Operating System (OS) FAQs

General Information

  1. What is an operating system (OS)?

    An OS is the main system software that allows your device to run. It determines how everything on the screen is laid out and how your device functions. It also gives you access to apps that are designed for your device's OS.

    Examples of different operating systems include Android™, Apple® iOS, Windows® Phone and basic phone.

  2. What is an OS update (system update)?

    An OS update is a new version of the OS that's available to install on a device.

  3. What's the difference between an OS update (system update) and a software update?

    Update Type Description Example
    OS update Update to a new version of the device OS (often includes significant changes to the onscreen look and how certain features work) Android device update from Marshmallow (6.0) to Nougat (7.0)
    Software update Minor update to current OS version (may include fixes to issues or enhancements to certain features) Nougat update from version 7.1.1 to 7.1.2
  4. How do I know when an OS update is available for my device?

    You'll receive a notification on your device when an OS update is available for you to install.

    You can also refer to the Advanced Devices - Software Updates page to see if a new version of your OS has been released for your device or if an update is coming soon.

  5. Why should I update my device OS?

    It's important to have the most current operating system software on your devices.

    Software updates can improve device stability and provide a variety of additional benefits, including user experience improvements, bug fixes and the latest security patches.

  6. What should I know before installing an OS update?

    Before installing an OS update, please consider the following information:

    • Your device should have at least 50% battery level, or connect it to a wall outlet.

    • You should be in a Verizon Wireless coverage area. Or if you're roaming outside of the coverage area, you can connect to Wi-Fi to receive the update.

    • You may not be able to use your device while the update is being installed.

    • Your device may restart automatically. This shouldn't take longer than a few minutes.

    For more information about a specific device OS update, refer to our Advanced Devices - Software Updates page.

  7. Can I revert to a previous OS version on my device?

    OS updates provide bug fixes, device security updates and it's recommended that you always install the most up-to-date version.

    Because of this, we don't offer a way to revert to an older OS version.

  8. Can I get apps designed for a different OS on my device?

    No, apps are only designed to run on one specific OS. Apps that are designed for a different OS won't be available for you to download in the storefront on your device. For example, an app that was designed for Android won't be able to run on an Apple device, and vice versa.

    However, most popular apps have multiple versions available, so you can use them with more than one OS. For example, you may be able to play a game on your Android device with a friend that has an Apple device because there’s a version for each OS.

    To find out if an app is available for your OS, visit the OS's storefront:

    • Android - Google Play™ Store
    • Apple iOS - App® Store
    • Windows Phone - Windows Phone Store
    • Basic phones - Media Store
  9. Can I switch to a different OS on my device?

    No, you can't switch to a different OS. Your device is designed specifically for the OS it came with. However, your device's OS may be eligible for an update.

    You can refer to the Advanced Devices - Software Updates page to see if a new version of your OS has been released for your device.

  10. Android is a trademark of Google, Inc. Use of this trademark is subject to Google Permissions. iOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the US and other countries and is used under license. BlackBerry and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of BlackBerry and are registered and/or used in the US and countries around the world. Used under license from BlackBerry. Windows Phone is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Apple is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.