

    A software update consists of firmware over-the-air (FOTA), which is the easiest way to send system updates wirelessly to your Xperia phone. It includes integral parts such as Android operating systems (OS), security patches, bug fixes, and other firmware updates.


      What is an Android operating system?

      An Android operating system (OS) is the core part of the software that keeps your mobile device running (think of it like the inside of a car engine).

      It consists of the following parts:

      • Digital Rights Management (DRM) codes
      • The digital eSIM card
      • High-security features
      • Drivers such as the:
        • Modem
        • Core programs (e.g. programs used to make a call, send a text message, set the screen lock)
        • Essential default programs (e.g. Sony camera app, Clock app, Alarm app)
        • Additional default programs (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook) that can be disabled or removed
        • Programs downloaded via the Google Play Store (e.g. WhatsApp)

      When an Android OS is released (e.g. 12, 13, 14), the core part and drivers are updated, along with other features of your mobile device (e.g. security patches, bug fixes).


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      Why does my Xperia device need a software update? 

      Software updates ensure your mobile device receives the latest features and system enhancements available to keep it running smoothly and efficiently (e.g. firmware and security updates).

      Benefits of a software update include:

      • Making sure all parts of the software are up to date and secure.
      • Keeping your personal data safe from hackers and other security threats.
      • Optimising system settings (e.g. menu options, shortcut keys).
      • Adding new programs (e.g. Find My Device app compatibility, Nearby Share feature).
      • Removing apps that are no longer supported by your device.
      • Updating the Digital Rights Management (DRM) codes for copyrighted material to prevent unauthorised use.


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      How do I check for new software, and how do I install an update on my Xperia device? 

      When a software update is available for your Xperia device, you will normally see a  (System Update icon) notification in the status bar.

      To see notifications in the status bar, you have to enable notification dots:

      1. Go to Settings.
      2. Type 'notification dot' in the search bar.
      3. Select your preferred option from the search results (i.e. which notification dots you want to turn on).
      4. Tap to enable.

      The easiest way to see which software updates are available is to long-press the notification button in the status bar. This method works for all notification statuses, including:

      • Normal
      • Low-priority
      • Recommended
      • Priority

      Alternatively, you can perform the following steps:

      1. Drag the status bar downwards to open the Notification panel.
      2. Select the desired system update and tap UPDATE.
      3. Wait for the download to finish.
      4. Open the Notification panel again if it’s closed, and then tap RESTART.
         

      There are also several ways you can manually check for new software updates:

      From the Settings menu 

       From the Google Play Store

       From the Support app

       From the Xperia Companion PC application


      Notes:

      • If you're using an Xperia device with multiple users (such as a tablet), check that you're logged in as the owner:
        • Go to Settings > System > Multiple users. Make sure Signed in as Owner appears below.
        • Tap to open Multiple users.
        • If Allow multiple users is enabled, navigate to Users to see everyone who has access to the device.
      • We recommend downloading new software via a Wi-Fi network instead of a mobile network to avoid data traffic costs.


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      Why haven't I received an update yet? 

      We cannot provide an exact date for when a specific update will be available for your Xperia device. This is because not all mobile devices receive software updates at the same time.

      Release dates depend on multiple factors, including:

      • Country/region
      • Data operator
        • Your network provider may decide not to release specific updates for specific models.
      • Model release date
        • Software updates are not unlimited and depend on when your model was released. After a certain period, your phone will no longer receive updates. 
      • Internal storage memory
        • If your mobile device has less than 500 Mb of free internal storage memory, you won’t be able to install an update and may not even be notified of software available.
        • To free up internal memory on your device:
          • Go to Settings > Storage > Free up space. The Storage menu allows you to see which apps or programs are using the most space on your device.
      • Battery life
        • A 50% battery charge is the minimum required to perform a software update. If below, your device will deny installation requests.
        • While an 80% battery charge is a good recommendation, it’s always best to fully charge your device before starting an update.


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      What Android version does my Xperia device come with? 

