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  • Writer's pictureTara Grey

Should You Always Do Computer & Smartphone Updates Right Away?

Whenever you see an article about computer and smartphone security, one of the tips will usually be to keep your device updated. When updates aren’t installed for a long time, it can lead to problems and make your computer or phone easier for a hacker to breach.

Those updates can include a mix of security and feature-related items that can improve device performance. But they can also cause some disruption if the update is a major one. It’s best to get some computer tutoring and guidance when it comes to your updates.

What’s in a Device Update?

There are three main types of updates that you’ll have on your devices:

  • Operating system update (an update to Windows or Mac)

  • Software/App update

  • Firmware update (firmware is software that tells a device how to run)

These updates can include things that don’t need to be installed immediately AND they can include things that should be installed as soon as possible.

Here are things that are usually included in PC and phone updates:

  • Security patches for vulnerabilities: These are important to install at soon as possible to keep your device secure.

  • Bug fixes: These are fixes for mistakes in software. They are not as urgent to install as security patches but can help your device work better.

  • New features & user interface (UI) upgrades: These are not necessary to install for the security of your device, but can give you more capabilities.

Do All Updates Have All these Things?

All updates are not the same. Some will contain only security patches; these will usually come out as the result of a hacker exploiting something in a software or operating system code. The software provider will fix their code to close that vulnerability and send out the patch urgently for customers to install.

Feature updates can come a little at a time and may include a mix of the three things above.

Large version updates will come less often (maybe every few years) and will be the type of update that makes your phone or PC look very different.

For example, Windows 11 was a large version update that represented a different operating system than Windows 10. Same for the latest Mac version, macOS 12 Monterey, this is a version update from macOS 11 Big Sur, the prior version.

You’ll know the difference between the smaller feature updates and the large version updates by looking at the numbers in the name. For example, a smaller feature update will have the number after the “dot” – such as version 3.1, 3.2, etc.

The big version updates will change the first number – such as 3.0, 4.0, etc.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Doing Your Device Updates Immediately


  • Security: Certain updates come through as security patches that need to be applied as soon as possible to ensure your device isn’t left vulnerable to a hacker because of a flaw with the operating system or software code.

  • Your Device Has the Latest Features: You get to take advantage of the latest features, which can make your computer easier to use or allow you to do new things that you couldn’t do before.

  • Fixes Known Problems: “Bugs” in software aren’t necessarily security-related. They can be a button that doesn’t work quite right or a menu that closes before you can click an option. Installing updates quickly can ensure any known bugs are removed and you don’t have to struggle with them.


  • Updates Can Cause Things to Go Wrong: It’s not unusual for an update to cause problems in an operating system or software. So, it can be good to wait a few months before installing one of those large operating system version updates (like going from Windows 10 to Windows 11). This gives the manufacturer time to issue fixes for any early problems before you upgrade.

  • Updates Might Not Be Compatible with All Your Apps: Updating may cause some of the applications on your computer or phone to essentially “break.” Because that app developer hasn’t yet issued their own update to match one for an operating system.

Tips for Updating Safely

It’s best to get the help of an IT professional when deciding to update your devices. You could run into problems, such as the error message that macOS Catalina users encountered when trying to upgrade to Big Sur. An IT support person can help ensure your upgrades go smoothly.

It’s important not to be afraid of updates. Remaining on an older version of your PC or phone’s operating system for years can leave you vulnerable to malware. After a while, if you don’t upgrade your device, then it loses support from the operating system developer.

This means that they have moved on to a newer version and are no longer issuing those important security updates for the outdated operating system.

Get Help Knowing When to Update & When to Wait

Come to CompuTara for help with your upgrades. Personalized tutoring and support are available for all types of operating systems and devices.

Schedule a tutoring session today! Call or text me at: 862-368-4893 or Email me here.


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