Google Pixel 3a Budget Phones to Stop Getting Updates in July

A photo of the Google Pixel 3a

The Pixel 3a was Google’s first budget smartphone.
Photo: Sam Rutherford / Gizmodo

Every time a Pixel smartphone approaches its expiration date after fighting the good fight against Apple’s market dominanceI’m tempted to give it a proper Viking funeral. The next models deserving of this commemorative treatment are the Pixel 3a and 3a XL. Both phones were the first in Google’s economy smartphone lineup, and both will be missed when they receive their last software update sometime in July.

Android Police discovered this when reaching out to Google about another Pixel 3a update, which rolled out earlier this week. The update includes necessary security patches and a fix for crashing launchers and random display wake-ups. However, the official support page for these phones hasn’t been updated to reflect this information, and it still lists this month’s latest update as the last guaranteed one.

Back in 2019, Google promised to support the Pixel 3a series with up to three years of software and security updates. It’s since expanded on those offerings for its newer Pixel devices. Models like the Pixel 6 guarantee security updates for four years from the launch date. (Google had initially promised five when debuting the Pixel 6, but alas.)

If you recall, the Pixel 3a was Google’s inaugural budget device. It came in cool, vibrant colors, like a light lavender with a prominent neon orange power button. The 3a also introduced the idea that you could get an Android device with a capable camera and consistent software updates starting at $400.

The Pixel A-series has since spawned an entire category of devices, with names like Samsung and Motorola Entering the ring with similarly-priced offerings. Those two companies have also committed to a software update timeline, with Motorola offering up to four years of security updates and Samsung offering a full five.

Last year, Google told The Verge that “the frequency and categories of updates will depend on the capabilities and needs” of the Pixel hardware. Indeed, it sounds like the abilities of the Pixel 3a are no longer for this world. It is a bummer for Pixel 3a owners who were holding out hope they’d get the update to Android 13. But that isn’t expected until the fall, well after that July end date.


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