      Your Xperia device is always boxed with the newest software available during production. The lowest Android version number is usually the Android version out of the box. However, the same smartphone can be released with one version at the launch date (e.g. Android 12), but later production batches can have a higher version preinstalled (e.g. Android 13).

      Follow the steps below to check the Android version of your Xperia device:

      1. Find and tap Settings.
      2. The next steps will depend on your Android version:
        • Select About phone > Android version.
        • Select System > About phone > Android version.

      Refer to this article for more details: What Android version does my Xperia phone come with?.


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      What new features or improvements can I expect from a software update? 

      The exact updates available depend on the software version. Visit the Sony Support website for more details on the software available for your Xperia device.

      Updates may include:

      • Bug fixes
      • Security patches
      • Additional firmware upgrades
      • New app features and compatibility

      Refer to this article to learn more about what's offered with the latest Android version: Introducing Android 14.


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      Is it necessary to install every software update or can I skip some? 

      Yes, software updates are important and improve the performance of your Xperia device. We highly recomend installing them as soon as they're available.

      Furthermore, the ability to skip software updates depends on the production date of your mobile device and/or when you unbox it.

      • Example: Let’s say you buy an Xperia device that was released a year ago. Most of our devices receive a yearly Android update and monthly bug fixes/security updates. As soon as you unbox the phone, you may have to perform several updates (one after another) until you reach the latest version.
      • If you purchase and use an Xperia device soon after its release, it will automatically come with the latest Android version available and will either require no or only a few minor updates. In other words, you can skip the process of having to download each update individually.

      Note: You can use the Xperia Companion PC app to automatically update your Xperia device to the latest software version available.


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      How will a software update affect my mobile apps and data? 

      Software updates offer plenty of advantages. In fact, they update the operating system (OS), introduce new features, and bring new bug fixes and security patches that enhance the overall performance of your mobile device.

      As your Xperia phone works on implementing these new updates, you may notice minor changes immediately after installing an update, such as:

      • A changed interface or functionality in your device.
      • Third-party apps that may not be compatible (yet) with the newest updated software version that was just installed.
      • A slow-running device.
        • It may take one or two days for your device software to stabilise following an update. Some processes initiated by the update will continue running in the background for some time (e.g. file organisation, default app updates). Running these background processes keeps the processor busy and may temporarily slow your device. However, this is normal behaviour and will resolve itself once the processes finish updating.


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      Do I need to back up my data before performing a software update? 

      If you have Backup by Google One enabled, your Xperia device will automatically back up your data over a Wi-Fi network.

      Software updates received via firmware over-the-air (FOTA) won't affect your data. However, before performing a software update, we highly recommend checking that the following data is backed up:

      • Apps and their data (e.g. game high scores)
      • Bookmarks
      • Calendar items
      • Contacts and call history
      • Device settings
      • Internal storage files (e.g. photos, videos, music)
      • Messages sent via SMS, MMS, and email
      • Notes

      Alternatively, you can follow the steps below to perform a manual backup of your data:

      From the Settings menu

      From the Support app


      Note: After December 2023, it’s no longer possible to back up your data using the Xperia Companion PC app. Refer to the following article for more details: Perform a software update and repair using Xperia Companion.


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      What should I do if I encounter an error during or after a software update? 

      Before you start: 

      • Check that your Xperia device has a stable Wi-Fi or data connection. This is necessary to avoid any interruptions during the update process.
      • Ensure your device is fully charged (or at least at 50%). Otherwise, it will deny installation requests.
      • If you perform a software repair or factory reset, make sure you know your Google account username and password beforehand. Depending on your security settings, you may need them to access your Xperia device after the repair or reset procedure. If you don’t remember your login details, you can recover them on the Google Account Recovery page.


      Despite elaborate testing by Sony and its partners, sometimes your Xperia device may experience minor issues during or after the updating process, such as:

      • Your mobile device fails to download and install an update.
      • You can’t start up your device after an update.

