Is it safe to still use the iPhone 4 in 2017?

I have fond memories of the iPhone 4.

In fact, it was my first iPhone ever and was a welcome upgrade to my old Nokia E71.

I’m a technologist but not an early adopter, except for one device: the iPad.

And if you’re wondering, yes, my first generation iPad is still working fine.

But let’s get back to the iPhone 4 which was released in 2010 too.

If you’re still using one as your main phone, not only are you missing out on cool features but you’re putting yourself at risk too.

The reason is simple: it is stuck with a version of the operating system filled with security vulnerabilities that have not (and cannot) be patched on this device.

Why? Because it can’t be upgraded to iOS 8 and therefore is stuck with iOS 7.1.2.

In practice, what does it mean?

It means that a determined ill-intentioned and tech-savvy individual could get access to private information, such as:

  • your Apple ID
  • your address book
  • your Wi-Fi credentials
  • your e-mail attachments
  • passwords stored in Safari

In other words, these security threats should make you think twice before using an iPhone 4 in public places, especially if your passcode is weak (aka 4 digits) or if you haven’t set any passcode at all.

I have an iPhone 4S, am I safe?

Not really either, for a similar reason.

The right question to ask oneself is this: is my iPhone (or iPad or iPod Touch) compatible with the latest version of the operating system?

How do I know if my device is compatible with the latest version of iOS?

You could:

  1. go to Apple’s Web site: https://www.apple.com/ios
  2. or have a look on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOS
  3. or use the MacTracker app: http://mactracker.ca
Does it mean that one should stop using older devices?

Of course not!

The thing is, like many other risks, as long as you are aware of them, you can adjust your behaviour accordingly.

I’m still using my iPhone 4, by the way, without a SIM card.

And it’s staying at home and only turned on when I need to do some research for my customers or when preparing my blog posts or weekly newsletters.


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