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Thread: Are Tracfones still locked out of OS upgrades and patches?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGeek View Post
    I don't know when they started being called feature phones, but back in 2004 when I was looking at info on cell phones here, the discussions referred to non-smart phones as feature phones. I guess it also applies to the ones that don't "flip" as well.
    The way I see it, phones that have no touch screen, whether they're flip-phone, slide-out keyboard, candy bar, etc are dumb phones. Feature phones are phones with touch screen but the user can't easy download/install apps on them, examples are the LG800, LG840, etc. Smartphones are the ones with touch screen, and designed so that the user can easily download/install apps on them. Of course, someone will find exceptions to my definition.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    The way I see it, phones that have no touch screen, whether they're flip-phone, slide-out keyboard, candy bar, etc are dumb phones. Feature phones are phones with touch screen but the user can't easy download/install apps on them, examples are the LG800, LG840, etc. Smartphones are the ones with touch screen, and designed so that the user can easily download/install apps on them. Of course, someone will find exceptions to my definition.
    To me, those definitions make sense. I didn't realize that there were touch screen phones that weren't smart. I guess in my original post and replies I should have been referring to getting a "dumb" phone rather than a "feature" phone. Live and learn.

  3. #33
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    I've always thought of dumb phones and feature phones as pretty much the same thing with the feature phone having a few more "features" like the 2 mp camera and basic internet, download ringtones, maybe basic email etc... a few more features then just straight up phone and text.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feature_phone

    Whatever you want to call the myflip and the other one, which are 4g phones that use the 3 bucket smarphone system, I don't think these are near as good as the older 3g LG Flip phone feature phones. The myflip is the worst phone I've ever tried. I wouldn't use them as emergency phones. Others may disagree. My experience mirrors many of the reviews. But it may be worth a try. Maybe I got a dud.

    I think one may be better off just getting a recent low cost tracfone smartphone with a bundle for like $49.99 that has a recent OS (don't think I'd want a brand new OS since these can be buggy and have security issues) and that has recent security updates. Many of them likely do like the moto e5 which i think is in January.

    The main thing is just to properly update the phone when needed. It can be easy with TF since one can get a new bundle in a year or if happy with OS situation, get $49.99 card off ebay if still avail. Like mentioned earlier, no smartphone stays current and secure for very long. Even the feature phones expire (as 3G is/will). It has to be maintained.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by lappers View Post
    I've always thought of dumb phones and feature phones as pretty much the same thing with the feature phone having a few more "features" like the 2 mp camera and basic internet, download ringtones, maybe basic email etc... a few more features then just straight up phone and text.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feature_phone

    Whatever you want to call the myflip and the other one, which are 4g phones that use the 3 bucket smarphone system, I don't think these are near as good as the older 3g LG Flip phone feature phones. The myflip is the worst phone I've ever tried. I wouldn't use them as emergency phones. Others may disagree. My experience mirrors many of the reviews. But it may be worth a try. Maybe I got a dud.

    I think one may be better off just getting a recent low cost tracfone smartphone with a bundle for like $49.99 that has a recent OS (don't think I'd want a brand new OS since these can be buggy and have security issues) and that has recent security updates. Many of them likely do like the moto e5 which i think is in January.

    The main thing is just to properly update the phone when needed. It can be easy with TF since one can get a new bundle in a year or if happy with OS situation, get $49.99 card off ebay if still avail. Like mentioned earlier, no smartphone stays current and secure for very long. It has to be maintained.
    We're all for updating the OS or applying patches, it's just that with the Ultimate 2 there weren't any made available, and if I'm not mistaken, if we did it, it was a violation of the terms of service and would result in termination. A smart phone bundle may make the most sense, but only if it has or is allowed to be updated. If we're locked into another outdated insecure OS we'd rather have a "dumb" phone.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGeek View Post
    We're all for updating the OS or applying patches, it's just that with the Ultimate 2 there weren't any made available, and if I'm not mistaken, if we did it, it was a violation of the terms of service and would result in termination. A smart phone bundle may make the most sense, but only if it has or is allowed to be updated. If we're locked into another outdated insecure OS we'd rather have a "dumb" phone.
    I think the thing to have done is to have upgraded the phone if it is becoming so well behind in OS/security updates. They are not very expensive especially if you factor in the year of service which could potentially cost $125 or similar alone and you are just looking for an emergency phone at low cost. Maybe this wasn't available then.. that was a long time ago. Moto's seem to update the phones for a good while. I have a TF samsung phone that got about 2 years of (occasional) security updates I believe. Still seems fine.. I have malwarebytes on it..never an issue...but I no longer use it. I'm probably going to consider replacing a phone at the 2 year or so point even if it was completely secure due to it just being old, battery not as good, newer better stuff available at good price etc.

