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Android® Operating System (OS) FAQs

General Information

  1. What is the Android operating system (OS)?

    Android is an OS created by Google® for use on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. It's available on devices made by a variety of manufacturers, giving you more choices of device style and pricing. Also, with the Android OS, you can customize your device in many ways.

    You can learn more on the Android OS Support page.

  2. How can I find out which Android OS version is on my device?

    The steps to find the current OS version vary by device. Below are general instructions that work for most Android devices. For detailed instructions about a specific device, please check the User Guide.

    To find out which Android OS is on your device:

    1. Open your device's Settings.
    2. Tap About Phone or About Device.
    3. Tap Android Version to display your version information.

  3. How do I update my device to the latest version of the Android OS?

    Device models receive software updates at different times. Typically, you'll receive a notification on your device, letting you know there's an update available.

    You can also check the Advanced Devices - Software Updates page regularly to see if your device can be updated. Instructions for completing an OS update are available on that page as well.

  4. Is there a cost to update my Android OS?

    No, updating your Android OS is free. You won't be charged for the update or for the data usage to receive the update.

  5. Where can I learn more about OS updates?

  6. Do I need a Gmail® account to use an Android device?

    No, you don't. However, it's highly recommended because many of the services require you to sign in with a Gmail account to use them. For example, you won't be able to access Google Play™ to download apps.

    You can set up a free Gmail account online or from your device.

  7. What is Google Play?

    Google Play is the Android storefront where you can shop for apps, games, music, videos and books for your Android device. It offers both free and paid apps. Any items you download from Google Play will also be available on other compatible Android devices you've connected to your Google account.

  8. Are Android devices capable of receiving future OTA (Over the Air) software updates?

    Yes, you can receive OTA software updates on Android devices.

  9. Can I transfer content, like contacts, pictures and video, from one Android device to another?

    Yes, using your Google account, you can sync and transfer contacts across multiple Android devices. You just need to sign in to each device using your same Google username and password.

    You can also sync media (e.g., pictures, videos, etc.) through Verizon Cloud.

  10. Do Android devices dedicate a certain amount of memory to apps, widgets, etc?

    No, there's not dedicated memory on the device for apps, widgets, etc.

  11. How many Android apps can I have open at one time?

    The number of simultaneous apps open will vary by device because the Android OS will stop some idle apps from running. Additionally, it's recommended that you close apps you're not using to conserve your device's energy and help it run at its optimal speed.

  12. Can I sync my Android device with my corporate email and calendars?

    Yes, you can sync your Android device with your corporate email, contacts and calendar through Exchange. You can even view your work and personal email accounts in a single, unified inbox.

    For device-specific instructions on how to sync your email, go to our Interactive Simulators page. Select your device from the list and select the Email section.

  13. Can I purchase an Android device online?

    Yes, you can purchase Android devices online on our Android smartphones page.

  14. If Google crashes, will there be issues with the Android apps?

    No, Google is a collection of services that run independently from Google Play apps. Individual Google services, such as Gmail or Google Calendar, might not receive updates, or you may not be able to access a certain function if a specific service stops working. For example, if Google Play is impacted, you may not be able to access the Google Play Store on your device.

Android Versions

  1. What is the latest version of Android?

    The latest version of Android OS is 10, released in September 2019. Learn more about OS 10, including its key features.

    Older versions of Android include:

  2. Is Pie available for my device?

    Pie is only available on select Android devices. Some newly released Android devices will ship with Pie preloaded.

    If your device is running an older Android version, you can regularly check the Advanced Devices - Software Updates page to see if the Pie update is available for your device. Each manufacturer determines which devices they will update and what the schedule will be.

  3. How do I access Quick Settings in Lollipop?

    Quick Settings allows you to access frequently used settings including connectivity settings, flashlight and screen rotation. To access Quick Settings, swipe down twice from the top of the screen.

  4. What is Immersive mode in KitKat, and how do I exit Immersive mode?

    Immersive mode is a full-screen feature in KitKat. It uses your entire screen while reading books, watching movies, playing games and listening to music to maximize the available viewing area.

    The notification bar, navigation buttons and battery icon are hidden from view while you're in this mode. To restore these items and exit Immersive mode, swipe your finger along the edge of the top or bottom of the screen.

  5. Will I still be able to use my apps if I upgrade Android?

    Yes, however you may need to reinstall* certain apps. For more information about a specific app, go to Google Play.

    *Data usage may apply.


  1. Where can I get help troubleshooting an issue with my Android device?

    If you're having an issue with your Android device, our online Troubleshooting Assistant may be able to help. Select your device name from the list to view the troubleshooting topics available.

  2. Android is a trademark of Google, Inc.