PSA: Galaxy S10 doesn’t support Seamless System Updates

Google has introduced many new features and changes in the Android operating system in recent years to make developing, releasing, and installing system updates easier and faster. Project Treble and Seamless System Updates are two such notable changes Google brought to Android. While Treble is aimed at cutting down the efforts and time required to develop and push system updates by OEMs, Seamless System Updates, also referred to as A/B (Seamless) System Updates, is focused on making installation of these updates easier and less risky.

Unlike Treble, which is supported by every Google-certified device launching with Android 8.0 Oreo and above, the Seamless System Updates feature is optional for device manufacturers. For reasons best known to Samsung, it hasn’t adopted the A/B System Updates for any of its devices so far and seems to be sticking with its decision for the Galaxy S10 lineup as well. It is worth noting that Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer skipping this convenience feature. The adoption has been limited mostly to devices with stock or close-to-stock Android experience.

Takes up more storage space

Borrowed from Chromebooks, the Seamless Updates feature enables Android devices to download and install updates in the background without any device downtime. This is achieved by having two system partitions that are copies of each other – one online (A) and the other offline (B), with the updates being installed on the latter even as the user continues to operate the device.

When rebooted post installation, the device simply boots into the partition with the updated OS without any additional prompts or time-consuming steps. The partition that was online (A) before the update then becomes the offline partition (B) and is used to install the next update that comes along. Apart from making installation of updates simpler, this method also makes it safer as there is always a partition to fall back on if the update fails.

The major disadvantage of this system is that it takes up more space, almost double, as there are two partitions. Given that Samsung’s latest flagship phones come with plenty of storage, it would have been a welcome change if the company equipped them with Seamless System Updates. Perhaps there is a technical limitation preventing Samsung from doing so? We are not sure.

  • Model: SM-G970F
  • Dimensions: 69.9 x 142.2 x 7.9mm
  • Display: 5.8” (146.5mm) Super AMOLED
  • CPU: Exynos 9820 Octa
  • Camera: 12 MP, CMOS F1.5/F2.4 (77°) & 16MP, CMOS F2.2 (123°)Ultra Wide
  • Model: SM-G973F
  • Dimensions: 70.4 x 149.9 x 7.8mm
  • Display: 6.1"(157.5mm) Super AMOLED
  • CPU: Exynos 9820 Octa
  • Camera: 12 MP.CMOS F2.4 45° Telephoto & 12MP F1.5 77° & 16MP F2.2 123° Ultra-wide
  • Model: SM-G975F
  • Dimensions: 74.1 x 157.6 x 7.8mm
  • Display: 6.4"(162.5mm) Super AMOLED
  • CPU: Exynos 9820 Octa
  • Camera: 12 MP.CMOS F2.4 45° Telephoto & 12MP F1.5/F2.4 77° & 16MP F2.2 123° Ultra-wide

View Comments (8)

  • Sometimes it's good to resits updates anyway!! Just pre ordered the S10 Plus - Free earbuds and other goodies I don't want to say as others may not have it!! Superb phone, kills my XS max!

  • Sounds to me Samsung didn't want to get a load of complaints when their 128GB S10 has only 90GB usable because of two ~20GB system partitions (size is a guess, but probably not far off, knowing Samsung).

    Samsung's single system partition on the S9 is larger than most A/B slot phones with both partitions combined, so I'm sure the S10 is no exception. And it's not like they're doing it to make rooting and custom recovery easier by having one partition with a dedicated recovery partition, because they make that the hardest of anyone.

    That said, with 128GB—and more—they really should have included this. It's pretty sad to still have an offline phone for 15 minutes while it's doing a system update. I'm much happier just installing in the background while the system is on and functioning, and then just reboot when I'm ready.

    Google needs to make the A/B seamless updates mandatory for Android Q for any phone comes with at least 64GB of storage.

  • Well id imagine at least on exynos handsets tbeir not ready or a matter of the quality/speed of nand their currently shipping(with branded variants). Lets not forget the samsung focus goofup thanks to att

  • Who needs this feature when samsung updates are a year apart. Lol I don't mind waiting for 15 mins once a year :p