Jailbreaking Explained: What You Need to Know About Jailbreaking iPhones and iPads

iPhones and iPads are locked-down devices. You can only install apps Apple has approved, and you can’t tweak the underlying system like you could on a Windows, Mac, or Linux system. Jailbreaking is the act of escaping this figurative “jail.”

Apple doesn’t like jailbreaking, and they go out of their way to make it more difficult. The jailbreaking community and Apple are engaged in a game of cat-and-mouse. Jailbreakers work to make jailbreaking possible before Apple blocks their latest tricks.

What is Jailbreaking?

Jailbreaking is different from rooting and unlocking, but it’s similar. Like many other modern devices, iOS devices like iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches come locked-down. You don’t have access to the entire device’s file system in the same way you have low-level access on a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer. Apple has this “Administrator” or “Root user” access on your device, not you.

Jailbreaking is the act of gaining full access to an iOS device. Jailbreakers generally locate a security vulnerability and use it to escape the locked down environment, giving users full control over their devices.

Thanks to the US DMCA, jailbreaking an iPhone is completely legal, while jailbreaking an iPad appears to be a felony. Laws may vary in other countries.

Why People Jailbreak

An iPhone or iPad’s locked-down nature means you can only do what Apple allows you to do with it. For example, you can’t change your default email app or web browser. You also can’t install apps from outside Apple’s App Store, which means you’re out of luck if you want to use an app Apple doesn’t approve of. You also don’t have the low-level access to customize the iOS operating system in other ways, doing a wide variety of things that Apple wouldn’t approve of. Performing other system-level tweaks like changing themes, adding widgets, or enabling Wi-Fi tethering against your carrier’s wishes also requires jailbreaking.

People jailbreak because they want to do more with their devices than Apple allows them to. Whether you want to get your hands dirty with low-level system tweaks or just make Chrome and Gmail your default web browser and email apps, jailbreaing gives you complete access to the underlying system and gives you the power to do these things.


Apple’s War on Jailbreaking

Because jailbreaking isn’t intended or supported by Apple, all jailbreaks are accomplished through finding a security vulnerability in Apple’s iOS operating system and exploiting it. This gives Apple two different motivations to block jailbreaking: They want to prevent jailbreaking itself, and they also want to fix security flaws that could be used to compromise iOS devices for malicious purposes.
Every time the jailbreaking community releases a new tool that exploits a flaw, Apple notices. They can then fix the flaw in the next version of iOS, which blocks the jailbreak from functioning. This means that jailbreakers who depend on their jailbreak tweaks may often hold back from upgrading to new versions of iOS until a jailbreak has been released and is confirmed working. Upgrading to a new version of iOS will generally “fix” the jailbreak as well as the security flaw, resetting the device to a locked-down state.

For example, an iOS 7 jailbreak was just released on December 22, 2013. iOS 7 itself was released on September 16, 2013. This means that it took the jailbreaking community over four months to find a jailbreak for iOS 7 — prior to this, jailbreakers could choose to use an old version of iOS 6 or upgrade to the latest version and lose their jailbreak. Apple will soon fix this jailbreak with a new version of iOS, and jailbreakers will have to choose between their jailbreaks and the latest version of iOS.

As Apple continues to patch up holes in iOS, jailbreaks are taking longer to appear. The jailbreaking community is locked in a perpetual struggle with Apple. Apple will probably never completely win — it’s difficult to make software without any holes — but they’re making things increasingly difficult for jailbreakers.

How to Jailbreak

Before performing a jailbreak or doing anything else risky, you’ll probably want to back up your device. If there’s a problem, you can restore the backup.

Assuming a jailbreak is currently available for your device’s version of iOS — and one just came out for iOS 9.3 very recently — you’ll simply need to locate the jailbreak tool, download it, and run it on your computer. The current jailbreaking tool of choice is Pangu. The jailbreaking process involves downloading the program to your Mac or Windows computer, connecting your iOS device to your computer with a USB cable, and running the tool. It should hopefully jailbreak your device with no problems. Be sure to follow all the instructions included with the jailbreak tool.

