There’s a number of reasons you might need to find out which version of Android your phone or tablet is running.
You may need to know which version you have to see whether certain apps will work.
Or, you may also have a technical problem with your phone or tablet, and you need to know your Android version to properly fix it.
Luckily, whichever version is running on your phone or tablet, you can easily find out in a few simple steps.
The very first version of Android was released in 2008.
In coming up with names for each Android update, Google turned to varieties of sweets and cakes, because, well why not?
Each new version takes the next letter alphabetically, so J (Jelly Bean) is version 4.3, and that is followed by version 4.4 K (KitKat) , followed by version 5 L (Lollipop), version 6 M (Marshmallow) and so on.
The most recent version of Android is called Android 7 Nougat. It was released on 22 August 2016.
Which devices are still using older versions of Android?
Not every version of Android is available for every device.
Even if your phone is still running a three-year-old version of Android it should still work with most apps.
If you find that your device is running anything older than Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, then unless you’ve simply never updated the software it’s unlikely that an update will be available. It’s likely that the manufacturer no longer supports the device.
How to check which version of Android you have
Most devices make it easy to check this basic information.
If you can’t access your Android version using this exact method, then it’s very likely to be similar and not totally different.
Everything starts with the Settings app on your phone or tablet.
In our example this is circled in orange on our phone’s home screen.
If you haven’t got Settings set up as a separate app, you can also go via Apps¬Settings to the same screen.
All you need to do is to tap on Settings and that will open up a menu that you can swipe across to find the General tab.
Once there, we can find out exactly which version of Android we’re running.
From here, we go to General¬About Device.
This is where we find the important stuff you need to know.
Also in the About Device menu you can alter whether you want to Download updates manually.
This is not necessary in the vast majority of cases, because Android will automatically update itself.
There are also options to run Scheduled software updates which are useful for bolstering your device’s security, view Status and Legal information, and also to see the Device name.
If you’ve changed the standard name of your phone or tablet to something personal, like Danielle’s Nexus 5, that’ll show up here.
Scroll down in the About Device menu to find your Android version.
You might have to tap on ‘Software information’ if you’re not seeing the version displayed.
In this example, a Samsung Galaxy S5, we can see it is running Android version 6.0.1, codenamed Marshmallow.
You’ll see that only the numerical value of the Android version is listed, and not its codename.
This is standard across all Android devices.
The menu here also lists some info you might find useful if you’re having a technical problem with your phone or tablet and you need to know specifics.
Here you can see your Model Number – in this instance it’s an SM-G901F.
Your Android security patch level details when the last time your device downloaded an update to Android’s code that deals with how your device is protected from malware, hijacking and other security vulnerabilities.
The next two options are pretty technical and for most users, you’ll never need to know what these are.
Baseband version is the software that connects your phone to your mobile network. This affects how you make calls or send texts.
Kernel version is the core of your Operating System. It’s basically another bit of source code which is the middleman between the device’s hardware and the software running on it, which includes apps.
That’s pretty much it for finding out which version of Android you have.
The next variety of Android, which is codenamed Android O, is currently in beta and has can be downloaded by developers here if they want to test it on devices and see if it works properly
Android O was announced at Google’s highly-anticipated I/O conference in May 2017.
The setting drew crowds of thousands of developers to the rock stadium venue for a kind of geek festival, where interface updates were greeted with the same whoops and cheers as a particularly impressive guitar solo.
Dave Burke, VP of Android told the rabid crowds: “It’s pretty incredible what you can do on a mobile phone these days, and how much we rely on them as computers in our pockets.
“Of course it’s very much a work in progress, but you can expect a release later on this summer.”
So there we have it: Android O will probably be with us by the end of September 2017.