How To: See if Your Phone Has A/B Partitions for Seamless Updates

See if Your Phone Has A/B Partitions for Seamless Updates

If your phone has an A/B partition layout, there are two virtual hard drives that each contain a copy of Android. After every restart, it picks a partition to boot from, then the other lays idle. The idle partition can be overwritten with a new copy of the OS and it won't affect the active one. So the next time you reboot, it just switches partitions and it's as if you updated instantly.

Google added this feature to Android back in 7.0 Nougat, but they never made it mandatory. Sadly, most manufacturers didn't adopt it, likely because they didn't want to lose advertised storage space for a second copy of the OS. They're finally making it a requirement for phones that ship with Android 11, but for any phone made in 2020 or earlier, here's how you see if your device has A/B partitions.

Checking for A/B Partitions

The easiest way to do this is to install Treble Check by developer KevinT. Credit to XDA for the find, but this app is free to install on the Play Store and can tell you in seconds if your device has dual partitions.

Once installed, just open it up and see what it says under "Seamless System Updates." If it says "Supported," congrats! Chin up if it doesn't, at least you know that your next phone will have the feature if it comes with Android 11 or higher.

The 2018 OnePlus 6 (left) supports seamless updates, but the 2020 Galaxy S20 (right) does not.

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Cover image and screenshots by Dallas Thomas/Gadget Hacks

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