Sony Mobile’s official Xperia Android upgrade policy outlined

by XB on 1st February 2018

in Android, Featured Content, Firmware

One of the most frequent questions we receive, by far, is on firmware updates: “When will my phone be updated to Android XYZ”? Sony Mobile is one of the best manufacturers out there when it comes to providing new Android updates, at least for its flagship devices, while also keeping them up to date with timely security patches.

However, its policy on how long its Xperia devices are supported for has been somewhat vague. We can’t criticise Sony too hard, as this is no different to most other manufacturers out there. Only Google is very clear on how long its Pixel devices are expected to receive both Android upgrades and security patches for. Through experience, we’ve seen that Sony’s flagship models tend to be supported for around two years, while Sony’s mid-range devices are often dropped before then.

Well to put matters to rest, we now have Sony’s official Android upgrade policy, which confirms that its premium devices are supported for two years after the device has launched. For mid-range devices, the length of support is less clear, with Sony saying that it may not choose to upgrade if “testing does not meet our exacting standards and we feel the hardware isn’t capable of delivering a stable user experience.

The moral of the story is that if you’re one of those people who want to be assured of longer software support, then pick one of Sony’s flagship devices. Sony has also confirmed which Xperia devices will receive patches for the ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ CPU vulnerabilities. You can see the full list below.

Sony Mobile Android Upgrade Policy

“We aim to support all premium range devices with the latest Android updates for two years after the device has launched. We may choose not to upgrade a mid-range or entry-level device if testing does not meet our exacting standards and we feel the hardware isn’t capable of delivering a stable user experience.

“We provide a range of easily accessible resources within device settings, but also online to ensure users are able stay up to date with the latest information around Android on Sony Xperia products, these include:

An “Xperia and Android” page showcasing our latest Android features

Individual product support pages, where users can enter their device IMEI number to see full upgrade history and upcoming updates

A support forum where Sony staff and experts are on hand to help with issues, as well as provide advice on getting the most out of Sony Xperia devices

Sony Mobile Security Update Program

“Our Security Update Program is an on-going initiative to make regular protective patches available against the latest risks, vulnerabilities and flaws, including: Android security (released by Google), those from relevant third-party vendors and any Xperia-specific issues. Depending on timing and situation, security updates may be released separately, as part of firmware maintenance or within a full Android OS upgrade.

“Because the Security Update Program is available to our entire premium line, select mid-range devices – timing and phasing may vary by carrier.”

Meltdown and Spectre patches for Sony Xperia devices

“For the issues known as “Meltdown” and “Spectre”, we will / are in the process of making patches available for: Xperia XA1, Xperia XA1 Ultra, Xperia L1, Xperia XA1 Plus, Xperia XA2, Xperia XA2 Ultra, Xperia L2, Xperia X Performance, Xperia X, Xperia X Compact, Xperia XZ, Xperia XZ Premium, Xperia XZs, Xperia XZ1 and Xperia XZ1 Compact. Patched devices will have Android Security Patch dated 2018-01-05.”

  • Prince Mensah

    They may as well stop producing mid range and entry level phones…..
    Cheeky response imo to mid range users….

  • DBS

    “Only Google is very clear on how long its Pixel devices are expected to receive both Android upgrades and security patches”

    Well, Nokia too. They clearly said multiple times already that ALL their phones – no matter how much they cost – get two years of software updates and security patches.

    But it’s good Sony placed their cards on the table (specially after screwing over Z3 owners). At least now people will have clearer information to make an informed choice.

  • zappor

    Is there a way to tell exactly which phones are mid-range and which are premium etc.?

  • Kuze

    The price.

  • Neil Browning

    So does that mean that given the xz premium was launched on 22nd may 2017 then all android updatespatches released by Google up until 21st may 2019 will make it to the device?
    Because I don’t think it does..
    I still think it’s vague

  • Jerry Berglund

    Ok, that wasn’t Sonys fault. Sony wanted to give Xperia Z3 the update but qualcomm discontinued their support. Sadly that ment no update.

  • XZ is the premium segment
    XA – mid-range
    L – low-end

  • Prashanth Bagal

    Seems that sony stopped support for Xperia xa ultra

  • phil g

    While it’s good Sony is showing some transparency on updates, it’s a bit disappointing to see they will only support their devices for 2 years. Google’s devices get security patches for 3 years. I’m fine with Sony having less support for the mid and lower range phones. But flagships that cost close to $1000 should at least receive security patches for 3 years.

