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How long do you usually keep a phone for?

It seems like new phones are being announced all the time. They get bigger screens, new features, etc., etc.

This can all be very exciting, but in reality, most people likely aren't upgrading their phone every single year. Recently, one of our AC forum members asked if they should consider upgrading their Nexus 6P that they're still holding onto.

Hello I'm still using my reliable Nexus 6P as my smartphone. Have been debating whether I should get a new one or not. After all, mine is 4 years old. I guess the main question I have is what can a new phone do that the Nexus 6P can't? I can text, email and watch videos. Is it worth spending money on something that may not be needed?

Goldfinger321

In response to that, here's what some of our other members suggested:

I'd consider at least having a backup phone handy, especially since you have a Nexus 6P. That phone was notorious for battery failure and bootloops, resulting in a successful class action lawsuit. It sounds like you've been really lucky so far, but it's always a looming possibility.

B. Diddy

At the very least, it's time to start researching other phones. If this one is working well, then keep it. Just understand that even if the hardware remains in perfect condition, app updates often add extra features that require more resources (I.e. RAM and processor cycles) to run. Over time, you'll start to see things like increased lag and compatibility issues. That can get to the point of...

Mooncatt

I'll be the anti-upgrader here. I have the S7, still meets my needs, I have no desire to upgrade since the improvements have been marginal not ground breaking. Like others have said, monitor battery usage, mine is not what it once was but I can still manage by paying attention to it. Until it goes up on me I'll keep it, but make sure you're backed up at all times which will make the transition...

Inders99

Now, we want to hear from you. How long do you usually keep a phone for?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

29 Comments
  • I have a Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 which I got in 2017 and is still working fine but I recently got the S10 as an upgrade and I got an iPhone 8 Plus last year. I am done with getting new phones for now. I'll wait until they drop dead lol.
  • Usually 2 years, sometimes 3.
  • The shortest time I kept a phone was 3 months (Pixel 2).
  • I usually keep an old phone and a new one. Right now, I use a Note 5 and love it: the screen aspect ratio, the design; and I have a OnePlus 7 Pro, and it's awesome. I am kind of over chasing after the flagships now: a 4 year old phone is plenty great for me.
  • About 2 years. It really depends on the next year's model and what it is lacking. Every year phones in general seem to lose a feature that makes it slightly less desirable. Like currently I didn't upgrade to a Pixel 3 because it lacks a notification light. It's a minor annoyance but because the previous phones had one I really don't want to lose a minor feature for an extremely minor bump in performance.
  • I used to upgrade every year or two; but with the cost of phones these days, as well as a lack of anything overly enticing, I go until the hardware is actually dying on my current phone. For example, I kept my last phone for over 4 years, and I only got rid of it because its battery was severely degraded (and I didn't want to try replacing it with some knock-off battery).
  • I upgrade once a year, and keep my previous phone as a backup. That's how it's been. But I may wait an extra year this time. I really like the phones I have.
  • I’m a phone junkie and go through a lot of them just for fun, but I usually advise my friends and family to keep their phones until they are either really slow, or something fails, or the battery is useless. Innovation has slowed down in phones so what’s the point in upgrading every year when phones cost so much money. If I were a different person I’d probably keep my phones in the 2 to 3 year range.
  • 2 years. That's how long my contracts are with Verizon.
  • 2-3 years. Longest was a Nokia for about five years (but that was... years ago...🤔)...
  • I baby my phones and they never last two years. And that was with replaceable batteries. Now that I've finally had to get a phone without a replaceable battery we'll see.
  • The speed bump from the S7 to the S8 is very noticeable for me, and I hear it's a similar experience going from the S8 to the S10. I'm happy with my S8+, but this is the second phone with screen burn in issues. I hear newer generations have screens that better resist this issue. I'm planning on holding onto my S8+ until the front camera is under the screen. There's no need for a notch, cut out, or motorized cameras. Oppo has shared a video of it working, so it should be a possibility for the S11 or S12. I'm ok with waiting.
  • I went from the S8 to S10 and the difference was very noticeable.
  • I keep telling myself to hold onto the phone for 3 years, but usually it ends up being 18 months to 2 years. However, I never buy current flagships (the last "flagship" device I got was a Blackberry Z10 several months after it was released). Since that time, I've mostly been using budget Android devices (Asus Zenfone line to be specific). Just got an OG Pixel and love it (battery could be better but I can deal with it). It's probably one of the top 3 favourite phones I've had (other two being a Nokia 6310 and Blackberry Bold 9000, both of which I still have).
  • I'll keep my current pixel2 for minimum 3 years as also it'll be supported for that period
  • I'll have my current phone (Essential PH-1) for a year now this month. Before that, I believe I had my old phone for about three and a half years. That's about average for me.
  • My last 2 phones were about 1.5 years each. Galaxy S7 Edge from April 2016-Oct 2017, LG V30 Oct 2017-June 2019. I've had phones longer, Motorola Droid Turbo was at least 2 years & Nokia Lumia 920 2.5 years. And Shorter, Galaxy S5 6 months (hated that thing).
  • 2- 3 years for me.
  • back when contracts were only 12 months here I just got a new one every year... Note 2-3-4 didn't like the 5 and the 7 was recalled before I got one, Note 8 I still have but got a really good price on a 8/512gb dual sim Note 9 last week so I guess that put me in the 1 to 2 years bracket for new phones, I want a Note 10+ but not desperate for one, I can wait a year like I did with the Note 9
  • I usually keep them 12 -18 months. But I have mostly used budget phones for a while now so not a big expense. My Moto G7 is the most expensive phone I've had in years.
  • Note 8....and judging by the leaks, I'll still have it after the Note10 release....
  • I upgrade every year.
    Galaxy Note loyal!
  • I generally get every new flagship and sell the old one. I always keep the latest iPhone, Pixel and rotate other phones thru out the year. Absolutely overkill 😂
  • Every year and a half im on tmobiles jump plan. Sometimes a little sooner.
  • Since contacts went away I haven't bothered upgrading earlier than 2 years. I was able to grab my current LG G5 on a traditional contract right before Sprint did away with them and get it subsidized. I want flagship but don't want flagship prices and I'm not going to pay for it monthly. I'd rather buy a phone outright, and own it, than have my monthly bill increase.
  • Usually I switch when my battery or something else major goes. My last phone was a s7. I will not spend money on a flagship anymore now that they are $1000 plus. My current phone is a Umidigi F1 and it cost me $200 with a free U-watch thrown in for being an early adapter. They just upgraded my camera software with night mod and other goodies so I can see this phone lasting at least 2 years. That's value!
  • I'd still be using my 4 year old 950XL if Microsoft didn't give up...
  • I've been rocking the Note8 since I received it on pre-order. Unless the Note10 doesn't impress, I will be keeping the Note8 as a backup.
  • What time do you write your titles at? :-D