Someone told me my Galaxy S20, which I'm pretty sure is only two years old, is "obsolete" and needs to be replaced. 🤷‍♀️

So, OK- how often do you replace your phone?

My phone prior to this one was an iPhone 7, which I used for five years until the cell connection started becoming really unreliable.

Before that, it was a OnePlus Two, which replaced a broken OnePlus One, which replaced a broken Nexus 4, which replaced my T-Mobile G1.

I still have a lot of bad feelings about how often I went through phones before, but I think the early days of Android were kinda rough.

One area where Apple has an upper-hand: it's almost always easier to get what you need to make an older Apple device work.

Finding a replacement screen for a 4-year-old Android device can be particularly challenging.

@vkc the major problem is that a significant number of Android phones should be considered obsolete at the time of purchase, due to them not receiving security updates.

@marix Absolutely a problem. I'd love to see a commitment to a five year lifecycle from most sellers.

@marix @vkc depends on the device, but if you're stuck with the android version that comes with it with no security updates, that's almost like "it is broken".

Some vulnerabilities are exploitable remotely and considering the smartphone is an "always on" type of device, there's little the user can do.

@marix @vkc I gess sustainability comes from buying a device supported by something like

@marix @vkc that's true, but that shouldn't be a problem with the S20. I have an S10 and it's still getting security updates.

@vkc For me, every two years ISH. Depends on phone performance. But usually the trade-in value at 2-3 years is good enough that a swap for the newer model is good. I also have an s20, fwiw.


Only 2 phones lasted less than 3 years
- the one that was stolen.
- my 2nd one, not a smartphone, a design so crappy it was unusable.

@vkc checked last option although im a one who repairs ;p

@vkc I'm in the process of replacing mine with a reparable one (FairPhone) right now 'cause the battery of my Pixel 3XL. is swelling dangerously

@ScriptFanix Eeek! I wish I could get FairPhone (including replacement parts) in the US- that'd be my go-to.

@vkc Heck, even third party phone cases or screen protectors for older or less-popular Android devices can be essentially impossible or hilariously cost prohibitive.

@vkc Also, if it’s ever useful, Apple publishes prices for many standard device repairs these days (like screen and battery replacement). The self-repair discussion aside, the prices for common repairs seem pretty reasonable IMO.

@vkc android also has historically provided really bad software support for not-new devices

my partner got a Pixel 2 in 2017 and it still functions fine, but google stopped releasing security patches two years ago.

Early iPhones were bad at this too, but recent ones have been much better.

I feel guilty about the waste, but I got her a used iPhone X so she wouldn't be running software with known exploits 🙃

@aria I wish I'd included that as an option, because it's entirely valid!

@vkc all good! yeah I didn't vote because I'm "while hardware lasts & security updates keep coming", though that's basically a vote for "while hardware lasts"

@vkc you talk about a firm, Apple, and an SO, Android.
Apple devices not ever easy to finds out. Even in Apple markets, support services and so.
And the new brand of devices to repair was news because it could be more expensive even the device.

@vkc in Android you have firms that even use standar components 😃

@vkc Drive it til the wheels fall off! Taking inventory now. Have Moto Droid, HTC Incredible, Nexus 4, Moto G4, & Honor 7 in the junk drawer. Still rocking a Pixel 4A here now. That's 7 devices in 12yr! Ouch, feels bad.

Early android was awesome with the right phone.. I was sooo lucky to pick the right one.
1:Samsung Galaxy S (from Android 2.3 to 5 iirc)
2: Nexus5
4:Pixel4a (current)

@vkc As someone who replaces their phone generally every year because I’m a phone nut, I disagree with that assessment.

But I’m also in the iPhone ecosystem where Apple has a pretty good track record of support. The 6S, released in 2015, still gets OS updates.

@chartier That's exactly it- a 6S still works!

At least in the iPhone world, the old device still has a chance at being useful. One of Apple's strongest suits.

@vkc I generally replace my phone when the one I have no longer does what I want or physically gives up.

My last 3 phones are: iPhone 4s -> Samsung S7 -> iPhone 11.

The 4s wouldn't run Pokemon Go, and the S7's battery stopped holding charge and it kept overheating.


Need an option for when they stop security updates. The reason I stopped using android phones actually.

@vkc I always choose phones with decent custom rom support and communities, which has been Xiaomi so far.
I think I'll stick to my current phone for another year, I got it since 2020 I think...

@vkc I replace when it breaks irreparably or when there is no way to access an app or function I absolutely require to go about my day. Most recently was the 3g retirement, before that a shattered screen on a four year old phone, before that a three year old phone that couldn't run a medical app even through custom roms.

