Most smartphones are only supported by the manufacturer for a set period of time, and once that time is up, support will be unavailable for that phone. Support includes everything from operating system updates to security flaw patches. Although it varies greatly between manufacturers and even service providers, updates usually roll out every few months.
Apple is one of the most generous supporters of its older devices. It typically offers updates on devices that are 4–5 years old. While older devices can sometimes struggle to run newer updates, this commitment means you can keep your device for a longer period of time. On the Android side, Samsung also tends to support its devices for several years, often up to four years for its flagship devices. Despite that, for most brands the magic number is three years.
So, once you notice that your device is no longer updating, what are you supposed to do? Are you expected to drop upward of several hundred dollars (or more) on a new phone? Or do you just “deal with it” and accept that your device is no longer receiving critical security updates?
If your device still runs well — it does everything you expect it to, it has decent battery life, and the screen is in good shape — there might not be a reason to immediately buy a new phone. Many security experts say if you stick to a handful of apps and your usage is consistent from day to day, your risk is low.
If your device is showing its age and/ or you rely heavily on your phone for work and communication, the risk may be higher. Regardless, it’s a good idea to update your smartphone in regular intervals. We can all complain about planned obsolescence, but access to current updates and security patches is definitely beneficial. With so many cybersecurity risks out there, it’s better to not fall behind in these technological times.