Android phones and tablets aren’t all kept up-to-date with the current version of Android. It’s often helpful to know which version of Android a specific phone or tablet is running so you can get help with something or determine whether a feature is present.
The version of Android itself isn’t the only bit of information you might want to find. Your device name, manufacturer, and carrier also affect the software on your device. Even the Linux kernel version and the new “Android security patch level” are important.
How to Find Your Android Version Number and Security Patch Level
This information is available in Android’s system-wide Settings screen. Whatever version of Android you’re using and whatever customizations your device’s version of Android has, you should be able to get to it in the same way.
Open the “app drawer” — the entire list of apps installed on your phone. It’s almost always a button at the bottom of your home screen, in the center.
Scroll through the list of installed apps and look for an app named “Settings”. Tap the Settings icon to enter Android’s system-wide Settings app.
Scroll down on the Settings screen and look for an “About phone” or “About tablet” option. You’ll usually find this at the very bottom of the main Settings screen, under System.
Look for “Android version” to find the version of Android installed on your device.
It just displays the version number, not the code name — for example, it says “Android 6.0” instead of “Android 6.0 Marshmallow”. You’ll have to perform a web search or look up a list of Android codenames if you want to know the code name associated with the version. Here’s a current list:
Android 7.0: Nougat
Android 6.0: Marshmallow
Android 5.0 – 5.1.1: Lollipop
Android 4.4 – 4.4.4: Kit Kat
Android 4.1 – 4.3.1: Jelly Bean
Android 4.0 – 4.0.4: Ice Cream Sandwich
Android 3.0 – 3.2.6: Honeycomb
Android 2.3 – 2.3.7: Gingerbread
Android 2.2 – 2.2.3: Froyo
Android 2.0 – 2.1: Eclair
Android 1.6: Donut
Android 1.5: Cupcake
Other fields here are also relevant. The “Model number” field tells you the name of your device, for example.
“Build number” and “Kernel version” give you information about the exact build of Android on your device and its Linux kernel version and build date. Traditionally, this information has been helpful in determining whether your device has the latest security patches. In Android 6.0, Google added an “Android patch security level” field here that tells you when your device last received security patches.
The exact version of Android you’re using isn’t the only important information. If you want to get help for a specific device, its manufacturer is also important — for example, Samsung’s version of Android include the TouchWiz interface, many Samsung apps, and extensive interface modifications performed by Samsung.
Microsoft doesn’t allow PC manufacturers to change the way the Windows Start menu, taskbar, and Control Panel works, but Google lets Android device manufacturers run wild and change almost anything they want. Different devices from the same manufacturer will also have different customizations, so knowing the exact device you’re using — as well as its manufacturer — is crucial when trying to get information or even custom ROMs for a specific device online.