        If you experience any of these issues, follow the troubleshooting steps below:

        Force the device to shut down

        Force the device to restart

        Perform a software repair

        Perform a factory reset

        For reboot loops 

         Contact us 


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        How long does it take to install a software update? 

        How long a software update takes to install depends on different factors such as your mobile device, internet speed, update size, and the type of update (e.g. Android OS, bug fix, firmware, security patch, etc.).

        Your Xperia device undergoes the following processes during a software update:

        1. The software file is downloaded on your device.
          • The file size can be between 50 megabytes (MB) and 1.5 gigabytes (GB). The download time depends on your network speed.
        2. The file is unpacked.
          • This takes around 5 minutes to complete.
        3. The programs are installed.
          • This process includes three installation steps and takes between 5 and 25 minutes.
        4. The system reboots.
          • This normally takes around 2 minutes.
        5. The software is integrated into your mobile device. 
          • This process begins after your phone restarts and takes around 2 minutes to complete.


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        Can I return to the previous software version if I don't like the latest update? 

        Once a new software version has been installed, it is not possible for your Xperia device to return to a previous Android version. Our service centers are also unable to perform such a downgrade. Furthermore, a repair centre will always update the software to the latest version available.


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        Will a software update affect the performance or battery life of my Xperia device? 

        New software versions boost your device’s performance by keeping it secure and up to date. This is possible through a series of updates which include:

        • Bug fixes
        • Firmware upgrades
        • Power usage and battery optimisation (i.e. improved battery life)
        • Security patches

        If you notice your Xperia phone draining more battery or running slower after performing a software update, there’s no need to worry. This is completely normal and is a result of the system working hard to download and install the new software. In fact, software updates often aim to optimise battery-draining factors such as background processes, high-power apps and games, and outdated operating systems to ensure your device runs faster, longer, and more efficiently than before. 

        Your mobile device will improve/return to normal after two days.


        Note: Not all software updates will have the same effect on your battery life. For optimal results, we recommend monitoring your power usage.

        The following steps may differ depending on your Android version:

        1. Go to Settings > Battery > Battery usage.
        2. Tap the drop-down menu and select View by apps or View by systems. 
          • You can see which apps or system programs use the most power. You can also view details such as screen time and battery usage since your last full charge.


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        What happens if I ignore software updates for an extended period of time? 

        Software updates are meant to improve the overall performance and security status of your Xperia device. Without them, your device may experience the following issues:

        • It will run slower
        • The battery life will drain faster
        • Your apps may not function properly
        • Your device becomes vulnerable to security threats
        • You’ll miss out on the latest features available

        In addition, you’ll likely receive constant notifications on your device prompting you to download and install the latest updates.

        In worst case scenarios:

        • Your phone will no longer be secure
        • High-security apps (e.g. banking apps) will stop working.


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        Can I disable automatic software updates? 

        Yes, you can disable automatic software updates for your device's system and apps. However, we don't recommend it.

        Follow the steps below if you're certain you want to disable automatic updates:

        1. Go to Settings > System > Software update.
        2. Tap the three vertical dots (Menu icon) in the upper right corner.
        3. Select Settings > Auto update system or Auto update apps.
        4. Select Off, On, or Wi-Fi only.
          • Select the Wi-Fi only option to avoid mobile data charges.

        Note: To prevent automatic app updates, you have to disable the automatic update feature in both the Settings menu and the Google Play Store.


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          Can I remove the system software update notification icon? 

          Yes, the notification icon can be removed. However, it can only be removed temporarily, not permanently. Keep in mind that the update notification will reappear after restarting your Xperia device, or if you manually search for an update.

          Follow the steps below to temporarily remove the notification icon on your Xperia phone:

          1. The following steps depend on your Android version:
            • Find and tap Settings > Apps > See all [number of apps] apps.
            • Find and tap Settings > Apps > All apps.
            • Find and tap Settings > Apps & notifications > See all [number of apps] apps.
            • Find and tap Settings > Apps & notifications > Apps info.
          2. Tap the three vertical dots (Menu icon) > Show system.
          3. Find (or search for) Software update and tap to open.
          4. The following steps depend on your Android version:
            • Select Storage and cache > CLEAR STORAGE.
            • Select Storage > CLEAR DATA.


