Google Community Team

It's more important than ever to keep your fleet of devices secure and optimized for work. That’s where Google system updates come into play.


Delivering updates from Google to the Android operating system, Google Play Store, and Google Play services, Google system updates make your Android devices more secure and reliable, whilst introducing new, useful features.


But these need to be delivered in a timely way that works for your business and employees. So with that in mind, let’s cover the two main tools that can help you manage your Google system updates.


System update policies


Ideal for: Dedicated devices


Pros: Keeps devices up-to-date, without relying on end-users to accept update prompts.


Context: Between kiosk mode and digital signage, some devices are constantly running, and don’t necessarily have an assigned end-user to accept update and reboot prompts. In these cases, system update policies offer the perfect solution. 


They update the device either as soon as the update becomes available, or during a pre-set maintenance window to avoid active hours, so devices remain up-to-date and secure, without user input. There are also options to postpone updates, and freeze updates for a set period for particularly busy times of the year. 


Google Play system updates (also referred to as Mainline updates) are automatically downloaded as soon as they become available, but are not installed until the next device reboot - whether that’s prompted by user, admin or policy.


Compliance policies


Ideal for: Knowledge workers


Pros: Gives users the flexibility to update on their own terms, whilst making sure devices don’t fall out of compliance.


Context: For devices that are assigned to a user, pushing updates as soon as they become available may not always be practical. There’s nothing worse than joining an important client-call flustered and embarrassingly late, after an ill-timed system update. But, then again, companies want to make sure they’re making the most of the new features and security patches that come with each update. 


Compliance policies offer a balance between security and usability. They ensure that devices remain current against a pre-set standard, whilst giving workers the flexibility to apply updates at a time that suits their work schedule. The device will be tested according to certain signals, such as when the last update was made, or what version OS is being used, and prompt the user to update within a certain time-frame. 


Next steps


These policies can be layered to make sure updates across your fleet are handled securely, in a way that works for your business. For more details on these tools, check out this Help Centre article.


You can see what’s new to Google System update policies here


Make sure to also explore the documentation from your EMM provider for support on how these tools can be configured. Let’s get those system updates up-to-date!


Have you got a system in place to manage updates? Does your business use one of these methods or a combination of the both?


Let us know if and how you leverage these tools - we’d love to hear how they work for you!



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