As part of the jailbreak process, the tool will install Cydia on your device. Cydia is an alternative app store containing iOS apps that Apple wouldn’t approve. They’re the kind of thing developed by the jailbreaking community that Apple doesn’t want you to use. For example, you’ll find tools for theming your device and adding widgets here. If you want to change your default browser, you’d install the BrowserChooser app from Cydia and select your default browser with it. Cydia is the way you actually accomplish the things that probably led you to jailbreak your device in the first place.

If you depend on jailbreaking, be sure to wait until a new jailbreak is available for every new version of Apple’s iOS before upgrading. Apple doesn’t want you to jailbreak your devices and they go out of their way to stop it.

If you have any queries/feedback, please write it in comments section below OR mail me here : Snehal[at]Techproceed[dot]com.

Happy Jailbreaking !  :-)

How to minimize Internet data usage in Windows 10

Ever wondered where’s your data vanishing post the upgrade to Windows 10? Well, if you are held up in an area with limited modem speed you are bound to face such issues. If you have noticed that Windows 10 loves to feast on data, in no time would you see them disappearing strangely. Even though we can set the connection to “Metered” the data still fast diminished without any clue.

Wondering what’s leading to this heavy internet usage? Want to find out what’s causing your data to disappear? Today we will not only guide you through how to set your connection as “Metered” under the settings, but will also show you how to limit Windows 10 data.

Tips to Save your Data Consumption on Windows 10 OS

  • Select “Metered” as your Data Connection

Changing your data connection to “Metered” under the Settings is one of the most basic steps in order to send a signal to the Windows 10 that will restrict massive updates and self-regulating app downloads. In order to change the setting to “Metered” you need to click on the “Start” button (the windows key on your keyboard), then go to “Settings” in the menu, select “Network and Internet” from the list, now go to “Wi-Fi” and then click on “Advanced Options”.

The box that opens now will display the second option as “Metered connection”. Click on the slider beneath it to put it “ON”.

  • Switch Off Background Apps
Windows 10 allows some of the background apps to function by default which in turn consumes a lot of data. The notable culprit here is the “Mail” application that depletes the majority of data. In such cases, it is rather safe to switch off of these offenders or apps in order to save yourself some data.

Go to “Settings”, click on “Privacy” and now locate “Background apps”. Switch off the “Background apps” options and then scroll through and switch off any other apps that you think you do not require and are finishing your data.

  • Set “One Drive” Off

One Drive is one of the other background apps in the Windows 10 that depletes your data in no time. It is indeed one of the most crucial apps in the Windows 10 OS disabling which can be a radical step, however, not many of us need it running in the background at all times. Yes, the One Drive does help you sync your files which makes life simpler, but that can be even done in the next cyber café. This may take a while for you; however, it will save you some substantial data over the period.

  • Read: How to uninstall OneDrive
In order to deactivate the One Drive, right clicking on the “Task Bar” will open up a list. Select “Task Manager” from the list and click on it or alternatively use your keyboard shortcuts, such as, CTRL + SHIFT + ESC all at once. Under this you will see a series of tabs and the one that you need to click on is the “Startup” tab. This will further open up a list and here you need to scroll down and select “Microsoft OneDrive”. Now deactivate this option to stop “One Drive” from automatically syncing the files in the background. You can also disable other drives, like the Google Drive or the Dropbox in order to save data.

  • Deactivate PC Synchronization Function
Even though you may admire the PC sync function being the Windows 10 trademark feature, the fact is that it eats up a considerable portion of your data. So you really do not want it to run at the background unless required, hence, it’s a better idea to keep it switched off till the time you need to sync files. In order to switch the PC sync off you need to find the “Settings” option, go to “Accounts”, and find the option that says “Sync your settings” and now just slide it to “OFF”.

  • Disable Notifications

“Notifications” is another section where you have the opportunity to save some data. Simply disable the notifications if you do not need to be constantly informed of the current activities by the background apps. Simply right click on the “Action Centre” icon and click on the “Turn on quiet hours” to turn it off.

