Of all the Pixel phones in Google’s backlog, the Pixel 3a is my favorite. It’s the best affordable phone I’ve ever used, and it remains relatively bug-free by Pixel standards. Unfortunately, Google will no longer offer software or security updates for the Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XL. It’s time to shop for a new phone.
Update, 9/7/22: Oddly enough, Google continued to push Pixel 3a updates after this article was published in May of 2022. The company is now rolling out an Android 12L update for the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL (via 9to5Google). This appears to be the final Pixel 3a update.
As promised by Google, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL received exactly three years of software and security updates. Both phones end their life running Android 12, which is impressive—most Android devices (especially budget phones) only receive a single OS update, if that.
Now, I’m sure you don’t need the latest Android operating system. But without security updates, your Pixel 3a will slowly grow vulnerable to hackers and malware. Google may push an emergency security update to the Pixel 3a if it discovers a major security flaw, but there are no guarantees.
I suggest replacing your Pixel 3a soon, ideally by the end of the year. Google and Samsung’s latest devices come with five years of security updates, so you may want to shop for a Pixel 6, Galaxy S21, or Galaxy S22 to avoid replacing your phone so often. (You could also wait for the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7, which launch later this year.)
If you’re shopping on a budget, you may want to replace your Pixel 3a with the Pixel 5a. It regularly goes on sale for under $400 and will receive security updates until 2024.