    Anyway, just some thoughts.

    Good luck with whatever phone you decide to go with.
    Last edited by tomseys; 02-28-2020 at 10:30 PM.

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    I know this is not too fascinating, but I was messing around in the MyFlip settings for no particular reason and discovered something. The phone is not activated and I turned on the WiFi just to mess around. I was trying to get the clock to set.

    Anyway, I was in Settings > Device > Device Information and noticed Software Update > Check for Updates

    Lo and behold, there was an update available. It took about as long as an Android patch. I'm not sure what it is supposed to do, but what the heck.

    The process set the clock as a bonus.

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    I never made a potential security issue a show stopper like I do with a computer. Maybe that's because other then some web surfing on wifi I don't use my phone as a computer with all my personal info files. I replace my phone(s) when apps aren't supported anymore for the OS, not when the OS stops getting security updates. My phones are all 3-5 OS versions old. Never had any issues. But I never bought a phone over $60. If something blows up due to a security issue I'm not out much. More expensive phones, different equation.
    What security issue is a phone susceptible to ?

  8. #38
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    Here is a simple article (2018) that talks a little about threats to an Android system:

    https://www.computerworld.com/articl...ity-facts.html

    The user is the most important part of any antivirus/antimalware security system. If you practice safe computing/phoning I think just generally you'll go along way to being fine. That said, I like for my phones to have the latest updates if possible.

    Sometimes that can backfire though, like when I foolishly upgraded to iOS 13 right away. My first iOS update. I should have known it would not be a lucky update. It's ok now but man was that a mess.
    Last edited by tomseys; 02-28-2020 at 11:08 PM.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGeek View Post
    it's just that with the Ultimate 2 there weren't any made available, and if I'm not mistaken, if we did it, it was a violation of the terms of service and would result in termination.
    Official security updates have never been against the ToS.

    But no, the U2 and most early TF smartphone never got any. And for a while BYOP didn't either, even if updates were available on the main carrier (that has since been fixed)
    Last edited by ST Dog; 02-29-2020 at 07:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lappers View Post
    Here is a simple article (2018) that talks a little about threats to an Android system:

    https://www.computerworld.com/articl...ity-facts.html

    The user is the most important part of any antivirus/antimalware security system. If you practice safe computing/phoning I think just generally you'll go along way to being fine.
    Thanks. That's pretty much how I live my life in this day and age, even with face to face interactions with someone I don't know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGeek View Post
    I didn't realize that there were touch screen phones that weren't smart. I guess in my original post and replies I should have been referring to getting a "dumb" phone rather than a "feature" phone.
    Actually, the later touch screen feature phones were pretty smart. The LG840G/306G had much of the functionality of smartphones, and I kept using them into the smartphone era at Tracfone. European models of these were even better and called "Cookie Smart". You could put apps (JavaME) on these, but it was much more difficult than Android.

    There was definitely an evolution from Basic to Feature phones.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by lappers View Post
    Here is a simple article (2018) that talks a little about threats to an Android system:

    https://www.computerworld.com/articl...ity-facts.html
    This article that shows how unlikely it is that you are going to get something harmful. The obsession with the latest OS/security upgrades is unwarranted. If there were real problems, it would quickly be all over the forums.

  13. #43
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    Yep. Most people act like they're CIA agents or something on a top secret mission.

    99.9% of people will never be affected by or should even bother worrying about OS updates on a phone.

    If you get them great. If not, oh well. Don't download a bunch of shady crap from the Play Store or sideload apps from unknown sources and you'll be fine.

    If you're just super paranoid about it, get an iPhone or a flagship Samsung and you'll get your regular security patches.

    Sent from my SM-N975U1 using HoFo mobile app

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGeek View Post
    We have an LG Ultimate 2 (LG L41C) that we're looking to replace in the near future. When we got it in 2014, Tracfone didn't allow the OS to be upgrade or patched, is that still the case with the phones offered by Tracfone? Thanks in advance.
    The Tracfone branded LG Rebel 4 on Verizon is getting Android security patches, so at least some Tracfones getting updates.

    See this thread: https://www.howardforums.com/showthr...etting-updates

    (edit to add) Coincidentally, my Rebel 4 updated to an "Android February 1 patch level" shortly after I posted.
    Last edited by MarkTF; 03-03-2020 at 08:57 AM.

  15. #45
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    That's available w/ 1 Year Service and 1500 m/t/d for $49.99
    https://www.hsn.com/products/lg-rebe...xtdata/9243351

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