Android security has been an issue for several years, and Samsung wants to help its users understand if their phones are running the most recent software update, with the strongest security onboard. It has therefore added a new feature called the Android Security Patch Level to selected phones.
Samsung has added the new feature in the latest updates to the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. These phones now have some extra information in the About Phone section of Settings. The Android Security Patch Level heading, first spotted by Android Central, shows the most recent update applied on the device by month, date, and year.
What is even more significant is the fact that Google implemented this same strategy on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but these Samsung devices are still on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. Samsung is actually implementing Marshmallow features in Lollipop for the sake of security, and that’s an awesome thing.
It follows this summer’s panic attack known as Stagefright, when Google vowed to make monthly security patches to thwart future vulnerabilities, That was a grand gesture, but unfortunately Google can’t control the billion plus Android devices that are out in the wild, only a handful of Nexus and Android One devices. It’s such a problem that we commented that Android will never be safe until something is done.
Manufacturers are starting to take notice, with many committing to pushing Google’s monthly security updates to their phones. These companies will probably be waiting to implement the Android Security Patch Level feature in the Marshmallow update, so until then it won’t be easy finding out what security updates, if any, your device has received.
You have to give kudos to Samsung on this one. The company has been beaten up badly over the years for its TouchWiz interface and even security concerns related to only its phones, but this is a step in the right direction, and positive news for the future.