• How Secure Are Old iPhones?

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    #2489074

    The only smartphone that I have ever owned is my current one, a first generation iPhone SE currently running iOS 15.7. My understanding is that Apple will not be releasing newer versions of iOS for this phone.

    At home, I seldom use the phone preferring instead to use my Windows 10 computer which I keep updated via Windows Update. Away from home, I occasionally make and receive phone calls, check and receive emails, or access via the cell network, not wifi, certain websites. I sometimes take pictures with the phone but I do not keep them on the phone. I have never purchased anything with the phone and the only app that I have ever downloaded is one for a newspaper.

    I realize that the answer to the question “How Secure Are Old iPhones?” depends on how they are used, but any thoughts about the safety of old iPhones would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

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    • #2489098

      Lately the phones (both android and iphones) have been targets of security exploits. Often it’s through texting interface and sometimes it’s not mandated that you click on the link.

      You also need to check with your carrier if they will continue to support the device as well as look at the applications you use on the device and if they will support it after it’s no longer supported.

      I tend to hang onto ipads longer than phones and will continue to use an ipad after it’s no longer supported on my local wifi until it gets so slow to be annoying.  I tend to not hang onto an out of date platform on my phone.  Not to mention with my aging eyes I like the bigger screens.

      Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2489179

      Your iPhone SE is still receiving current updates. While that is happening, you should be “safe enough”… (my cynicism thinks having to pay for new hardware while your existing still works and while it can receive updates, is a ploy to fatten their wallets, at the detriment to yours).

      Still, it depends on how you are using your phone, as to whether its use is appropriate. Is it connecting to the internet, or just making calls and texts??? If it’s actively connecting (i.e. for maps, location tracking etc), you would have a bigger need to update sooner than otherwise. However, I don’t believe that’s this week.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2489210

      Apple is still updating iOS12, at least with important security fixes.  The problem is that many apps need iOS13 or 14.  That is why we’re retiring our 7-year old iPhone 6.  It works fine, but the lack of essential apps [banking for just one example] renders it a paper weight.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2489872

        Maybe don’t use it for banking or any thing

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2489216

      Kirsty wrote: “Your iPhone Se is still receiving current updates.”

      Apple is still updating iOS12, at least with important security fixes.

      Maybe I am confused about Apple’s updating policy. My iPhone SE (1st generation) is running iOS 15.7 and it indicates that no updates are currently available. Apple’s iOS 16 compatibility page does not include the iPhone SE (1st generation). Those two facts led me conclude that no more updates of any kind would be released for my phone.

    • #2489302

      12.5.6 is still supported

      It is not supported unless there is a crucial security bug which is used in the wild just like in the iOS 12 update.
      The last update before for iOS 12 was on Sept. 2021 with no security updates for a whole year including 0-days security bugs.

      So, yes. The iPhone SE is not secure.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2489453

        “iOS 12.5.6 iOS 12 is not impacted by CVE-2022-32894.

        Released August 31, 2022″

        The posters SE is running 15.7 not 12. You are confusing the original poster with George, another poster discussing the 12 platform.

        Granted if you are someone that is a politician, a high profile person, I wouldn’t be on that old of a platform, but I have yet to see widespread doom and gloom on John Q public running older phone models.

         

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

        4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2489303

      That’s a list to keep an eye on – check out the “vintage” section.

      Thanks for the information. I have bookmarked that page and will keep an eye on it.

      “Vintage” is for hardware support not software.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2489390

      So, yes. The iPhone SE is not secure.

      As so often repeated here, it’s people that are the weakest link. The OP doesn’t appear to be using mail, messaging or internet browsing… just phone calls and a newspaper app.

      Given the OP’s actual usage of his/her iPhone SE, I have to disagree with your blanket statement.

       

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2489446

        Away from home, I occasionally make and receive phone calls, check and receive emails, or access via the cell network, not wifi, certain websites.

        Remember those messages that just by receiving (not opening) will hack your iPhone ?
        Remember Pegasus ?..all those got security updates in the last year.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2489486

          I should have added to the list of things that I use my phone for, “and occasionally send and receive text messages.”

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2489585

          They still have to be sent and last I was tracking all of those were targeted.  Attackers tend to not waste high level attack code on mere mortals.

          Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2489456

      Away from home, I occasionally make and receive phone calls, check and receive emails, or access via the cell network, not wifi, certain websites.

      Remember those messages that just by receiving (not opening) will hack your iPhone ?
      Remember Pegasus ?..all those got security updates in the last year.

      Remember the OP’s use of ‘occasionally’? That to me doesn’t warrant a blanket statement that the device itself is insecure.

      The OP’s usage suggests to me a very low attack vector. Conversely, I use my iOS devices for email, messaging and internet browsing constantly every single day without mishap.

      IMO it’s almost always the software (or meatware), i.e. users themselves, that allows the greatest risk of compromise, not the device itself.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2489523

      IMO it’s almost always the software (or meatware), i.e. users themselves, that allows the greatest risk of compromise, not the device itself.

      So, according to you, the latest patch for “Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution. Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.” will be user’s fault.

      • #2489584

        Unless the phone can be nailed with remote/no action then yes, it is the user’s fault.

        There was a report about a year back that indicated that the newer iphone hardware had better isolation than older ones.  If you were someone who worked in goverment/journalist in a hostile country or any risk person it was recommended not to run old hardware. Let me see if I can find that talk/information.

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2489583

      Surely, the bottom line is that the iPhone SE’s current iOS 15.7 is “current” (not superseded), at this point in time…?

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2489644

      well I have a 2nd gen iPhone SE that my younger brother bought me & my mom to replace our old iPhone 5s near the end of 2021. on the iphone se (2nd gen), it’s currently running iOS 15.7 though an “optional” iOS 16 upgrade was offered thru the built-in software update app but turned it down

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2489650

      Surely, the bottom line is that the iPhone SE’s current iOS 15.7 is “current” (not superseded), at this point in time…?

      iOS 15.7 is the latest iOS for SE (1) while the latest iOS is 16.0.3 and today Apple may release iOS 16.1.

    • #2489797

      and today Apple may release iOS 16.1.

      iOS 16.1, iPadOS 16.1, … will be released on Oct. 24

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2489828

      well we have an old jailbroken iphone 4s on iOS 9.something that’s a security camera via usb hub (no-wifi) so, it’s secure unless someone comes along with a hammer and pentalobe/hex screwdriver to steal it from it’s frame and external casing 😛

      Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on...
    • #2492651

      I have a 2nd gen iPhone SE

      Me too. Two days ago I backed it up via iTunes for Windows then updated it from iOS 15.7 to iOS 16.1.

      Note that this is a major update so the download of the installer via iTunes for Windows is large at ~5GB (the OTA one is smaller):

      iphone_16.1_download_size

      Apart from the chunky font change/size on the Lock Screen I haven’t yet noticed any issues, not even the usual 2-3 days of poor battery usage as the phone recalibrates itself. So… all good so far. 🙂

      Hope this helps…

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2493804

      The original SE models received the 15.7.1 security update in the last few days.

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