  • Deactivate Live Tiles
Opting to keep the “Live Tiles” option “On” will keep the News application running in the background which will constantly keep you updated with the latest Feeds. Facebook, Twitter, Mail or Weather are certain apps that are interconnected with the Feed and will keep retrieving the News automatically. In case if you are not interested in the Feeds you can deactivate it the “Live Tiles” and opt out of it. Right click on the option “Tile” and select the option that says “Turn live tile off” and you are done!

  • Disable Bandwidth sharing !
Windows 10 have come up with an improvement in its Windows Update option that allows it to sync updates from a local network PC in a P2P (peer-to-peer) style named “Windows Update Delivery Optimization” or WUDO.

WUDO is ideal for situations if your OS is set up with “Metered” connection but have more than one computer using the Windows 10 operating system. However, if the computers in the local network are of the same built, you can make use of only computer to update the other.
In order to deactivate this configuration click open “Settings” option from clicking on the windows start key and then settings.

Then select “Update and Security”.

Go to “Windows Update”.

Finally select “Choose how updates are delivered”.

Once you reach this option slide it to “OFF” and there you go!

WUDO is a dicey feature offered by Windows 10 since in its Home and Pro versions the WUDO is set in such a way that it transports Windows Update info to other computers via the internet, but only to computers in the local network in Education and Enterprise versions. So in situations where you are bound in a limited modem speed it is a better idea to stay away from sharing updates online with other computers.
Turn off Auto update of offline Maps in windows 10

Just go to Settings -> System -> Offline Maps . Turn off the option Automatically Update Maps.

  • Disable Windows 10 auto Update ! Read here
Delay Windows Update ! Only for Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise users

Yes! You also have this convenient feature in Windows 10 which allows you to actually delay/defer the Windows Updates. So if your PC is running an OS which is either Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise, you will find an option in the settings section of the Windows Update that will let you delay/defer the procedure of new features download for quite a few months. This definitely makes a huge impact as any update to the new features can be significantly big.

And what’s more, delaying the Windows Update will not disturb either the download process or the installation procedure of the security updates! Also, it will not affect the downloading of the features forever, but only for a limited period.

Go to the “Setting” option, click open the “Update and Security”, now select “Windows Update” and then click “Advanced Options”. Toggle towards the bottom and click on the check box next to the option that says “Defer Upgrades”. However, remember that by turning this on will also defer “Microsoft Updates”.

Please note that you need not apply all the options that we mentioned here and you should rather apply the ideas based on the type of connection that runs on your OS. However, when applied tactfully these ideas will help you control the data consumption by Windows 10 in a much better fashion, thereby helping you save a good amount of data.
Happy data saving :-)

How to Find Your Lost or Stolen Android Phone

You’re having a night out. With dinner down the hatch, you’re walking down the street with your sweetheart to the next destination. You reach into your pocket to pull out your phone, when that feeling hits the pit of your stomach: your phone is missing. Did you leave it at the restaurant? Or maybe at home? Did someone steal it? Your mind races. You have no idea.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do in this situation to hopefully get your phone back.

How to Find Your Phone From Your Computer

There’s a good chance you’ve stumbled across this article after having lost your phone, so instead of telling you what you should’ve done before losing it, let’s get right to it: you want to know what to do right now.

The good news is that you can quickly find your missing handset with Google’s Android Device Manager, even if you don’t have the app installed. Grab your computer (if you don’t have your computer, see the next section), connect to the internet, open Chrome, and make sure you’re logged in to your Google account (seriously, this part is crucial). Type “Where is my phone” in Chrome’s omnibox. This will do a search, and Google will automatically load a mini Android Device Manager window inside of the search results. During my testing, I found this little box to be pretty hit and miss in terms of accuracy, so for the sake of finding your phone quickly, go ahead and hit the first link: “Android Device Manager.”

This will bring up the Device Manager site—you may or may not have to log into your Google account again here—and immediately start tracking your device. If you happen to have multiple phones and tablets, you can use the small drop down to find the one that’s missing.

Once you’ve told the Device Manager to find your missing phone, it’ll start tracking and shouldfind it within a few seconds. It’ll provide the time it was located, the location, and the accuracy range. This will give you a damn good idea of where your phone is.

