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When should I buy a new phone. Or not.



Apple will talk on Tuesday about its new iPhones and other doodads. Brian X. Chen, technology columnist for The New York Times, has a quiz for three questions to help you decide if it’s worth considering a new smartphone or sticking to what you have. (You can see Apple’s iPhone unveiling here. Or not. Times will have the useful bits here.)

It’s that time of year again when companies are scratching and scratching and advertising like hell to get us to buy the latest versions of their phones. The difference this year is that it is 2020, and the world feels upside down. Many of us face unemployment or handle stresses that cannot be solved with discs of computer circuits – and have no desire or ability to buy a new smartphone.

The good news is that modern smartphones are so robust and reliable that most of us probably do not need to ditch the old ones. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to decide if it’s time to consider a new phone.

Can I still get software updates?

If your smartphone is so old that the manufacturer no longer releases the latest operating system for your phone, you may need to consider buying a new one. Without the latest operating system, you could miss out on important bug fixes and security enhancements. Some of your favorite taps may also have stopped working properly.

How to find out:

  • Apple’s website shows that the latest operating software, iOS 14, works for phones that go back to the iPhone 6S from 2015. If you own a model that is older than that, you should probably consider a new device.

  • Androids have a shorter shelf life. On average, manufacturers support Android devices for two to three years before they stop offering updates to their operating system and security software. Do a web search for your phone model to find out if it can download the latest version of Android, currently Android 11.

    For example, owners of the original Google Pixel smartphone are no longer guaranteed to receive software or security updates, according to a chart posted by Google. If you own Pixel from 2016, it’s a good time to replace it with a newer phone. Here is some information about Samsung smartphones that work with Android 11.

Can my device not be repaired?

If your device can still get the latest software, but it has other issues, such as a short-lived battery or a damaged monitor, I recommend that you check if it is worth repairing the device. Replacing the battery costs about $ 50 to $ 70, and a new monitor from an independent fix-it shop usually costs around $ 100. It is far cheaper (and less wasteful) than buying a new smartphone.

But at some point, the cost of repairs is not worth it. The good news is that you do not have to pay $ 1000. Excellent smartphones, such as Google Pixel 4A and iPhone SE, cost $ 350 and $ 400.

Am I unhappy with my phone?

This is difficult because satisfaction is subjective. If you feel that your phone is not keeping up with your needs in terms of speed, features or image quality, it is perfectly reasonable to upgrade, provided you can afford it. But try to make the decision based on your needs and wants, instead of emphasizing pressure from peers or business advertising.

This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. You can sign up here to receive it weekdays.


Shira Ovide will take over the rest of the newsletter.

Mark Zuckerberg says he wants Facebook to give people a voice, and that has included allowing Holocaust denial on their websites and apps. The company on Monday changed its mind.

Facebook’s switcheroo is important for two reasons. First, it showed once again that – despite the company’s allegations – it is in fact an arbitrator. And secondly, it pointed to a piece of advice in Zuckerberg’s argument that all views should be allowed online because the internet should be a place for people to make mistakes.

On Facebook’s position that there will not be a “truth judge” online, as I have written about before in this newsletter, it is.

Facebook has thousands of pages with rules for what people are allowed to say and do on their websites and apps. Most of us agree that it is good for Facebook to take a hard line against terrorists who openly plan online violence or people who post pictures of child sexual abuse. The debate is where Facebook should draw the lines in other areas and the trade-offs for the company’s decisions.

Second, the policy change reveals gaps in Facebook’s principles. When Zuckerberg defended the ability of Holocaust deniers to post their views two years ago, he said people should have room to say factual errors, even heinous things on the Internet – unless bad information resulted in real-world harm. .

That sounds reasonable. But in reality, incorrect information on the internet often has devastating consequences. Unfounded information about wireless technology causing coronavirus, about school shootings lurking or about criminal activity in a pizzeria in Washington really caused harm. Zuckerberg said his views on Holocaust denial and distortion changed after he saw information about an increase in anti-Semitic violence.

This reality probably requires Facebook to spend more people and money to effectively see when the lines have been crossed between online expression and danger in the real world. And it requires a commitment from Facebook to be smarter about understanding people and not just offset principles of freedom of expression that do not tolerate logic.


  • Shared recommendations for an Uber choice: I wrote on Monday about Uber and other app companies supporting a ballot in California that will overturn a state law that requires app contract workers to be reclassified as employees. The New York Times editorial board advised voters in California to vote no, because it would “ensure gig workers the protection all workers deserve,” the editorial said.

    The editors of two major California news organizations, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Mercury News & East Bay Times, recommended that Californians vote in favor of the measure, known as Proposition 22.

  • When apps become policy: Pakistan banned the TikTok app, citing what the government said was immoral and obscene content. Government critics said the ban was intended to stop criticism from the country’s leadership over how it has handled coronavirus and economic challenges, my colleague Salman Masood reported.

  • Is everyone OK? Our social media habits suggest NO, WE ARE NOT: Researchers created the “Hedonometer” to track our collective happiness based on the words we write on Twitter. The data is far from perfect, but the readings show – perhaps not surprisingly – persistent sadness this year, Casey Schwartz wrote for The Times. The saddest day recorded by Hedonometer in the last 13 years was Sunday 31 May 2020.

Bird enthusiasts in New York are obsessed with a barred owl that has appeared in Central Park. And I have to say that the owl is beautiful, especially when you yawn or look sad.


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