Updating OS or Security on an older phone

I have an older Samsung Galaxy 6S which will only update to Android 7.0
Being concerned about phone security and not wanting to discard a perfectly good phone – why can I not ‘buy’ the latest version of Android from Samsung.
(all be it with more limited features on an older phone) It’s a light phone and a nice comfortable size and I just hate wasting it due to software.

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Not enough people would buy an update, so they can’t justify continued software support.

One alternative for end users is to root/flash updated ROMs, at least on devices that have unlocked bootloader or can be unlocked.


Agreed. Most people don’t know or care about security, especially on mobile. If their phone doesn’t prompt them to restart every month, hey, that’s a bonus!

As you say, the only real solution is to root it and put a custom ROM on the device. Although that brings its own security problems and secure apps, like banking apps, probably won’t work…

Thank you for both of your comments -
Would I be better off to purchase a $200-$300 mid-range phone to replace it? Maybe something with Android Pie.
I like the screen display on the Galaxy S6 as I do use the phone outside in the sun a bit and it would be nice to have NFC as a function.
Also, I do not normally surf the web with it, but might use it for money transfers and existing dedicated apps from the Google Play Store only.
(I also have Outlook and my Contacts on the phone) I use it as a secondary phone to call people from time to time.
Do you think that doing the above presents much of a security risk on Android 7.0 device of this vintage.

I would go with a mid-range. The Pixel 3a will get updates for 3 more years on a monthly basis and will not set you back. I believe Nokia also has a few Android vanilla phones that will be supported for the next few years.

Get the Google Pixel 3a if it’s still on sale for a good price. At least that way you know you for sure you will get OS version updates for 3 years.

Edit: yeah, what @godfrey said. :wink:


If you are in the USA, probably the Pixel 3a is a good solution.

Otherwise, for around $400-$450 the Xiaomi Mi 9T, for example, is very good. It is basically the same as the OnePlus 7T. My wife has a Huawei P-Smart, which is a very good budget phone in the $200-$300 range. Nokia also has a good range of Android One devices.

The Samsung Galaxy S9 is now available (in Germany) for under $400.

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It is sad when Samsung and other OEM who makes great hardware but updates the software for a year before killing it off.

What has been mentioned by the others, i agree with. Get a Pixel 3A if it is available in your country or a Nokia. From most of my friends using a Nokia, they do update and are not delayed unlike other manufacturers (yes i am looking at you Samsung).

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Great advise, will follow through on that and get a mid-range unit.

One thing I was curious on though was whether, if I am not surfing the web or downloading new software as suggested above, would the Galaxy 6S present much of a security risk with Android 7.0
I ask this as I also have an iPhone 5S which will likely be having a similar issue with in the year 2020. I do like carrying the iPhone as it’s only 112g in weight. (though the screen could be bigger) Like using two phones and we have two primary networks in New Zealand and this gives better coverage, a spare phone if battery dies, and two operating systems to play with.

If you’re being smart IE not clicking on suspicious links or downloading crappy software you should be pretty safe.

I’m pretty sure Apple rereleased the iPhone SE which is small and lightweight and since it was released fairly recently it should be on track to get software updates for a while.

I’m not an apple guy so someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

Most security risks are theoretical. A lot of the privacy breaches and data collection, though, are happening on per app basis, so minimal app installs does help. Security breaches do happen, but your personal info is more likely to be scooped up with other accounts in bulk due to security flaws on an app or service’s server/company computers end, or through a third-party (e.g. payment processor).

I would still want to have the latest monthly security patches, at least. The iPhone is likely safer, so long as Apple keeps updating it.

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I had a Samsung Note 8.0 tablet, and the latest update on that basically kinda broke the device. It was updated to Android 4.4 and killed the SD card support. Remember that? I couldn’t roll back, or upgrade, and resetting didn’t help. I still use it for other stuff, and use a VPN with an app protection service to secure it.

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Thanks All, for the advise and encouraging info.

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I buy a smartphone fully expecting it to be obsolete and to need to buy a new one in 2-3 years. Although the hardware may still work fine, besides maybe replacing the battery, software and apps simply won’t continue to be updated on older devices beyond a certain period of time. I absolutely see it as a cash grab by the industry, but I also accept it simply as fact. 2-3 years from a device I use daily isn’t too bad.

My Mom uses my old S8 literally as a camera and nothing else, so it doesn’t need updating. The minimal apps on it are still updating…for now.

I have tried rooting older devices, but never had any success with it.

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