  • Wolf0491

    isn’t XZs down to like $400? Probably better deal than XA2 anyway

  • Actman

    Point no finger. Read before comment. EVEN if Qualcomm is to blamed, tell me why there are no security patches for Z3 Series as well?

  • azzido

    It’s not 2 years.
    I am with sony for yeaaars and most of the time it is 1,5 year. Sad but true.

    It os not about when Sony decide to deliver it but rather a short time of google delivery. Ao for example if google release new Android after flagship is on the market for 1 year and 10months and device will stillreceive this update then they could say they are releasing Android updates for 2 years. Unfortunately if you will check major releases against past flagships you will see these devices did not receive such updates if it was lije 1,5 year or longer (closer to 2 years) on the market. There are veryfew exceptions like first Xperia Z.

    Other than that it is 1,5 year, please do not lie…

  • azzido

    There is nothing like nokia in mobile anymore, there is only some chinese crap that bought the possibility to use the brand. It has nothing to do with the nokia’s mobile division from the past.

    It’s only another chinese crap among other chinese failures on the market.

  • azzido

    This is how it should be but unfortunately is not.
    “2 years” is just a marketing lie.

  • azzido

    Z or XZ are flagships, X from 2016 or XA2 = mid, rest including first XA, L, E, M or God only knows what = low ends.

    But I would rather say it is not related to naming on price only. In case they will release low end crap, call it XZ and want 2K euros for it doea not automatically means it is flagship.

    Specs matters.

  • Wolf0491

    oh i am not much of a FM radio listener. If that is important to you I would stick with one that has it.

  • Aldi Wan Kenobi

    This sounds fair enough. At least I know what I’ll get for the device that I choose to buy.

    Now Sony…show us the 2018 Xperia flagship! :-)

  • ziegler

    > There is nothing like nokia in mobile.

    I can agree on that. No other brand is working as hard as they are to bring software updates to all their phones, not only the premium and “select mid-tier” ones. ;)

    > there is only some chinese crap that bought the possibility to use the brand

    For your dismay, HMD is Finnish.

    > It has nothing to do with the nokia’s mobile division from the past.

    A lot of engineers and designers working with HMD were part of former Nokia Mobile.

    > It’s only another chinese crap among other chinese failures on the market.

    It’s your opinion.

  • azzido

    Xperia Note:

    I wish this was true, instead we will get same design with just trimmed top and bottom bezels :(

  • DBS

    You’re ABSOLUTELY wrong.

    1 – HMD is a FINNISH company (not Chinese), made of ex-Nokia executives, where Nokia has a sit in the Board of Directors with veto power.

    2 – It has nothing with Nokia’s D&S division because that division no longer exists. HMD’s employees, however, came from there.

    3 – Nokia phones are manufactured by Foxconn. If IN YOUR OPINION, Foxconn builds chinese crap, then I trust you’re NOT using a Sony phone. Nor a PlayStation. Because it’s Foxconn that builds those for Sony, just like they build the phones for Nokia/HMD.

  • DBS

    Qualcomm isn’t responsible, Google was. It was Google that decided not to certify the update.

    But it WAS Sony’s fault as well for using Z3 owners to test the update and then not even compensating them in ANY way for their free work (that’s what Z3 owners did, since they didn’t even get to enjoy the update they helped shape).

  • cicababa

    At least security fixes for the latest big vulnerabilities would be a nice gesture. I won’t buy any Xn device for horrible price just for a security fix. Instead my next phone won’t be an xperia.

  • azzido

    Do you think new Ultra will come?
    As a competition to Note series?
    By the way great music in render:

  • azzido

    No no no, it is chinese, it’s philosophy, mentality, design and quality is just chinese. No matter what there is no more space for nokia nowadays. They lost their chance. That was the biggest rape ever made in industry – this is what I call it what Microsoft did to this company. Is there anyone interested in buying it at all? There is nothing special with it and it is unable to compete with curent flagships. I see no reason why they want to alive this zombie brand.

    Lumia phones was good and had nice design and cameras. Microsoft’s software was crap, limited crap.

    R. I. P nokia…

  • DBS

    I will not indulge your willful ignorance or downright trolling. I’ll just say this:

    If it’s Chinese, so is Apple and Sony.


    “there is no more space for nokia nowadays.”

    Well, Nokia surpassed Sony in sales in a bunch of markets. And it outsold Sony in some as well. So…you might want to rethink that.

  • Great Dude

    Well, nowadays there is Project Treble starting Android 8.0 Oreo
    So, there is a better and easier way for Sony to updates their phones.

  • Great Dude

    2 years, although not perfect and I do think that Sony can upgrade for 3 years.
    2 years is still great for upgrading phones.