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          Can I postpone software updates or schedule them to install at a later time? 

          Yes, you can postpone software updates by disabling the automatic update feature. Jump to this section for more details (click or tap the link).

          You can also remove the system software update notification icon on your Xperia device. Jump to this section for more details (click or tap the link).

          Note: Your mobile device will need to restart in order to complete the software update. You can delay the scheduled restart of your phone by selecting [Cancel] in the notification message.


          Keep in mind the following:
          • You will continue to receive update notifications until you download and install the latest software available for your device.
          • If your mobile device has received every software update available, but you haven’t installed all of them, it doesn’t mean it’s no longer possible to perform the upgrades.
            • For example: Let’s say your device remains unusued for two years, and during that time, it receives update notifications for Android 11, 12, and 13. You'll have the chance to install these updates the next time you turn on the device. 
          • If your Xperia device is older, or you've postponed several software updates, you may need to update your device multiple times to catch up to the latest version available.


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          How often will I receive software updates? 

          On average, your Xperia device will receive a yearly Android update and monthly updates such as bug fixes and security patches.

          However, the frequency of software updates available for your device depends on different factors such as your model, network provider, and region or country.
           

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          How long will Sony provide software updates for my Xperia device? 

          The amount of software updates your Xperia phone receives depends on your exact model and release date. After a certain period, your device will no longer receive updates. In addition, certain network operators and markets may choose not to implement updates for specific models. 


          For current software updates:

          Visit the Sony Support website for more information on the latest software available for your Xperia smartphone.
           

          For future software updates:

          For Xperia 10 III, 10 IV, and 10 V models

          For other Xperia models


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          How do I update the drivers on my Xperia phone? 

          The drivers on your Xperia device are updated when you install an official software update.

          Jump to this section (click or tap the link) for more details on how to check for software updates.

          For developers: Our Xperia devices already come pre-installed with drivers, but as a developer, you sometimes need access to specific drivers. You can find and download them on the official Sony Developer website.


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          Can I download and install my own software? 

          Yes, you can install your own software (firmware and apps) on your Xperia device. Not all brands allow this, but Sony does.

           Download your own software 

          Download your own apps


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          How do I perform a software repair? 

          Before you start:
          • When you perform a software repair using the Xperia Companion app, the internal storage of your mobile device gets overwritten (e.g. photos, videos, music, etc.). 
          • Make sure to back up any important data saved on the internal memory of your Xperia device. Files stored on an external SD card do not get erased during a software repair.
          • Make a note of your Google account username and password. Depending on your security settings, you may need them to access your device after the repair procedure. If you don’t remember your login details, you can recover them on the Google Account Recovery page.
            Note: Some Xperia models may require a waiting period before you can use your recovered login details to access your device.


          If you don’t already have it on your PC, download and install the Xperia Companion app:

          1. Open the Xperia Companion app.
          2. Under Manage your Xperia, click Software repair.
          3. Follow the on-screen instructions.


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          Will I lose my data if I perform a factory reset? 

          Yes, a factory reset erases all the personal data stored on the internal memory of your Xperia device, including: 

          • Apps and their data (e.g. game high scores)
          • Bookmarks
          • Calendar items
          • Contacts and call history
          • Device settings
          • Internal storage files (e.g. photos, videos, music)
          • Messages sent via SMS, MMS, and email
          • Notes
             
          Before you start:
          • Make sure to back up any important data saved on the internal memory of your Xperia device.
          • Make a note of your Google account username and password. Depending on your security settings, you may need them to access your device after a reset procedure. If you don’t remember your login details, you can recover them on the Google Account Recovery page.
          • If you decide to transfer ownership to someone else (e.g. sell your smartphone or tablet), we recommend performing a factory reset first to clear your data from the device.
          • Any pre-installed (default) apps on your mobile device will return even if you disabled them before performing the reset procedure.


          How to perform a factory reset:


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