Software Upgrade vs. Update: What is the Difference?

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Software Upgrade vs. Update: What is the Difference?
Should you upgrade or update the software on your smartphone and computer? Here’s what you should know about software upgrade vs. updates and their benefits!


Is it time for a software upgrade or update on your smartphone or computer? We’ve all been burned by an update that didn’t deliver like it said it would, or lost information because we upgraded without saving our work.

With the ever-expanding development of technology, it can be difficult to keep up with what’s what, what needs to be done, and what will deliver as it should. And because we’re becoming more and more reliant on our devices, it’s important to know.

Do you know the difference between an upgrade and an update of your technology? Whether you don’t at all or just have a couple clarifying questions, this guide will help.

To learn more about our business and residential services, check out our blog.

Software Upgrade

A software upgrade is the newest version of the software. It usually comes with major improvements or entirely different operating systems that change or alter the application, operating system, or software drastically.

A software upgrade would be adding a whole new component of security or a new feature. For example, each new iPhone usually comes with a soon-to-be-released software upgrade, and sometimes, older iPhone models can’t handle them.

Samsung lists these 3 benefits as reasons for upgrading:

  1. Improvements in performance and stability
  2. Resolve the potential problems by fixing bugs and errors
  3. OS upgrade and new features experience

Software upgrading is often so different from the previous version that you have to pay for the upgrade. Depending on the service agreement that you purchased it with, you may also have lifetime access to upgrades. You’ll have to read through the information you receive at the time of purchase.

Software Update

Alternatively, software updates, sometimes called a software patch, are something you download for free. It’s an elevated version of the application, operating system or software that you currently have. Usually, upgrades on these platforms promote that they’ve worked out bugs or kinks that were causing problems in a previous version of the software.

Anytime you get software updated, it’s usually with the goal of giving you a better experience working with technology you already have paid for or downloaded. Sometimes, that isn’t the case, however. For example, this recent Apple iPhone update has given users serious issues.

Usually, you don’t have to pay for an update, but in some cases, you may have to.

The Main Differences

Basically, think of an upgrade as a less frequent, more drastic change to the software you are currently using.

A software update, on the other hand, can be more frequent, fix little bugs or make small tweaks, and is often used to repair the product. This sums up the main difference between system updates.

Wrapping Up

The wording sounds similar, but knowing the difference between a software upgrade and an update is good for all of your devices. A major upgrade, for example, may cost money or time, whereas a software update could take minutes and be 100% free.

Are you interested in learning more about our consulting services? Contact us with questions about upgrades, updates, or anything else you may need for your business or residential computer needs.

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