  • azzido

    Tell me why there is no Treble for XZ Premium? You can google it, confirmed sony ditched treble for this phone…

  • azzido

    Hmm I just checked, it is really not chinese, but I always thought it is, at least it looks like chinese phone. Front is not that bad but back is ugly. And there is NO black color!!! Why the hell? Black is standard and should always be there, you can add others but black or very similar is a must. This phone has nothing special to be honest. Pics from front and vack camera at the same time? But what for? It looks mediocre. It is like current Sony’s 960fps slow motion mode in crappy 720p, 30x zoom and extreme noises in every but perfect conditions = useless. A feature to check and forget. + I doubt there must be an app on the market who can do same trick with pic from toth cameras. Question what for? Noone needs it.

    The biggest issue of Nokia 8 for me is pure android. Sadly sony is coming closer and closer to pure androud too. The day it will be pure android will be the day I will abandon the brand.

    Nokia as a zombie on a mobile market is “too little, too late”. They have no resources and money to make COME BACK. Most probably that’s why I even considered it chinese. Cameras are now not top and not exceeding competition, rather behind. Design Ugly. Androud stock. No useful unique features. And high price. For what? Regular phone with zombie brand on top of it? Forget.

  • azzido

    Ok I already checked and confirmed it is not chinese, see one of my comments above. Really it outsols sony? Prove it somehow. Today if you want to join and survive in this business you habe to stand out from the crowd somehow. New nokia really does not have anything special. See ESSENTIAL PHONE, where is it now?

    And if you want to know what is the thing I dislike most about Xperias is that system is too close to stock Android. First on the list of things sony should correct in my opinion.

  • azzido

    Well tbh I did not turn on ps4 pro since I bought xbox one x so you are partially right :)

  • DBS

    Well at least you admitted you were wrong. Now:

    “Front is not that bad but back is ugly.”
    This is a matter of taste. I think the exact opposite. The front with those huge bezels is horrible. The backs are nicer.

    “And there is NO black color!!! Why the hell?”
    Of course there is. ALL their phones have a black version. ALL. And the Nokia 6 even has a black matte version and an Arte Black version (a glossy version).

    “This phone has nothing special to be honest.”

    With this I agree. Then again, I hate stock Android precisely because of that. So I share your feelings on the path Sony has been taking.
    I do see a LOT more problems with the Nokia 8 though.

    “Pics from front and vack camera at the same time? But what for?”

    If you find the answer, let me know. ’cause I think the “bothie” (as they call it) is the most stupid thing ever created since the invention of the selfie. And it’s not even new. This HAS been done before by Motorola.

    “Nokia as a zombie on a mobile market is “too little, too late”. They have no resources and money to make COME BACK.”

    The problem is that you didn’t understand how this is working. Nokia itself did NOT return to the phone market. They created a puppet company – HMD – to do it for them.
    However, it’s definitely not too little too late. At all. Nokia Technologies just reported growth of over 140% last year. HMD has become the third largest OEM in some markets already. And Nokia phones have been selling REALLY well. Most consumers who are buying them apparently don’t care.

    And while I agree with you on the lack of anything unique on their phones (calling the Nokia 8 a “flagship” is particularly insulting) and I also agree the camera is horrible (there it’s pretty well matched with Sony, unfortunately), the market disagrees. And, well, I can’t change facts nor can you.

    Nokia’s brand, however, is FAR from being a zombie brand. It’s still a tremendously valuable brand and their return to the mobile space has brought it from the 335th place in the top 500 brands worldwide to 188th in just 1 year.
    In that same year, Sony went from 130th to 126th.

    Just to reinforce the idea, Nokia’s brand is worth more than the following brands: eBay, Nintendo, LEGO, Red Bull, Western Digital, Qualcomm, Ferrari, Victoria’s Secret, Chanel, 20th Century Fox, Electronic Arts, Rolls-Royce, etc (source:

  • DBS

    Reports from IDC and Counterpoint indicate that by the end of 2017, Nokia was now already the 8th largest phone manufacturer and that in markets like the UK they were now the 3rd most sold brand, after Samsung and Apple. 4th in Germany.

    And whilst HMD has not released exact numbers, they sold 21 million phones in Q32017, and the estimate is that 3.4 million of them where smartphones. That’s the same amount Sony sold.

    The Essential Phone was ALWAYS going to be a flop. The ONLY people that were fanboying around it were tech bloggers. And that’s because Andy Rubin was the maker. Most consumers don’t know who the Hell is Andy and don’t care.