To make sure your personal data is safe and secure, you can use the “lock” button to quickly enable a lock screen password, even if you didn’t have one enabled before. Once the password is set, you can also put a recovery message on the locks screen—something like “Thanks for finding my phone! Please call the number below.” (Then put a number in the box below.)

This should, in theory, lock the device up behind the password you entered. The message will display in big letters at the top of the screen, with a large “Call Owner” button just below. If an honest person found your phone, hopefully they’ll call you. If a thief snatched it, hopefully they’ll know you’re aware that the phone is missing and get freaked out. I wouldn’t count on that, though.

After locking the device, you can also send a command to ring it, which can help you pinpoint its exact location if you just left it somewhere. It doesn’t scream out—it just plays the set ringtone at full volume for five minutes. If you’re tracing back your steps to a location where you left it, you should probably wait until you’re close enough before executing this command.

Lastly, if all hope is lost, you can completely wipe the device with the “erase” command. This will completely factory reset the device, wiping all of your personal data, pictures, music, and all other stored files. It will also try to wipe the SD card if your device has one, but there’s a possibility (depending on Android version and manufacturer) that it may not be able to, so keep that in mind. Once the phone has been wiped, Android Device Manager will no longer work, so this is basically you saying goodbye to your phone—this is the point of no return.

How to Find Your Phone from Another Android Device

So maybe you don’t have your computer handy, or you don’t want to go back home just to find your missing phone. That’s understandable, and there’s another solution: the Android Device Manager app. If you have a second Android phone or tablet with you, grab that bad boy and give the app a quick install.

Once you’ve got it loaded up, you’ll need to input your Google password to start location devices. The app works exactly like the website, so all of the instructions and details above are applicable here. You can ring, lock, and erase your device directly from the app with all the same options that the web offers. Boom.

How to Find Your Phone from a Friend’s Phone

So what happens if you don’t have another Android device or your computer? That’s when it may seem like all hope is lost, but fret not, there’s still an option. Grab a friend’s phone or tablet—doesn’t matter if it’s Android, iOS, Windows Phone, or whatever else (just as long as it’s a smartphone).

Open the web browser and do a search for Android Device Manager. Open the first link, and sign in. Boom, you’re in.

The only snag you may run into is if you have Two-Factor Authentication enabled on your Google account, which will require you to input a six-digit code before getting access to your account. The problem is that this usually relies on either an app (like Google Authenticator) or a text message to get you this code, and if your phone is missing…well, you see where this is going.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep some backup codes handy. Google provides these when you set up two-factor authentication in the first place, so print them out and keep them somewhere safe—don’t wait until it’s too late! These codes could mean the difference between getting your phone back (or at least keeping prying eyes away from your personal data) and never seeing it again.

Once you’re logged in, the Device Manager will work the same way as discussed above. Do your thing. Good luck.

Other Things to Consider About Android Device Manager

Like everything else, Android Device Manager isn’t without its limitations. For example, if your phone is stolen and you don’t have a protected lock screen (shame on you!) and the thief has already performed a factory reset, you’re out of luck. The phone is no longer associated with your Google Account at that point, so Google has no way of tracking it. Bummer.

If the phone happens to die before you can track it, or the thief turns it off, all hope isn’t totally lost—Android Device Manager will try to provide the last verified location. This will at least give you an idea of where you could’ve lost it. You can also hope that whoever finds it will put it on charge for you—then you’ll be able to track it again. Or maybe they’ll just call you. That’d be neat too.

Finding out your phone is missing can be a gut-wrenching feeling, but Google has done an excellent job with Android Device Manager, as it’s a fully integrated option that takes the place of dozens of janky products that tried to achieve this goal before. So while it may not be any easier to realize that your handset is gone, at least you have solid hope of getting it back.

Happy Finding :-)

Are Cheap Android Phones Worth It?


Cheap Android phones are quickly becoming commonplace—for as low as $99, you can get a reliable, initially-impressive handset that you’re free to take to a bunch of different carriers. While these bargain-bin devices are definitely appealing, you have to ask yourself: is it really worth it?
What Makes a Cheap Phone a Cheap Phone?

