August 2021 Android security update rolls out to supported Pixel phones
Google consistently publishes a new Android Security Bulletin on the first Monday of every month, and they’ve done so for nearly every month in the last few years. Thus, it’s no surprise that today, Google published the Android Security Bulletin for August 2021, though the company did have one big surprise for us that’s separate from its monthly Android security update.
August 2021 Security Update Bulletin
You can view the Android Security Bulletin for the month of August 2021 here, but as always, don’t expect to find detailed write-ups of every patched vulnerability. The latest Android security update fixes numerous bugs ranging in severity from high to critical, with many of the bugs affecting closed-source vendor components from Qualcomm, MediaTek, and others. Devices running patch level 2021-08-01 do not contain fixes for these closed-source vendor components, but those devices running patch level 2021-08-05 do. For more information on how the monthly Android security update process works, we recommend reading our explainer available here.
Pixel Update Bulletin/Functional Update
In addition to patching the vulnerabilities affecting all Android devices, the August 2021 Android security update also patches a few issues exclusively affecting Google’s own Pixel phones. These are documented in the Pixel Update Bulletin for the month of August 2021, which can be viewed here.
Today’s update doesn’t bring the Android 12 codebase to Pixel phones, but we can expect that next month’s update will be the big one. The update rolling out to supported Pixel phones today will feature the 2021-08-05 patch level and has the following build number:
- Pixel 3 (XL): RQ3A.210805.001.A1
- Pixel 3a (XL): RQ3A.210805.001.A1
- Pixel 4 (XL): RQ3A.210805.001.A1
- Pixel 4a: RQ3A.210805.001.A1
- Pixel 4a (5G): RQ3A.210805.001.A1
- Pixel 5: RQ3A.210805.001.A1
Besides the security issues mentioned in the Pixel Update Bulletin, the August 2021 update also includes a fix to prevent the accidental triggering of the Google Assistant.
The August 2021 Android security update is rolling out now for all supported Pixel phones, but you can skip the wait by sideloading the OTA file or flashing the latest factory image.
If you own another device, you’ll have to wait for your device OEM or carrier to roll out the update. That could take days or weeks depending on the OEM, though some like Samsung have already begun to roll out the update.