And the best (and most secure) phone is…

No – this is no “best of” list like you find them everywhere, with 10 or more randomly chosen products and “affiliate links” to big online stores. This post is about security, because that’s what matters, not how great a product looks and feels in your hands, or how nice the photos are which can be made with their cameras, or all the new(ish) “AI” stuff built into them.

Since a few years now, arm – together with Google – are developing something they’ve called “Memory Tagging Extensions”, or short: MTE. That’s a mitigation against 0-day-exploits, and thus, important. The arm developers explain it on their blog, and you can also read their white paper about it in case you’d like to know what it is and how it works.

And now you can actually buy the first product which has that built in – and it’s:

The Google Pixel 8 (and The Pixel 8 Pro)

And no, it’s not enabled by default yet (except if you run GrapheneOS instead of Google’s own version of Android), but if you don’t mind your phone to being run in “developer mode”, you can read how to enable it yourself on Google’s “Project Zero” blog.

No silver bullet, that’s right. But both the arm and Google’s developers are to be complimented about that, even the DevOps from GrapheneOS (and also DivestOS) do that – and recommend the Pixel 8 (or 8 Pro) above all other handsets. Security better than that of an iPhone, as was reported elsewhere (but that’s another topic).

Even if you own a Pixel 8 (/Pro) and do nothing, I’m sure that Google’s team are testing it, and that they will activate the feature per default with one of their next (monthly) updates. GrapheneOS, like I wrote above, does use it already, so that’s my OS of choice even on my older Pixel 6a (which doesn’t have MTE built into it, but I’ll still use that as long as it’s supported (July ’27 according to Google, and GrapheneOS supports it until then as well – after that I’d have to change it to DivestOS)).

Oh, and re: support cycles – for the Pixel 8, that’s 7 years, so even if it costs a bit more, I’d most probably choose that one over a Pixel 7a. Let’s see if the next phones (8a and newer) will also be supported that long. So another thing to applaud, and we should avoid waste and that that into account (and no, the “Fairphone” can’t compete on any level, even if that’s theoretically supported a bit longer).

Like always, thanks for reading.