If your iPhone is more than five years old, it’s no longer getting security updates. However, even older iPhones are less likely to be attacked than Android phones, according to Symantec Corp., for three reasons. First, Apple doesn’t release its source code to app developers. Second, owners of iPhones can’t modify the code on their phones. Third, there are more Android phones out there to hack: 52 percent of cell phones are Android phones, 47 percent are iPhones.

If your Android phone is over three years old, it won’t get security patches, according to TomsGuide.com. To be safe, get the free app from MalwareBytes.org. By the way, those who use old-style flip phones instead of smart phones, such as Warren Buffet, rarely get malware. Bob has been using the same flip phone for 12 years.

A Reader Wants Advice

 A reader writes: “I am a 70-plus senior with not much tech experience, needing a new phone. I don’t want a bunch of bells and whistles. I want email, Facebook, text, pictures and a few other apps.  Any suggestions for an old gal who’s on a fixed income?”

We wondered why she is no longer happy with her Android smartphone, a Pantech P8010. She says: “It won’t hold a charge, for one thing. I bought a new battery but I seriously don’t think it’s new. AT&T won’t even work on my phone anymore. They tell me I have to call support for help. It’s slow too. I was thinking a newer phone might support me for the rest of my years. Or at least, the years I’m still thinking clearly.”

If she doesn’t need to stick with AT&T, there are a lot of other choices out there.  T-Mobile has plans that start at $3 a month. Mint Mobile offers unlimited talk and text for $15 a month with three gigabytes of data. That’s huge. Though users say Mint doesn’t offer much tech support, you can buy a Mint Mobile starter kit on Amazon for $5 to try it out. Some readers swear by TracFone, known for cheap plans, but we haven’t had a good experience with their tech support. Joy likes the Google Fi service and the Google Pixel phone because Google phones are first to get Android updates and their tech support is great. Google Fi now offers unlimited talk, text and data, plus calls to 50 countries for $45 a month per user, but since we don’t need all that, we pay about $30 a month. 

Seniors may prefer the Jitterbug Smart 2. The phone is $112.50, and the monthly “Great Call” service charge ranges between $30 and $60. You can add extras, like a trained nurse ready to diagnose a problem over the phone and an old-fashioned operator ready to help you add contacts, navigate the roads, and do other tasks. Great Call will replace the phone for free if it stops working.

 We have a Jitterbug flip phone that we got about 12 years ago, and it still works great. Our service includes the old-fashioned operator. Once when we were lost in the rain trying to return our rental car without missing our flight, she steered us to the right place in San Diego. (Yes, it sometimes rains in San Diego.) The clarity of the calls is excellent and the battery lasts for weeks.

Logging in With Facebook or Google

 Should you create a new account with a new password when you join a new website? If the website gives you the option to sign in with Facebook or Google, take it.

Using a  Facebook or Google password to sign in to some other site is safer than creating a new password. Most websites don’t have the high level of security that Facebook and Google do. Other sites are much more easily hacked, and your password could be copied. That’s big trouble if you use the same password for online banking.

Still there are some reasons to be concerned about using your Facebook or Google password on a variety of sites. You might not like the idea of those companies seeing your contact list. If so, see the HowToGeek article called “Secure Your Online Accounts By Removing Third Party Apps Access.” For example, if you’ve used Google to sign in to several sites, go to myaccount.Google.com/permissions. When we went there we learned that Amazon has access to our Gmail, Google contacts and Google Calendar. We don’t mind, but it’s good to know.


App Happy

 If you have deeply private photos, you might want the free app “Photo Vault,” for Android or iPhone from PrivatePhotoVault.com

 PhotoVault prompts you to create a master password to keep your photos away from prying eyes. It uses a private web browser, not Firefox, Chrome, Safari or one of the others, so you leave no tracks when you view photos. The free app also lets you sort photos, view a slideshow, or search for specific ones. It’s been downloaded millions of times. 



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