On Tuesday, Google posted patch notes for the imminent Android security update for December, which will roll out to all Android devices starting today. These monthly updates normally fix potential vulnerabilities for devices running Android 9, but this month’s update includes specific patches for Pixel phones in addition to the normal security updates. The patches include improved camera performance, fixes for screen flickering bugs and apps accidentally closing while running in the background, and several others.
While the majority of the patches are for Pixel 3 devices, a few apply to the previous Pixel models as well, so you’ll want to apply the update as soon as its available to take advantage. Here’s a rundown of all the changes coming to Pixel phones in December’s Android 9 security update:
Improved RAM performance and background app closure fix
Some Pixel 2 and 3 users have found that their phones will close apps running in the background prematurely, but this new update reportedly fixes that. Google refers to this change as “Improved memory performance in certain circumstances” for all Pixel 2, 2XL, 3 and 3XL phones, which will update the RAM management on these phones specifically to prevent unwanted app closures.
Ambient display flicker fix
The other marquee feature patch for the December security update is aimed at preventing screen flicker that occurs on Pixel 3 devices’ ambient lock screen, which Google refers to as “improved Always On Display triggering.”
Better camera performance
Google is touting improved camera capture performance for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3, which is also part of the RAM management fix. Pixel 3 users can also look forward to retooled autofocus behavior and improved shutter performance after they install the update.
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Media and Bluetooth improvements
There are a handful of changes being patched into various media apps and features across the entire Pixel phone line. First, Google has adjusted the volume behavior when connecting to a Bluetooth device, which applies to all Pixel phones. Furthermore, owners of models from the original Pixel or Pixel 2 lineups should see quicker response for unlocking your phone while connected over Bluetooth.
As for Pixel 3-specific media updates, Google says users can look forward to “improved contouring on HDR” when using the Pixel 3’s media apps, as well as better detection for when you plug in an audio device via the USB-C port.
Pixel stand updates
Pixel 3 owners who have picked up a Pixel Stand accessory for their Google Home will be happy to hear Google has “improved notification visibility” while your phone is docked to the Stand (though it’s unclear by the post as to what exactly those improvements are). You should also notice better Hotword recognition and performance as well.
Android Auto performance
Finally, the last two patches in December’s security update apply to Android Auto features, which expand and improve compatibility for Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 devices, as well as making overall improvements to Pixel 3 audio performance for some vehicles when using Android Auto.
How to download December’s Android 9 security update
As mentioned above, the update and all applicable features patches will roll out to all Android devices starting today, 12/5. You will get a system update notification when it’s available, at which point all you need to do is run the update.
However, Google also releases the OTA and factory images for all its updates, and the December update is currently live for those who prefer to flash OS updates to their devices manually.