Huawei – no monthly Google Android security updates for P20/Pro and earlier phones

Google Android security updates

The fact that Huawei is abandoning all Google Android phones from the P20/Pro or earlier by stopping monthly Google Android security updates shows what it thinks of Google Android – and its users!

Huawei users have contacted GadgetGuy saying that the last Google Android security updates were 1/8/2019. Our requests for clarification from Huawei have gone unanswered.

It seems now that the company will only roll out monthly Google Android security updates for Australian handsets including 2019 P30/Pro and Mate 30/Pro. Its 2018 series including the Mate20/Pro/RS are soon to get the chop.

It has introduced a new non-mandatory ‘quarterly’ update for other recent models (mainly its Lite versions and 2018/2019 Nova and Y-series). But is mysteriously missing the popular 2017 Mate 10/Pro and P10/Pro.

Of course, that also excludes its non-Google Android phones like the Mate 30/Pro and the P40/Pro that run Huawei’s EMUI 10. These have no Google Services, apps, Google Play access or Google Security.

You can check the full list here.

Are security updates important?

Android has about 85% of the smartphone market, and it is the biggest target. Cybercriminals look to exploit both known vulnerabilities and zero-day exploits.

If you don’t patch regularly, you are vulnerable to exploits discovered after the last security patch. That could be as simple as an automated bot roving the internet that tests your older phone and whammo – it can steal your contacts, data, photos, access the mic or track you.

Google Android security updates

Yes – security patches are vital for safe use of our most personal device.

GadgetGuy’s take – sorry Huawei – not nearly good enough not to provide Google Android security updates

How long do you expect to get a security update? The most common answer is at least four-to-five years.

And it seems users are not remotely worried about operating system updates (from Android 8 to 9 to 10, etc.) if the security patches keep coming.

Here are the significant players’ security patch policies

Google supplies monthly security updates to Huawei (and any other Google Android phone maker). After a cursory test, the updates go to Telco carriers that may overlay their network software then send it as an over-the-air-update.

Huawei is supposedly a premium handset maker. It rolls the security patches into its EMUI update that may also correct bugs or add new features. It has now shown that it is not interested in supporting handsets over two years old.

Compare that to

Samsung is still updating phones going back to the March 2016 Galaxy S7 as well as updating its UI or OS for any CVE vulnerabilities.

Nokia uses pure Android and guarantees two years of OS upgrades and three years of security patches.

Google Pixel is still rolling out updates for the original as well as its Nexus range.

Motorola uses pure Android and supports its Moto e5-series, g-6 series, Z2-series and all its 2018/19/20 phones with security patches.

LG ‘Product, Security Response Team, will periodically (usually monthly) publish bulletins and updates about security issues in LG handset.’

Even OPPO (and we presume its siblings realme and vivo) have stepped up. It now has an OPPO Security Response Centre dedicated to protecting the security of OPPO’s users, products and services, promoting cooperation and communications among security experts. It says that monthly Google Security patches are vital on flagships – Reno, Find X/X2/Pro and quarterly updates for the rest (A-series). But then we expect no more from a mass-market phone.

OPPO has also recently partnered with HackerOne to enhance the security of its phones. HackerOne’ pen-tests’ each model trying to find a way in and operates a bug bounty program.

We did not canvas the lower cost providers like Alcatel, Mintt, Aspera, but we can tell you that at best these get quarterly security updates for the model year.

And if you have a MediaTek based smartphone, you will need the March 2020 security update to patch a vulnerability affecting that processor brand.

  1. According to my gatherings Huawei is notorious for leaving certain regions out in the cold when it comes to support. Own both P20 & Pro here in Canada with the level of consitent support I’ve received being pretty poor over the course.

  2. P20 & Pro were my first Huawei’s loving the hardware, still do. On the update front though EMUI updates (9.0/9.1) were delayed by months and monthly security patches fell waaaay short of Huawei’s claim (in writing) they’d be introduced monthly. So my less than stellar experience on the support front has me now looking elsewhere for my smartphone needs, especially now that it appears “all” support has been severed including quarterly patches… Still waiting on EMUI 10 which was to be released starting in Feb running into Mar, now May is the NEW Feb/Mar smh.

    1. There is a growing ‘movement’ that is asking what tech is not made in China. We won’t buy into geopolitics but at this time the only two non-Chinese made smartphones are Samsung (all models as they closed their factories in China late last year) and LG’s flagship models.
      As for PCs, it is Taiwanese based companies like Acer and Asus although they both have some Chinese manufacturing facilities.
      Good old US companies like Apple that have 99.9% of their stuff made in China is suffering from red-neck sentiment. One of the smarter US companies Dell now has ‘assembly’ in Ireland, Brazil and Malaysia that supplies the Australian markets – but I suspect its chassis and motherboards are made in China. See
      One thing is for sure the Made in China 2025 mandate will force a lot of US tech giants to move manufacturing elsewhere.

      1. Own or owned many different devices manufactured by a wide array of OEMs but that isn’t my concern here. It’s Android and the level of support (OS, patches) that appears to be still very much lacking. At present own two Huawei’s, an LG, and a Motorola, all are waiting on Android-10 and are months behind in their security patches…To-date none were consistent nor timely in any of their updates. Have a Pixel too so we’re good there but that makes choice limited if only a select few OEMs are providing a reasonable level of support.

        So for me it has little to do with “who’s manufacturing” but rather the fact anyone one can enter the Android space, with whatever device, and have zero accountability on the support front. The same old 2-years worth of support (maybe) has gotten very old considering the ever increasing device prices.

        1. You are 100% right – it is who does updates best. Nokia seems to be in the lead here although Samsung has really picked up in the past couple of years. LG seems to do it OK in South Korea but the small volume here means it lacks leverage with carriers to get roll outs.
          But by far the worst (based on reader feedback) is Haiwei and its promised updates and OS updates.

          1. Yeah still so hit-n-miss on the support front in the Android space. What really gets me is those OEMs who put it in writing they’ll provide “monthly” updates then fail to do so, and that one has to run the full course (usually 2-years) before you actually know where you stood.

            Heard good things about Nokia in the support department so might jump onboard one day, my last Nokia’s were in the Windows Phone days loving them. Moved away from Samsung after owning the GS7 & Edge. Mainly because didn’t like the curved displays and now it’s their S-series pricing… A-series entices but found out recently they are relegated to quarterly security patches, unsure in terms of letter upgrades whether it’s one or the usual two apply here.

            As for Huawei, were pretty much done with them in regards to buying another as not having Google Services is a no-go for me. Will continue to utilize my present device as the hardware has worked well and flawlessly over the course.

            And as you pointed out w/LG in regards to volumes. Think regions do play a big role with many OEMs as to who’s going to receive a reasonable amount of support, a country with low volumes/sales will likely suffer more. And yes I’m gathering there are bottlenecks dealing w/carriers too. In the end the consumer usually takes the brunt of it.

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