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Security concerns force President Trump to ditch Android phone

Incoming U.S. President Donald Trump has reportedly had to switch from his old Android phone to a new device, potentially a modified Apple iPhone.




Trump turned in his previous phone after arriving in Washington, D.C. on Thursday in preparation for Friday's inauguration, the Associated Press said. He was under pressure from security agencies to do so, given the potential threats posed by hackers gaining access.

While Trump's new device is unknown, it could be an iPhone if he follows in the steps of his predecessor. Barack Obama was the first U.S. president to carry a cellphone, initially starting with a modified BlackBerry, later migrating to an iPhone.

Obama's iPhone had its own restrictions, such as a limited number of people he could exchange email with. One benefit, though, is that it was the only device with access to the @POTUS Twitter account.

Trump was infamous for his Twitter posts during his election campaign, but has said he will continue to post through the @realDonaldTrump account, even after taking office. He or his staff have posted from an iPhone in the past.

While it is possible to lock down an Android phone —by enabling full-disk encryption, using secure services, disabling riskier features, or even writing a customized version of Android —an iPhone is often a simpler option. Full-disk encryption is on by default in iOS 8 and later, and any device with a Touch ID sensor also has a Secure Enclave, making even physical hacking difficult without a warrant.

iOS also doesn't allow native filesystem access, restricting what the software is capable of, but also safely sandboxing apps.

As of this writing, Trump's inauguration ceremony is currently ongoing. Read how to watch the event live on an iOS device or Apple TV.