Question Can the OS be updated on an unlocked Tracfone?

retirednongeek

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I have a LG Tracfone running Android OS 8.1.0. If I get it unlocked, will I then be able to update to a new OS? Or, must I start over with a new phone?
 

B. Diddy

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Welcome to Android Central! A cheap, very old phone from TracFone almost certainly got no significant official updates from the manufacturer. Even if it did, the Android version would still be woefully out of date. It's best to recycle that phone and get something more current. There are plenty of good affordable options.
 
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retirednongeek

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Thank you for your replies. I am a very limited user of our smart phone. I have it primarily to be able to use in the event of an emergency, and the only app I use regularly is Drive Safe & Save thru State Farm to get a discount on auto insurance. The app recently updated and now requires at least OS 9. If I were to get a new phone, the ones I am looking at use either Android 11 or 12. With a new OS update every year, I might have a few years before a new phone would be outdated as well if the State Farm raises it's minimum OS requirements. Not being an avid cell phone user or very tech savvy, IF my current phone could be unlocked (which seems to be an option from Tracfone), and IF the OS be updated to a newer version, my needs would be met. My current phone does all I need it to do at the moment, except be able to run that app, so am not anxious to have to get a new phone and have to transfer contacts, etc. Even if I get a newer phone, I might face the same dilemma again with needing to update the OS. I want to stay with Tracfone service because of all of the unused minutes, texts and data I have accumulated over the years and can transfer. So, back to my original question: Can the OS be updated on an unlocked Tracfone? And, a second question: If I were to get and bring my own phone (one unlocked and not sold by Tracfone) to Tracfone, would OS updates be easier and possible?
 

B. Diddy

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The answer is no, that phone won't have any updates.

A current phone would likely remain compatible with that app for at least 5-6 years, probably more. You really need to upgrade to a newer phone. I would guess that Tracfone has some pretty affordable options -- I currently see the Moto G Play 2023 for $50 and the Samsung Galaxy A13 for $70: https://www.tracfone.com/smartphones. Both should work well enough for you (although I'd probably lean towards the Samsung, since they're better about update support over the years than Motorola).

Updates are dependent on the manufacturer. The best phone maker for updates is always going to be Google, with Samsung close behind (although they're much better about their flagships, not so much the budget phones). Motorola is perennially near the bottom of the list, although they've also improved.
 

retirednongeek

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Thank you for your clear, straightforward reply. Tracfone customer service could not answer these questions yesterday. While I will probably not be a frequent contributor or viewer of this forum, glad I found it as it answered my questions and gave me the info I need to move forward. Will probably get the Samsung Galaxy A13 as suggested.
 

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