The Best Phones for People Who Hate Upgrading
For a long time it was standard practice to buy a new phone every two years. Some companies have even tried to make phone replacement once a year the norm. However, modern phones don’t slow down after one or two years like they used to. Hardware has progressed to the point where a device can continue to function well for a long time – provided the company that makes it continues to support it with software updates. Assuming .
Consider Google’s decision to retire the Pixel 3a and 3a XL three years after they were released. Even though these are mid-range phones, they are still functional devices and many who love using them probably won’t feel the need to upgrade if Google just keeps releasing software updates. Alas. If you want to feel like the technology you’re buying is built to last, choose a manufacturer that pays less attention to planned obsolescence. You have several options, although not as many as you think.
When it comes to reliable and durable smartphone support, you can’t beat Apple.
If you are looking for a smartphone that will be supported for as long as possible, you have no choice but to choose Apple. The debate between Android and iPhone is likely to go on forever, but there’s no getting around the fact that the iPhone is the undisputed champion when it comes to providing updates to comparatively ancient devices.
Unlike many Android phone makers, Apple doesn’t set a clear timeline for software support for its products (whether iPhone, iPad, or Mac). But the company’s track record in this regard is fantastic . Apple’s current mobile operating system, iOS 15, supports a wide range of iPhones, the oldest of which are the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, released back in 2015—nearly seven years ago. While there are rumors that the company will be ditching these phones with iOS 16, the industry’s seven years of updates are untouchable.
By the way, this is also update support. Apple continues to offer security patches for years after its iPhones stopped receiving major iOS updates, while most companies commit to only one additional year. Right now, the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus are still receiving security updates for iOS 12. While you can’t take advantage of the features included in iOS 13-15 on these phones, you at least know you can. use. without worrying about the security of your data.
Samsung supports its phones longer than any other Android OEM
On the Android side, you won’t find a longer reign than Samsung. With the S22 line, the company announced that it would be offering four years of software support , plus an additional year of security updates after that. However, not only S22 wins. Here is the full list of Samsung phones that will receive support for five years from their original release date:
- Samsung Galaxy S22
- Samsung Galaxy S22+
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy S21
- Samsung Galaxy S21+
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy S21FE
- Samsung Galaxy Z flip 3
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Unfortunately, Samsung is the only Android manufacturer to offer four years of software support. Other companies, well…
Alternatives to “you’re lucky we offer software updates at all”
From here we enter the “three-year club”. Last year, OnePlus announced that its devices would receive a guaranteed three-year support, in line with the old policy of Nokia , Samsung, and, unfortunately, Google’s current approach.
You might think that Google will pull Apple here: the company not only makes the Android OS itself, but also a line of Pixel devices, and its Pixel 6 and 6 Pro use Google-made processors, not Qualcomm chips. Google is well positioned, with its latest phones, to expand its customer support beyond a three-year horizon, and yet it hasn’t done so, even for these expensive devices.
It’s true that three years of support is an improvement over what it used to be, or in some cases, how things are now . Take Sony: its $1,300 Xperia 1 III smartphone only gets two years of software support . Sony tends to lag far behind in the US smartphone market, but that’s no excuse. If you rate a phone that highly, it shouldn’t be completely obsolete in two years. (The Xperia 1 III came out last year, so you have until 2023 before software updates fail.)
Before you buy a new phone, check out the software support plan.
I strongly believe that your technology should last as long as possible, especially now: today’s phones are tiny computers that can process everything you throw at them for years and years. If you care about the longevity of your devices and want to avoid unexpected software outages, research the phone and the manufacturer before buying.
Not all companies announce their intentions from the start, but many do. Before spending $600, $800, $1,000 or more on a new phone, calculate how many years you can expect it to get updates. Apple iPhones are expensive, sure, but you can buy them today and be confident that you can keep them up to date until 2029. Or you can spend $1,300 every two years on the Sony equivalent. I know what I would choose.