Let’s start with the obvious: cheap phones are cheaper for a reason. There has to be something that separates a $99 phone from a $700 one, and–in most cases–it’s probably a few things. Here are a few areas the manufacturers tend to cut costs.

Most of the time, affordable phones have either current low-end hardware, or higher-end hardware from two or three years ago. This is one of the most effective ways to keep costs down, but that always means performance takes a hit. In addition, the cameras are usually of lower (but generally passable) quality, and the screens don’t commonly have the high pixel density, super-sharp displays of current-generation handsets.

Right out of the gate, you have to keep in mind that you’ll be dealing with either a lower-end processor—like something from Mediatek, for example—or possibly an older Snapdragon chip, probably from somewhere around the 400 range. This is noteworthy for those who think “I can just get something cheap and put a ROM on it,” because certain chip manufacturers are known for not releasing source code, thus making it impossible for developers to build ROMs for those devices. Essentially, count on sticking with the stock software throughout the lifetime of the device, thought a bit of research ahead of time wouldn’t be a bad idea either. That way you already know what you’re dealing with before it’s too late.

But there’s also another side to this story. Every year, processor manufacturers improve the technology they use to increase performance and battery life. This tech, naturally, trickles down, so just because a processor is “budget-friendly” doesn’t automatically make it bad. In recent years, some of Mediatek’s Octa-core processors (like the 6753, for example) have gotten quite powerful, making them excellent choices for budget devices. The price to performance ratio in these kinds of devices is generally fantastic—dramatically more than most modern flagship units. The performance isn’t comparable, but at least you’re really getting your $99 worth.

Display tech is also a point of concern with lower-end handsets. Generally speaking, the displays of most budget phones, while not quite as high resolution of modern flagships (1080p vs. 1440p), are pretty decent—Motorola puts nice-looking panels in its Moto G line, Blu devices typically have very nice displays despite their generally-low price points, and the Huawei Honor 5X sports a 1080p display that readily competes with the flagships of yesteryear.

If I had to pick one piece of the hardware puzzle that will almost certainly be sub-par in a budget phone, it’s the camera. The display may be decent and the performance acceptable, but cameras are almost always a disappointment. It makes sense, really—that’s one of the most important features to most users, so getting something simply outstanding is a big part of what jacks up the price on high-end modern devices. Most of the cameras on budget devices these days aren’t as bad as they once were, but I can tell you right now: if a good camera is a must-have for your next device, a budget phone simply won’t be for you.
Long-Term Reliability and Updates

Reliability is a bit harder to pinpoint, as it’s going to be different for every device. But the long and short of it is this: if a current-gen high-end handset gets you an easy two years of use, a more affordable one may only survive half of that. There’s a chance it could live a long, fruitful life, but there’s probably an equal chance it’ll kick the bucket in the first year one way or another—these phones aren’t designed to be nearly as robust as more expensive phone will be so they’re more fragile. You also have to keep in mind that they have to cut costs somewhere, so hardware failure isn’t something that’s totally uncommon. In my experience, the lifespan of a budget phone is a coin toss.

Updates are a bit of a coin flip, too. It’s questionable whether or not the $150 handset you’re thinking about buying will see the next version of Android—and if it does, it’ll likely be the last one it ever sees. Not to mention it will probably come much later than that of a flagship phone—sometimes even a full update cycle later. So when everyone else is getting Android 7.0 (or whatever the next major release is), the budget handset may just be getting 6.0. You never know, but the companies that build affordable Android phones just don’t have the manpower to continuously support these devices long-term, though many of them are at least making an effort to provide updates and continued support to their low-end catalog.

In short: if you go into this expecting to get a Galaxy S7 (or even S6)-equivalent phone, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. But if you keep your expectations in check, you can come away with about 80 percent of the premium Android experience for a fraction of the cost.
Know Your Carrier—Compatibility Is Key

For those that don’t already know, not all phones are compatible with all carriers. In the US, there are two main types of cellular service: CDMA and GSM. Sprint and Verizon are the primary CDMA carriers, while T-Mobile and AT&T are the two primary GSM carriers. The tech behind each type of service is very different, but that’s not what we’re really concerned with for the sake of this article—you really only need to know one thing when it comes to buying off-contract phones (not just cheapies, either): GSM is generally open; CDMA is not.

