Yesterday Google pushed out a November security patch for its Pixel phones, but notably the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL did not get the update.
Pixel users feared the worst: No update means the end of support for the 2018 flagship. It’s true. Google first confirmed to 9to5Google and then separately to Gizmodo that it plans to push out one more update to the Pixel 3 lineup before ending support for good.
The final update for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL should arrive sometime in Q1 2022. This tracks for Google’s typical “kill cycle,” which is a phrase that I just made up to describe when the company sunsets a product.
The original Pixel suffered a similar ending of sorts when the Pixel 5 took center stage—it took some time for its last over-the-air update to roll out. But at the very least, the Pixel 3 gets Google’s big Android 12 update, and it even sports the new Material You user interface.
The writing has been on the wall for the Pixel 3 for some time. It launched three years ago, and on Google’s support page it states clearly that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL were guaranteed Android version updates and security updates only until October 2021. I guess Pixel 3 owners are getting a little bit more time than promised.
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will be supported by Google much longer than their predecessors, which is one reason to upgrade. The Pixel 6 is guaranteed Android version updates until October 2024. Security updates are guaranteed for two years past that, through October 2026.
Google will end support for the Pixel 5 in 2023, while the Pixel 4 will get its last update next year. The Pixel 4a, 4a 5G, and 5a will be supported well into the last half of 2023, and the Pixel 3a and 3a XL will see updates through May 2022.
If you own a Pixel 3 or 3 XL, your phone won’t stop suddenly stop working, but the lack of updates leaves you vulnerable to bugs or security flaws that won’t be getting fixed. At that point, upgrading to a new phone might be worth it.