Despite claims US President Donald Trump would swap his old Android smartphone for an encrypted handset approved by the Secret Service, it seems the president has stuck with his ageing and vulnerable Android device. But what phone does the newly elected president really use, and is it as insecure as experts claim?

A prolific tweeter, President Trump's Twitter account has grown a second personality since he entered the White House on 20 January. Tweets from the president himself, often recognisable thanks to their tone and words written in all-caps, are sent from an Android, while tweets seemingly written by his communications staff are published with an iPhone.

It is known Trump prefers Android to Apple's iOS and he has recently been pictured using Samsung handsets. But, despite a report from the New York Times on 19 January that Trump has "traded in his Android phone for a secure, encrypted device approved by the Secret Service with a new number that few people possess", the same newspaper claimed six days later the president still uses his "old, unsecured Android phone, to the protests of some of his aides".

Smartphone blog Android Central has, based on recent photographs of Trump with his phone, come to the conclusion that the billionaire president uses a Samsung Galaxy S3 from 2012. Such phones can be bought on eBay for around £80.

Is the phone secure enough?

If this assertion is true, not only is the phone five years old, it is devoid of any of the new security enhancements that both Samsung and Android have developed since 2012. The last update the phone got was in 2015, but that still left it running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, which also stems from 2012.

According to the latest Android OS platform distribution numbers, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is used by fewer than 2% of the world's Android users. It may be possible that Trump got the phone customised to make it more secure, but his aides have been worried over the use of this old device, citing security concerns.

Google also acknowledged that older versions of Android are no longer entirely secure, and remain vulnerable to phishing scams, but said it is not feasible to update the old code forever; it instead offers tips for avoiding potential exploits.

Although Samsung's Knox software, which can be installed on the Galaxy S3, is approved for "sensitive but unclassified use" by the US Department of Defense, devices running it are not completely protected from malware and phishing attacks.

Whether President Trump will be forced to retire his ageing Samsung in favour of a Secret Service-approved phone (even for his late-night tweeting habit) remains to be seen. But one this is clear, with all manner of cyber crime and state-sponsored hacking attempts lurking around every corner, he definitely needs a phone upgrade.