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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Ian Smith was arrested and is in custody at a Dallas County Jail detention center.
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Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • April 22, 2024

Software Upgrades vs. Updates: The Difference Explained


Looking to install additional files?

Whether it’s for games or software, you’ll need to constantly download and install updates or patches. These patches and new features are more frequent and common.

But do you need an update or an upgrade to your current system?

Despite sounding the same, there are major differences between software upgrades and updates. Learning the difference may save your breath in explaining to your software technician what you need for your system.

Read on to learn the difference between updating and upgrading your software. This knowledge can prove useful when you want to improve your existing systems.

1. Patch Size

The biggest difference is often in the patch’s file size. An update is often smaller. It often carries new features for the current applications of the device. These are often small and you can install them in under a minute.

There are bigger updates for devices sometimes. They can range from 1GB to 100GB. You can still consider them as updates, though, as long as they don’t change the essence of the software. This is where upgrades differ from updates.

Software upgrades offer a significant change in the way the software handles. This is often a major improvement over the previous version of the software. This can also bring new interfaces and new features that the previous version didn’t have.

The only important thing to note is that the software should feel brand new. This often means that the file size is bigger than the file size of updates. There are cases when you need to uninstall the previous version to make sure the upgrade has room to install itself.

2. Updates Have a Version History

Another important thing to note is that updates often have a version history associated with them. You can search them on the Internet and you often see the differences of these updates. You can also see what new features they added and old ones they removed when you look up their version histories.

This is apparent in smartphones like in Android smartphones and Apple iPhones. Their companies often have a list of the updates they’ve made. You will notice that the smaller updates often cause the update to grow a decimal point after their initial update number.

This is because the version number will only change when a major patch will apply to their devices. This lets people know that there’s been a significant change in their operating systems during the update.

You can also revert to previous updates if you want. This is so you can use different software that isn’t compatible with the newer version yet.

3. Upgrades Go Beyond Computers and Mobile Devices

Upgrades can also pertain to hardware upgrades. People often experience them when they’re upgrading their personal computers. This is because there are better parts and systems available in the market every year.

These also happen to a lot of electronic devices. When Apple releases a new iPhone, that’s an upgrade to the older version. Even when people consider a new device by a smartphone company to be unique, it’s still an upgrade to other devices.

This is because the essence of a hardware upgrade is that it makes a better and more efficient device. It’s also why you can consider improvements to other devices to be an upgrade. As long as they release a better version of the device, it’s an upgrade to the older one.

This often causes you to swap out the old device for a newer one that supports the new features. It can also mean that the device is more compact, faster, and more efficient.

4. Frequency

Updates happen more often than upgrades. This is because tweaks to the software are easier to pull off. It’s also faster to go into a line of code to fix something.

This may cause some problems along the lines with the code. This is still faster than coming up with a better version of the software, though. This is the reason for updates being more frequent than upgrades.

An upgrade takes more time to develop. These often need a team of people to program and code the new upgrade. They also need a team to come up with newer features to make the upgrade worth getting.

A featureless upgrade is often unappealing. People will feel like it’s not worth their time to get the new upgrade. This will mean that the development team wasted their time on an upgrade that’s not worth getting.

5. Impact on Hardware

Upgrades and updates impact the device’s hardware in different ways. Updates often give the hardware some problems depending on how old the device is. Some updates make the battery life shorter because of the new features it offers.

Some devices can’t handle the update. This often causes them to lag and have a slower response time to the operator’s actions. Android Pie is an example of this.

The new operating system for Android devices provided them with new features. Older devices weren’t capable of handling some of the new features, though. This made them unusable to users of older Android devices.

This is a great reason to upgrade your hardware on the regular. Upgrading your hardware means replacing it with a better model. This means everything about the new device is better.

New devices often have bigger storage capacity and battery life. They also perform faster than older devices.

6. How They Improve Software

Upgrading often helps the hardware more than the software. This is because they provide software improvements to make use of the new hardware. This doesn’t mean that upgrades are only for the hardware, though.

Upgrades often add new features to the existing software. Certain devices may have a new functional feature for you to enjoy after an upgrade. It also improves the software by modernizing it to fit how people may find it useful.

The update fixes a software instead of adding new features. Updates are to improve on the existing software to make them less buggy and have fewer glitches. There may also be new features added, but these are smaller and support the main function of the software.

An update to a 3D scanner is a great example of this. It improved the existing reverse engineering feature. The update also added a new feature that supported the main function of the scanner.

7. Importance of Upgrades

Upgrading software and hardware alike is important for many reasons. Installing an upgrade makes sure the software is compatible with the up-to-date hardware. It also enables the software to receive more updates on time.

Upgrading the software is also important to make it more functional. This makes it possible for the software to read modern file types. Doing this allows the software to be useful in the modern setting.

Hardware upgrades are also important to ensure that you’re able to use the latest software. It also helps you by being a more efficient device. This will consume less power, making it last longer.

8. Importance of Updates

Updating your software brings a lot of new features and tweaks to some existing ones. The best reason to update your software is for protection. New

online threats are coming out on the regular thanks to hackers and virus programs.

Updating your software also makes it possible for you to access new functions. People always demand more functionality in their software. This makes companies grind out features to keep their customers happy.

Some updates are also useful for your productivity. These help extend the battery life of the device when you use the software. This is because some companies remove unnecessary features to make them more efficient.

These are the reasons you should push your team to go through with a software update.

9. Costs of Updates and Upgrades

There are notable differences in the prices of updates and upgrades. Upgrades often have a cost associated with them. This is because they bring more features for the software than updates do.

Companies also work hard to bring new features with each upgrade to their software. Adding a price to each update is reasonable.

Don’t worry about buying the software when a new upgrade is around the corner. Some companies give the upgrade for free as long as you register an account on their website.

Updates don’t cost you a cent. This is because they release lots of updates at a time. Charging for updates will make no sense and make consumers angry.

It’s also because they only provide minor changes. They’re often ones that fix bugs in the software. Updates only correct the flaws the developers overlooked before.

Know What You Need to Know About Software Upgrades and Updates Today

Software upgrades differ from software updates in a lot of ways. Learn about their differences and get the right enhancement for your software today!

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