Android 6.0 Marshmallow will show your device's "security patch level"

Android 6.0 Marshmallow will show your device's
Timely software updates have always been a troublesome topic when talking about Android, especially considering the confusion added with some security updates coming as part of Google Play services rather than the Android OS. However, Google has a new plan with Android 6.0 Marshmallow to make security patches more visible to users.

Android Marshmallow will begin rolling out to Nexus devices next week and there is a small change that could have big repercussions: under the "About" settings menu, Google has added a new line for "Android security patch level", which will show a date for the latest security update pushed to a user's device. If all goes well, anyone checking this line will see a date within the past month because Google and some manufacturers promised to push monthly security updates following the recent Stagefright mess. Unfortunately, there will be no way for users to take action when their device is lagging behind other than calling the manufacturer to complain. 

Adrian Ludwig, Google's head of Android Security, is confident that the tactic will result in big changes by manufacturers and carriers.


This is a pretty standard passive-aggressive tactic from Google. Rather than mandating that manufacturers push security updates, Google will simply shine a light on those who lag behind. Of course, users will have to actively dig down multiple levels in the Settings menu to see this information, so it's unclear exactly how much of a difference it will make. At best, it will shame manufacturers into being better about pushing updates, but at worst it will be an easy way to point out a flaw in the Android ecosystem that Google won't be able to fix without taking a more hardline stance. 

Android 6.0 Marshmallow will show your device's "security patch level"

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8 Comments

1. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

I don't think a date is a suitable format for a "level" of something. People usually expect levels to be in integers, like 8 or 15. This would just confuse those who aren't knowledgable about mobile security, or IT security in general

3. vincelongman

Posts: 5628; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Still less confusing compared to pushing the security update to older phones and calling it 6.0 Marshmallow, even though the update only has Lollipop's features (i.e. what Apple does)

5. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

No, I think this is far more idiot friendly than just a number. Because the average user won't really check the security level anyway and you could give them a letter, number or smiley/sadface it would mean the same thing to them. This at least lets you know when you got your update which you can correlate with the date a vulnerability is found. A level number would mean nothing to anyone seeing as how it is just an arbitrary number.

2. Cyberchum

Posts: 1016; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Will make little to no difference. How many times does an average user visit that about screen? Usually go there to tap away on the build number after flashing ROM.

4. Mr.Mr.Upgrade

Posts: 474; Member since: Aug 30, 2011

Why all the :'(? Is it because your skin droids wont receive updates until next year or because apple over charge you for everything like Xbox its useless?

6. KINGJUAN27

Posts: 210; Member since: Jul 02, 2012

Please do a Marshmallow OS version review! I'm dying to see what the easter egg is! Haha

8. aegislash

Posts: 1454; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

It isn't that exciting, unfortunately. Basically the same as the one from Lollipop, except the lollipops are marshmallows on sticks.

7. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

If not put into settings, should they put it next to the clock? Or maybe occupy 20% of the screen for showing the level? Or is this just some info that once every few months would be interesting to have a peek at?

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