Phone software updates are like Russian roulette for battery life

Software updates are always recommended by manufactures as each comes with new features, bug fixes and most importantly security updates – but it’s a lottery when it comes to whether the update will improve every aspect of your phone.

New research has shown how updating your phone software can affect your storage and your battery life – for better and for worse.

The research comes from UK based publication Which? testing both phones and tablets before and after software updates.

In the testing, the Nexus 6P lost three hours of its battery life when jumping from Android 6.0 Marshmallow to 7.0 Nougat, dropping from the average web browsing time of 716 minutes to 535 minutes.

Unpredictable winners

The Samsung Galaxy Tab A tablet had the opposite effect though with its latest update going up to 4.5 hours. But the iPhone 6 was also negatively affected when updating to iOS 10 from iOS 8, losing 38 minutes of its web browsing time.

Storage is also a major issue with updates too - the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 lost 3GB of its 24GB of available storage in only one update.

On the flip side, the Moto X Force gained 2.5GB of storage with its latest software update.

It's quite unpredictable, and there's no way of knowing how an update is going to affect your phone before you press the button.

You should be wary when you update your phone or tablet and know it may have an effect on your storage and battery either way. That said, ensure you always keep your devices up-to-date to ensure each is secure and has the newest features.

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.