Every year new brands host a launch event, live-streamed online to millions of people, and the majority of the time they release a brand new and improved smartphone. More often than not you will then see your contract can be upgraded at no extra cost, and just can’t resist that latest phone. The question is, do you really need to upgrade to a shiny brand new smartphone, or is your current one perfectly fit for use.

All new smartphones have a certain number of years’ support provided by the manufacturer, meaning that they will release security updates and patches. At the time of writing this, most new Android phones have anywhere between 2 and 5 years of updates and iPhone’s have 5 years of updates. Some of the updates will also be to the latest version of operating system, like the Google Pixel 6 for example. This is a massive reason not to buy a brand new phone yet if you still receive updates as you are effectively getting a new refresh of your existing phone with OS updates.

You should also consider the fact that every time you upgrade to a new phone it will make your existing phone redundant. The environmental implications of this are huge if you consider the fact that new resources have to be used to make new devices and your old phone effectively is waste, unless you pass it down to an elderly relative. You have to consider how your old phone is going to be disposed of too. It is estimated that over 150 million smartphones go to landfill every single year.

Pixel 6 home screenIt used to be the case that when new phones were released they had massive upgrades like the jump to touchscreen, the addition of cameras and fingerprint unlock. But new phones now have less and less massive feature upgrades and some even look the same. They are usually just minor improvements to the existing tech like being slightly faster, longer batter life that you will very rarely notice, and you often get those upgrades anyway through new software updates we mentioned above.

The reason behind getting a new phone can be a bit of a status symbol, especially with younger generations. Imagine going to the bus stop with your mates on the way to school and you have a 3 year old iPhone! The chances are you wouldn’t even notice anyway as the design doesn’t change dramatically between versions, but the modern culture of needing the latest greatest thing takes over and some people have to get a new phone as soon as it’s released.

It’s definitely worth thinking about; do you really need a new phone before upgrading or is it just going to be an unnecessary impulse buy? If your existing device still does what you need it to and is still receiving operating system support and updates, then the answer is probably that you don’t need the latest phone. Change your wallpaper instead or even treat yourself to a new case and it will fell like a brand new phone anyway.