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Google Pixel 3a updates end this month, time to buy a new phone

cameron summer

Of all the Pixel phones in Google’s backlog, the Pixel 3a is my favorite. It’s the best affordable phone I’ve ever used, and it remains relatively bug-free by Pixel standards. Unfortunately, Google will no longer offer software or security updates for the Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XL. It’s time to buy a new phone.

As Google promised, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL received exactly three years of software and security updates. Both phones end life with Android 12, which is impressive: most Android devices (especially budget phones) only get a single OS update, if ever.

A table showing the guaranteed update cycle for various Pixel phones.

Now I’m sure not need the latest Android operating system. But without security updates, your Pixel 3a will slowly become vulnerable to hackers and malware. Google may send an emergency security update to the Pixel 3a if it discovers a major security flaw, but there are no guarantees.

I suggest replacing your Pixel 3a soon, ideally by the end of the year. The latest devices from Google and Samsung come with five years of security updates, so you may want to buy a Pixel 6, Galaxy S21, or Galaxy S22 to avoid replacing your phone as often. (You can also look forward to the Pixel 6a and Pixel 7, which will launch later this year.)

If you’re shopping on a budget, you may want to replace your Pixel 3a with the Pixel 5a. It regularly goes on sale for less than $400 and will receive security updates until 2024.

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