Google extends software support for Pixel 8 phones to a full seven years

Your move, Apple.

JOSH EDELSON via Getty Images

Google has committed to providing seven full years of software support for it's Pixel 8 phones, the company announced Wednesday during its Made by Google event. That might not be all that exciting to shoppers, at least compared to new hardware or OS features, but it puts Google well ahead of the competition — and may ultimately be a boon for both consumers and the environment.

Previously, Google's policy on updates to support its phones was five years (at least for the Pixel 6 and later), which in itself was nothing to scoff at. Not only will an extra two years potentially save consumers from shelling out for a brand new handset, but it may save some aging Pixels from ending up in a landfill quite as quickly. An estimated five billion phones were tossed in the trash in 2022 alone, potentially leading to toxic chemicals leeching into groundwater, among other associated hazards. It's impossible to say how many consumers will take full advantage of the increased shelf life of their Pixels, either because they're itching for a new-and-better model, or because (like most smartphones these days) repairability still leaves something to be desired.

Regardless, Google is obviously stepping in the right direction, and hopefully putting pressure on some of its competitors too. Apple has not made a hard commitment to lengthening its software support, but its phones typically see five to six years of updates. On the Android side of things, support can be significantly more grim: an exhaustive list of manufacturer update policies by Android Authority revealed that most brands only offer about two years of support, with many refusing to commit to any length of time, period. One of the few exceptions is Samsung, which in February of 2022 announced it would provide four generations of Android updates and five years of security patches to many of its models.

Follow all of the news live from Google’s 2023 Pixel event right here.

Correction, October 4, 2023, 3:09 PM ET: This post has been update to specify that while the prior phones retain the five-year support timeline, the new seven-year commitment is applicable only to the Pixel 8 series.

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