Google Pixel 3a series gets a surprise June 2022 update without a new security patch
Google released the June 2022 security patch last Monday, along with a new Pixel feature Drop. Notably, the Pixel 3a and 3a XL were missing from the list. This was not surprising since these devices hit their “guaranteed security updates” deadline in May. The Pixel 3a series is also not a part of the QPR3 beta program, further confirming that it has effectively reached its end of life in terms of feature updates. Nonetheless, the phone duo did receive a new software build this month.
If you own a Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XL, you should be receiving software version SP2A.220505.006 as an incremental OTA update sized about 10 MB. Both the unlocked and the Verizon models are eligible for the new build. This is a rather minor bump from May’s update (SP2A.220505.002), which suggests that the release is focused on bug fixes and not new features. The underlying Android security patch level of the build is still May 2022, too.
Google did something similar with the Pixel 3 series. While these devices received their last guaranteed update in October 2021, the company rolled out an intermediate bugfix update for them in January 2022 before seeding the sunset OTA in February. Apparently, the Pixel 3a lineup is getting a similar treatment, although its final update will land “by July 2022.” This will give Google more time to squash all the reported bugs and ensure a stable user experience. All major security exploits patched until that point on other Pixels are also expected to be merged in the final update.
The Pixel 3a and 3a XL debuted back in May 2019 and are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 chipset. While old on the run, Google could have taken a cue from Samsung and provided these smartphones with quarterly/bi-annual security updates for a longer period, since they still offer respectable performance by today’s standards.
After the Pixel 3a series, the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL are next in line to reach the end of their software support in October 2022.