@vkc Nokia flipphone>HTC Hero>an HTC I'm forgetting>Galaxy S3>Galaxy S7>Teracube 2e. All second-hand except the flipphone and 2e.

@vkc Given the price of phones these days, I try to hold on to my current one as long as humanly possible.

I'm still rocking a Samsung Galaxy S8+ from 2017. It's on its last legs, but I won't replace it until I absolutely have to.

@vkc - I'm still using a Galaxy S4. It's a dual-band 3G/4G phone and my carrier is discontinuing service later this year. By bricking my phone, they are forcing me to buy a new one I don't need.

@vkc - Especially since the phone works on 4G-LTE, and it just reverts to 3G when 4G coverage is spotty, which rarely happens any more, but was an issue when this phone was made I guess. Otherwise it still works great. I replaced the battery once about 2-3 years ago. New phones won't even let you do that.

@vkc I used the LG Lotus for 5 years (went through two of 'em, one broke!), and then used an iphone 4 for the next 7, until I tossed it in a washing machine. It still turns on but the battery's shot. Been using one of those newfangled gigantic Android phones ever since. It's fine, but I miss flip phones. Why are the settings menus so fucking convoluted

@vkc It’s complicated for me. I’m a mobile app developer, so I have to buy all the devices. My personal phone is upgraded every two years.

@vkc I replaced my 7-yo phone with my dad’s one (he’s got a new one from his company) which is now 5-yo. I don’t plan to change it before ~2/3 years 😅

@vkc Previously I would only get cheap mid range phones and keep them until my contract was up (every 24 months) and then get an "upgrade" to a more recent cheap mid range phone for software support. The past couple of years have been yearly upgrades because I wanted a Z Flip but then I upgraded to the Z Flip 3 because it's waterproof. Now I'm keeping this phone for as long as I can keep it going.
But to say a Samsung S20 is obsolete is laughable.

@vkc Current phone is an iPhone XS. No plans to replace for at least another year.

Previous to that was a 6S, and before that a 4S.

I have no sympathy for the people who buy a new phone every year only to whine that it's only 15% faster than last year's phone.

Whenever I buy a new phone, it's a huge upgrade.

Same with MacBooks. I'd still be using my 2013 MacBook Pro if it could be upgraded to Monterey.

@lil5 @vkc Buying a new laptop every 7-10 years actually doesn't seem like a bad plan to me, but different people will have different needs.

I really don't understand the people who "need" to buy the newest MacBook every six months.

I also really don't understand the people who buy Macs and then complain that Windows and Linux support is bad.

@vkc Either physically breaks, or the carrier tells me the phone is no longer compatible with their network. :/

@vkc I guess that iPhones also become obsolete slower due to software updates. As a rule, a 5-year old Android device will be deprecated, whereas a 5-year old iOS device will still receive software updates.

In case of Android, you can always keep the device up-to-date by installing a custom ROM, but I guessmost people wouldn't do it.

@vkc That being said, I've been using my iPhone XR for 3,5 years and I plan to keep it until it breaks

@vkc When the vendor stops supporting it with security updates

@48kRAM @vkc Precisely. I generally only jump when somethings really broken, or there are no more security updates.

I tend to replace whenever AT&T decides they are no longer operating the fastest band the phone has.

Also, I'd still have my Motorola C139 as a backup if AT&T still supported 2G. I could have thrown that sucker against the wall and it would have dented the wall.

@vkc I used to be in the "only when it breaks" camp, but last time I reflected that it was really, really difficult to transition to my new phone when the prior one wouldn't turn on. And the fact that I had an urgency to do it didn't help the stress.

So now I buy a refurbished Android phone from Google every November (or every other November if I can think I can make another year). Their new phones come out in October so this allows me to get last year's model.

@vkc I've had the same phone since 2016, a Moto G4. It has almost quit a few times, but I did a factory reboot and didn't sign back in to my Google account and that saved it. I deleted my Google account and use Fdroid & the Aurora Store for apps. I can't find a non-Google ROM for my phone, but this seems to work. This is my 1st and only smart phone. I had a prepaid java smartish phone, and before that a flipphone and a candybar dumbphone. Still miss the battery life on the dumbphones.

@vkc in addition, my actual phone is more than ten years old (nokia 6210).

@vkc Starting from the S20, the number is literally a model year.

I would have picked the last option but I switched away from #Android and deleted source code for all Android projects I had been working on following this fiasco:

This also involved switching phones to one that had call and SMS support on #postmarketOS. For what it's worth, my current phone is second-hand and I still have my S3 along with several plans for it.

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