How Safe Are Older Android Phones That Don't Get Security Patches?

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Joseph T Lewis III Veteran Member • Posts: 3,535
How Safe Are Older Android Phones That Don't Get Security Patches?


I'm an amateur photographer who, for a variety of reasons, does not have the occasion or motivation to use my expensive and cumbersome camera gear as much as I used to.  So, I'm considering upgrading my old cell phone to one of the new flagship phones from Apple, Samsung, OnePlus, etc.    That way I'll always have a decent camera with me, and not have to worry with lugging a camera bag around, like I currently do.

I have an IPad and two Android phones, so I am familiar with both platforms.  I'm an old programmer and can deal with either, but it seems like the copying of photos from an Android phone to my PC (for further processing, uploading to Flickr etc.) is much more straightforward than from the iPhone would be.

However, Apple phones receive security updates for 4 to 5 years, whereas the Android manufacturers seem to stop sending out updates after a couple of years or so.

Does this mean that if I buy (for example) a Samsung Note 10+ with the intention of keeping it for 4-5 years, I will be at risk after the updates stop being pumped out, but if I buy an iPhone 11 Pro, I'd be better protected?

Or, if I use the no-longer-supported older Android phone just for calls, text messages, and photos that are copied via USB to my PC, and NOT streaming videos, music, web browsing) will I be OK?  (I understand I should not download apps that aren't from the Play Store, should not open suspicious links in emails, and should monitor online news items about phone security exposures, etc.).

Final note: I do have an online banking app from the Play Store, on my four-year old LG G4.  Should I stop using it ASAP, since that phone (based on its Android 6 and Feb 2017 security patch), is no longer receiving any updates?

Thanks for any insight anyone cares to provide.  I realize these questions may seem naive, but I've been focused almost exclusively on cameras until the past month or so, and am not yet as familiar with the smart phone technology as I'd like to be.

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