Basically, neither Sprint nor Verizon offer options for customers to bring their own phones. They have what they offer, and that’s that. There are a very few exceptions to this rule, however, like the Google Nexus 5X and 6P, but otherwise, you’ll have to stick with the phones Verizon and Sprint offer.

GSM carriers—like AT&T, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, and US Cellular, for example—are pretty “open.” You can take most modern GSM smartphones, drop a SIM card from one of the aforementioned carriers in it, and it should just work, no matter where you bought it from.

For most flagship phones, this isn’t as much of an issue, because they’re designed to “just work” with GSM carriers in the US. Budget phones, however, aren’t. You’ll need to look a little deeper at stuff like the “bands”–or specific data frequencies–the phone uses. Not every budget phone supports the right bands for every GSM network, and it can make things really confusing when you’re shopping around.

For example, let’s say you currently have an aging Samsung Galaxy SIII on AT&T, and you’re looking to replace it with a Motorola Moto E. There are two versions of the Moto E—one with support for 4G LTE, and one with 3G only. If you buy the wrong one, then you’re going to give up the high-speed LTE data that the Galaxy SIII has, replacing it with comparatively snail’s-paced 3G on the Moto E.

Fortunately, Motorola does a good job of differentiating between the two models, but not all manufacturers make it that clear, and certain carriers rely more heavily on certain mobile bands that not every cheap phone supports. For example, the phone in the above screenshot (Blu Vivo 5) uses LTE Bands 2, 4, and 7. A similar phone from Blu (the Vivo XL—seen below), uses LTE Bands 2, 4, 7, 12, and 17. Band 12 and 17 are particularly important for T-Mobile in certain parts of the country, and their omission on the Vivo 5 means some people may be left without LTE coverage.

Basically, just because a phone says that it’s ”4G LTE Compatible with T-Mobile“ doesn’t necessarily mean it will be compatible in all areas. It really takes some digging to figure out what bands are supported, then compare that to the bands that are used in your area. And if you’re trying to sort through the sea of cheap Android phones on Amazon, that can be a huge undertaking.

Budget Phones vs. Last-Generation Flagship Phones

Of course, budget Android phones aren’t the only way to save some money. You could also buy last year’s flagship phone, or even the year before’s, which would bring down the cost quite a bit. So which is better? Unfortunately, this isn’t such an easy answer, especially considering the rate that budget phones are progressing and bringing high-end features to low-end devices.

For example, two of the newest phones from budget phone maker Blu—the Vivo 5 and Vivo XL—both have USB Type C, a feature that’s otherwise only found on a small handful of top-tier devices. Similarly, the Huawei Honor 5X has a fingerprint reader that’s actually quite good; better than the flagships that introduced the feature, like the Samsung Galaxy S5. Again, usable fingerprint readers are just now becoming mainstream on top-end devices.

And all three of those phones cost less than $200 right now. High-end features in low-end phones…it’s a crazy world we live in.

Furthermore, an older flagship will probably not get any more updates, especially once it’s more than two years old. A cheap phone may not either, but it’s at least a little more likely to.
How do the Processors Compare?

Of course, you still have to consider the rest of the hardware. Is it better to have a two-generation-old processor, like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, or a modern budget model, like the aforementioned MediaTek 6753? In raw benchmark scores, the older processor still generally outscores the modern budget chip, but that doesn’t necessarily always translate into real-world usage—just because the Snapdragon 800 outscores the 6753 by 11,000 points in AnTuTu (38,298 vs. 49,389), does it really mean it offers 30 percent more power in a real-world scenario? Rarely. In most side-by-side comparisons, you’d have a hard time telling the difference between the two.

What About the Displays and Cameras?

We’ve already established that two-generation-old flagship processors are “faster” (on paper) than most current-generation budget chips, but what about the display tech and cameras? With the latter, the budget phone will more than likely have a better display than the older flagship model, simply because display tech is improving at a pace that allows much higher-quality panels to be produced at a lower cost. And while budget phones generally top out at around 1080p (for the time being, anyway), this generally translates to slightly better performance since there are fewer pixels for the CPU and GPU to push.