    And as I said, I agree with you on the stock Android stance. I deeply hate it too.

  • mixedfish

    Support for 2 years is only relevant for upgrades.

    Read the article. Security is on going till they decide.

  • hansip

    Well XA2 already got Oreo so can’t call them slouch either, and the battery life is definitely gonna be better. for what its worth, i’d pick XA2 over XZs any day.

  • hansip

    because it is easier to support Treble from the get go. If it comes as an upgrade, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong, because it involves re-partitioning the flash storage. i do wonder though if XA2 series support Treble from get go..

  • phil g

    I did read the article. Judging by past Xperia phones security updates stop after 2 years. Case in point the Z3 and Z5 series.

  • Luis

    Why stop mid ranges? I buy there mid ranges. Got the xa ultra for 199 and the xa1 ultra for 299. Bought phones when in sale, that’s only 500. Xa2 will be 450, ill take for a sale of 350. Total of 850, still cheaper than a premium and I get new android upgrade every year with every phone.

  • Warren Chang

    x performance was also a flagship as well, snapdragon 820 3gb, released May 2016 (2nd quarter 2016), precursor to XZ (4th quarter 2016), but successor to the Z5 (4th quarter 2015)

  • Warren Chang

    if not Z prefix ( apart from 2016 x performance), look at the system on a chip
    Snapdragon 845/835/820 High End
    Snapdragon 630/652/650 Mid Range
    Snapdragon 420/430/450 Entry Level

  • Marko

    The problem here is not Sony or Google. Qualcomm started that they only support the SoCs for 2years with drivers for Android. Therefore the others have to follow.
    Imagine there is a big hug in the LTE modem. If Sony says they support for 3years, they would be responsible for this bug after 2years. How shall Sony write a new driver for the LTE modem? Blame Qualcomm here.
    Security patches are in Android and software related, that’s a difference.

  • Gregory See

    Hey what Chinese? I smell racism here. Stop being a pussy will ya? Racism is not pre-eminent for you but it’s an idiotic act!

  • Farhan Ansari

    Snapdragon 810 also comes in premium devices

  • hakank

    you suck sony, I will never ever buy another sony smartphone, congratulations on losing very loyal customer.

  • AllanKafka

    I would love them, but I think they would really make sense if they came with an S-Pen equivalent. We can dream… :) If Sony makes a new Ultra with such specs, I will buy it.

  • Khalid Abdi

    Guys, Kaz Hirai will step aside from the CEO of Sony

  • Khillo81

    I think he’s talking about the current generation of phones and not the older ones. SD801 is also premium

  • deekbee

    Following in Apples footsteps and putting a beancounter in the top job.

  • washinma2424

    No Sony will continue to support the mid range division. It might not be at the same level as flagships but they still will support them. Remember they are considered “Super Mids” lol. :)

  • washinma2424

    What he said ^

  • washinma2424

    Okay, Okay, so Sony put their cards on the table. Now can we focus on Wi-Fi calling “true” T-mobile support. Maybe sell their “Super Mids” from carriers and try to figure out this US market. I really think now is the chance to strike with the right price point and camera tech in the XA2& XA2 Ultra they could make a little bit of money in the USA. They already are on the right track with the bigger batteries, SD630, and finally a working fingerprint. What do you guys think?

  • phil g

    I agree with you that Qualcomm shares the blame and I don’t blame Sony for only issuing 2 years worth of OS upgrades. What’s disappointing is Sony’s past history of security updates. If Google can provide 3 years of security updates, why can’t Sony? Especially on their flagship devices.

  • Great Dude

    My guess is that since it was released as a Nougat ,then updating it with Treble could create some problems for this one such as other phones :
    Also, please read the comments in this article, because someone mentioned that Oppo has solved this issue and moved to Treble.
    Sorry, didn’t notice that there was no treble for XZ Premium since Sony launched most recent phones with Android Oreo with Treble support

  • SolarBear28

    It would be nice if they could commit to a minimum time for security updates. I would be perfectly happy with 2 years android version updates and 3 years security updates in a flagship phone.

  • If Google can, why not some Chinese OEM? They don;t have to and 2 years is a lot considering how often most people change their devices. I don’t see a reason for more, Google gave 3 years not coz they are so good for their customers, but coz they want to “repay” them for all the bugs Pixel 2 and XL has… Don’t believe in “official” reasons…

  • F Michael

    Okay so where is our Z5 premium security update? This is a premium device. I can understand not updating to a newer android but I expect meltdown and spectre to be addressed.

