Some Android phone makers are starting to get serious about offering long(er) term support for their phones, while others ship phones that may never see a single security update, much less a major operating system update.

You’d think Google would be at the head of the class here, since the company’s Pixel phones run Google-made Android software. And indeed, if you buy a Pixel 6 this year, it’ll keep getting security updates until at least October, 2026. But if you bought an older phone, you may not have been so lucky: the Google Pixel 3, for example, was released in 2018 and the phone recently received its final update.

Here’s the thing though: as Motherboard’s Aaron Gordon points out, the Google Pixel 3 is still a pretty good phone. The software is relatively up to date, and the specs are good enough to run most recent Android apps. And even if it never receives a major Android operating system update, it could continue to pick up new features through app updates and updates rolled out to Google Play Services.

But without any new security updates, the phone is essentially a ticking time bomb. As new vulnerabilities are discovered and not patched, using an older phone that no longer receives security updates starts to look like you’re just asking to get hacked.

And so Gordon finds himself “forced to dump a perfectly good phone.” Heck, it’s a phone that you can still buy new for around $190 and up.

So that got me wondering. Is the end of security updates enough for you to consider dropping a phone that’s otherwise still useful?

Personally I find that my phones usually suffer from battery degradation long before the security updates stop. So I end up buying a new phone every 2-3 years anyway because it’s increasingly rare to find a phone with a user replaceable battery (unless you opt for niche devices like the PinePhone Pro or Fairphone 4).

But non-removable batteries and security updates that end after a few years are both symptoms of the same problem: planned obsolescence. It’s not really in the interest of most phone makers to let you keep using the same device for more than a few years, because they want you to buy a new one.

Google Is Forcing Me to Dump a Perfectly Good Phone [Motherboard]

As we bid farewell to security updates for the Google Pixel 3 and ponder whether 3 years of support is really “a great experience” for users, I wonder: do you keep using phones after they stops receiving updates? I guess some never get them at all, so…

Huawei’s P50 Pro, P50 Pocket get wider release with glaring omissions [CNET]

Huawei P50 Pocket foldable phone and P50 Pro flagships hit Europe this week, but neither will be available in the US. Like all recent Huawei Android devices though, they’ll ship without Google Play Services. They also lack 5G.

Lenovo Legion Phone 3 Elite and Legion Phone 3 Pro leak with multiple gaming features and up to 18 GB of RAM [NotebookCheck]

Lenovo’s next-gen gaming phones could have monster specs, dual fans for cooling, big batteries, 144 Hz displays, and lots of gaming buttons (4 x ultrasonic shoulder, 2 x capacitive rear, 2x onscreen force). There have been a number of official teasers from Lenovo, plus some unofficial leaks recently. NotebookCheck’s article does a pretty good job of summarizing what we know so far.

Meet the $299 Simply NUC Everglades fanless mini PC [FanlessTech]

The new Simply NUC Everglades is a small, fanless mini PC with an Intel Celeron J4125 Gemini Lake Refresh processor for $299 and up (the starting price is for a barebones model with 4GB RAM, no storage, and no OS).

Android apps on Windows 11 for Windows Insiders Release Preview Channel [Microsoft]

Next month Microsoft will roll out a public preview of the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA), allowing you to run Android apps on Windows 11 stable. Ahead of that launch, WSA is now available in the Release Preview channel for Windows Insiders.

Keep up on the latest headlines by following Liliputing on Twitter and Facebook and follow @LinuxSmartphone on Twitter and Facebook for the latest news on open source mobile phones.

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14 replies on “Lilbits: What do you do when your phone stops receiving security updates?”

  1. There is my missing answer in the poll: “When there is another new phone available with borders on both sides, upper for camera and speaker and lower for physical fingerprint reader button, and two other buttons for actions.”

  2. This is one area where iPhones trump Android. Apple supports their devices with security (and OS) updates far into their life cycles.
    However, Android has the upper hand with rooting and custom ROMs. That could feasibly extend a smartphone’s life indefinitely. I know someone who still rocks a a Samsung Galaxy S5 running some ROM that’s based on Android 10, and it runs pretty dang well.

  3. I have a Pixel 3 that I had GrapheneOS on (now replaced with a Pixel 5 with GrapheneOS as well). I could have flashed LineageOS for the Pixel 3 but I installed DivestOS – a “hardened” deGoogled ROM with which the bootloader can be re-locked. Running open-source apps from F-Droid app store and Play Store apps not requiring Google Services Framework (GSF) using the Aurora app store.

  4. I was just starting to get used to my Pixel 3. And it’s obsolete already? This sucks.

  5. Personally, I tend to use a phone as a primary for 2 years and backup for another 2 but my Huawei Mate 9 which Igot I 2017 is still going strong and is still my backup phone till now. It also received a security update a couple of months ago which is great considering.

  6. Contrary to popular belief, I simply do not care.
    Not like there was a security hole that big, that it would compromise the state of my device or personal data on it.

    My iPad Pro gets updates every time (half of them actually do not introduce new bugs), on the other hand, my old Samsung tablet simply works and has more features since day one.

  7. This bothers me immensely with phones and tablets. Non-replaceable batteries and lack of security updates leads to perfectly usable devices getting binned. I understand that most (non-Apple) manufacturers don’t have any ongoing revenue from the devices that they sell, and therefore need to sell you the next thing. Maybe they could offer a subscription model for out-of-warranty phones? Pay some reasonable amount of dollars per year and continue to get software updates. This would also make the used phone market much more viable.

  8. “What do you do when your phone stops receiving security updates?”

    I’d switch to an iPhone.

    Still using my iPhone SE from 2016 after switching from an Android phone that stopped getting security updates.

    1. My iPad Air from 2013 is still getting security updates. Got one last Fall.

      Android phone companies (including Google) really need to catch up.

      1. Apple also has an option for “Optimized Battery Charging” Even my Asus Laptop supports battery charging thresholds, both, with Windows and Linux. Most android phones, if not all, would support it too, if it were enabled in the ROM. It’s mind blowing that people pay $50 for silly workarounds like I like to keep my phone connected to a charger when there is one, like in home office, for an entire week. I don’t like to root or use other ROMs just for this.
        I’d switch to an iPhone too, if apple was an option for me.
        I want 10yrs of security updates and support for battery charging thresholds and i want somebody to do something about it.

    2. Got an iPhone SE in 2016 too!

      It was after getting tired of short Android support and not wanting to waste time on custom ROMs anymore. I have other things to do.

  9. Pixel phones have some of the best custom ROM support around, so the idea that google is forcing you to dump the phone isn’t as applicable as it is to most phones.
    Unless you’re one of those people who doesn’t have a PC at home.

    1. Custom ROMs don’t always provide security updates. It’s up to the ROM developer to keep up with those. Lineage OS does a great job of it.

  10. Beyond security and bloat, is that not exactly the reason LineageOS exists? I was able to quite successfully keep a OnePlus5 for 4yrs, 7mo, thanks to the team at Lineage.

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