As mentioned earlier, the camera is one place where you might see an advantage of current-generation budget models. That one is very subjective, and it depends on the phone in question—for example, the S5 is going to have a better camera than something like the 2014 Moto X, despite being older. Unfortunately, it’s much harder to put a cut-and-dry rule on camera performance when comparing two phones, despite which price point they fall into. You’ll just have to look up reviews for the phones you’re interested in.

Overall, which is better? It depends a lot on the phone, and what’s important to you. An old flagship may look and feel a little better, and may come with a better camera–but it certainly won’t be getting any updates, where a newer device might.
The One Exception to All of This

With all that said, there is one general exception to most of the “rules” I’ve laid out here: Nexus phones. Google typically sells Nexus phones at more affordable prices in the first place, so they are more cost-effective than other high-end phones from the same generation when buying older models. At the time of writing, you can get the last-generation Nexus phone—the Motorola Nexus 6—for as little as $250 brand new. Aside from being arguably too big, the Nexus 6 is a great phone at that price, and will easily trump any other device at that price point. And best of all, since it’s a Nexus, it’s going to be supported by Google and get updates much longer than phones from other manufacturers.
So When Is a Budget Phone the Right Choice?

While I will admit that there’s never been a better time to buy into the budget scene–whether you’re getting a cheap current-gen phone or a last-gen flagship–there are times when it’s smarter than others.

If you aren’t a power user, or are looking to buy a phone for someone who isn’t, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to worry about updates, processor benchmarks, and the like. Ease of use and price are generally more important to those users, and Android’s newest budget handsets can often fit the bill perfectly. At the end of the day, if all you’re looking to do is text some friends, check Facebook, and play Candy Crush Saga, then there’s no need to waste a lot of money on a phone that has more than you need. Plus, you’ll probably need the cash you saved for in-app purchases to help get past that one level you’ve been stuck on for three weeks in Candy Crush. See? That’s me looking out for you.

But what if you are a power user? Here’s another scenario: you broke your main phone (I’m sorry), but you’re still paying on it. That’s a terrible situation to be in, as your carrier won’t allow you to finance another phone until the current one has been paid off. Instead of crying the sob of a broken man, you could just suck it up and drop a couple hundred on a budget model that will easily last until you’ve paid off your old phone and it’s time to grab the newest hotness. Alternatively, you can just take your kid’s phone and give him or her the cheaper phone—you won’t get any judgement from me.

That actually brings up another great argument for budget devices: kids. If you’ve got a pre-teen just dying for a phone, a more affordable model just makes sense. It’s their first (or second, third?) phone, and there’s a good chance they’ll break it anyway—kids are careless, uncoordinated, and just not as attentive as their adult counterparts, so these things happen. Why waste hundreds on a current flagship phone? There’s no point—at least not until they prove they can be responsible with the cheaper handset.

All that said: as much as I think the current budget market is in the best place it’s ever been, a cheap phone isn’t always the answer. The primary reason that you’d be looking at a budget model is, well, budget, so there’s no reason to even look down this path if your wallet can handle a current generation flagship. To put it clearly, a Galaxy S7 Edge, LG G5, or Nexus 6P is always going to outwork a cheaper handset—there’s just no question about it. Basically, if you can afford to spend more, do it. Looking at it from a long-term perspective, you’ll ultimately end up much better off.

But if you can’t, the budget market is strong, and getting stronger every day–so you’re in luck.

At the beginning of this article, I asked the question “are cheap Android phones worth it?” Two years ago, I would’ve laughed and said “absolutely not.” Today, however, we’re in a much better place technologically, and I feel like there is no place that is more clearly seen than the budget market. While current flagship phones are little more than iterative updates of their predecessors, the budget scene is growing by leaps and bounds. The performance and features that you can get for $200 in the current market is simply astounding on most counts, making this a much better time to buy a budget phone.

Of course, it’s not always the best choice, but that’s not for me to decide. Each situation is different and it’s ultimately up to you to decide what’s best for your usage.