  • F Michael

    Then explain why the z5 premium isn’t scheduled to receive the spectre, meltdown security update.

  • F Michael

    Sony is really shooting themselves in the foot with cutting security updates for the Z5 premium before releasing the XZ pro. There is nothing from Sony worth upgrading to hardware and spec wise. The XZ premium is a very small improvement over the z5 premium. It’s like they are pushing me to move to another company.

  • Zayed Kotayba

    I agree with you 100%

  • azzido

    I checked Nokia 8 in store recently. The only thing I liked about it was nice walpappers, a lot of nice pleassing eyed wallpapers, compared to Sony you had greater pre-installed availability of good looking walpappers. I do not know why sony reduces numer of it and most frequently leave the bad looking ones there :/

    I didn’t like the camera as it was quite linuted in options for me. I like manual mode in Sony whrre I can preset many options up to my taste of the final picture. The more options for me the better.

    I also liked few animations in nokia, rest of the things I prefered more sony. Especialky now they oficially confirmed 2 years support (in fact 1.5years, I explained it in other post).

  • azzido

    It is not racism.
    China is synonim of poor quality. Everything that was designed and engineered by chinese lacks of quality. China can only produce, as long as it is invented, designed and controlled by Europeans or Americans can stand for a quality.
    That’s the fact.

  • DBS

    Wallpapers cost money to license, that’s why ;)

    The camera on the Nokia 8 is atrocious. Just as bad as the ones on Xperia phones. The manual mode is even worse than Sony’s (and Sony’s manual mode is far from good with the thing fighting you all the way through the process). However, the Nokia camera will get an update that will bring the old Lumia camera UI and options to it.
    The Nokia 8 also has three advantages in the camera:
    – OIS
    – Zeiss lenses
    – camera2api fully enabled (which means RAW support).

    Xperias don’t have RAW support (because Sony said so) which is a shame. Why? Because while on the Nokia 8 you can install another camera and have it replace the stock one (including the Pixel Camera which is by far the best for point-and-shoot), on Xperias you’re stuck with the Sony camera OR with third party cameras that, however, can’t get RAW pictures to work on the post-processing themselves.

    Nokia has 2 years of software updates guaranteed for ALL phones (regardless of price). So, there Sony doesn’t have really any advantage. It’s the same (well, not really, Sony’s 2 years is just for flagships).

  • azzido

    I agree on the camera, especially Sony’s camera app version 2.0 (OMG! for so amny years on smartphone market they have ver. 2.0!!!) looks sooo outdated nowadays :/

    How about the battery, audia and design?
    In terms of battery sony is not giving biggest ones but has many special technologies among it like qNovo, STAMINA and other techniques that saves it or increase its life. After sony decided to put big batteries in its mid rangers for 2018 (3300mAh for XA2 that is 5.2″ device) I hoped for the same for flagships.

    Sadly, rumors says that for 5.7″ – 5.8″ there will be only 3420mAh battery which is rather pathetic considering they had more space to accompany bigger battery than XA2…

    There will be bad LG Oled inside and still same old boring design with just trimmed bezels a bit.

    Price is not known yet, but if it will be increased like S9 for this year I may switch to other brand, maybe HTC, who knows?

  • DBS

    Audio on Sony phones has gotten worse with time. They started to leave behind the push for High-Res audio support which is a shame. On the Nokia 8, I can’t vouch for it as I’ve never used it for audio.

    Battery life is also hard to judge as it depends on software optimisations. qNovo is worthless. Just marketing. Forget it. Stamina mode is the greatest advantage of Sony’s. Though stock Android now also has a battery saver mode, ripped of from it.

    LG’s OLED is the best in the TV market. Their mobile OLED is also good (not sAMOLED good, of course) as long as quality control is done. The V30 has a great screen and I’ve never heard any of the complaints that are coming out of iPixel users.

    Price…it’ll depend. Sony always overpriced their phones anyway. Which is why it’s NEVER a good deal to buy a phone on launch. Always wait a couple of months so that the market adjusts the price.
    Take the Note 8 for example: Samsung released it for 1000€ and not even two months after release it was already down to 800€.

  • azzido

    For me lg screen is a NO-go.
    Sorry. Nothing will change my mind. Skipping this one as it will suffer from lack of FM radio again + now even headphone jack…

    They continue to remove the fearures and functions while there are rumors design will be same old with just trimmed bezels a bit. I was counting for something completely fresh.

    Wishing sony good luck, maybe compact will be better and have 6gigs of ram? If not will monitor IFA as they may come with something better than MWC 2018.

Previous post:

Next post: