Why I won't buy a new phone when my Google Pixel Android phone runs out of support

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 26, 2022
Updated • Jan 27, 2022
Google Android

I bought a Google Pixel 3a Android phone shortly after it was released. Google pledged three years of support for the device, which will run out in May 2022.

Previously, I bought a new phone whenever my old phone ran out of support, as I wanted to make sure that it received all the security updates for Android and also new versions of Android.

This time, I made the decision not to do that. I could buy a new phone, maybe the upcoming Google Pixel 6a when it comes out later this year, or another Android phone. Instead of doing that, I decided to keep the Google Pixel 3a phone and install another mobile operating system on the device instead.

I have to run some tests and see which works best, but will test custom Android ROMS such as GrapheneOS or Copperhead OS and install one of those on the device. These custom ROMs continue to support the Google Pixel 3a device (and others that ran out of support), and I plan to use these until support ends or core device functionality breaks. The latter includes fast deteriorating battery life among other things.

What is my motivation for keeping the old phone? I have a few reasons.

The phone works perfectly fine: it runs Android 12, the latest version of Android, has sufficient battery life, and serves me well throughout the day.

Why throw away a device that works well if there is no need to? Google changed the artificial support limited for security updates from three years to five years recently, but that is not helping me currently. Say what you want about Apple, but the company's support for its devices is better.

It is better for the environment: mobile phones and other electronic devices require lots of resources to manufacturer and only a fraction get recycled. Recycling does not work overly well either at the moment.

Buying new phones every three years, or even more often as many do, is not sustainable. I understand why companies do it, as they don't earn anything from their customers once a device has been purchased. The practice does not sit well with the image that many companies give themselves in regards to sustainability though.

I'm saving money: new phones require a purchase, or the renewal of a contract with monthly payments. I do buy my phones directly and without contracts, as I get a better deal usually and because it keeps me independent.

The next Google Pixel 6a costs around $400. While I could pick another manufacturer, I'd have to find one who gives at least three years of support (better 5 years) for the same price or less, and there are not many Android manufacturers who do. The manufacturer would need to supply security updates quickly after official release.

I do have to spend some time researching alternatives and installing them, but that is money well spend, especially since I may be able to write about my experience here on this site.

Privacy and security improves: custom Android ROMs such as Graphene promise improved privacy and security. You can check out GrapheneOS' features page, which lists lots of improvements when compared to AOSP 12. Improvements included security hardening and improvements, optimizations, improved networking defenses and more.

Closing Words

I'll start preparations to make the switch in the coming months. The Pixel device runs out of support in May, and I plan to make the switch by then at the latest. I don't expect the move to be overly problematic, as I don't use a lot of apps on the device and have used Google Play and other Google services or apps rarely only.

I still have to create backups and figure out how to get a few apps that I use regularly installed on the new OS.

Now You: how often do you buy new mobile devices?

Article Name
Why I won't buy a new phone when my Google Pixel Android phone runs out of support
Here are my reasons for not buying a new Android phone when my Google Pixel device will run out of support later this year.
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  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm


    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm


    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am

        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am


    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm


    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.


    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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