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Here’s why Android 12 users need to disable 2G connectivity and how to do it

Here's why Android 12 users need to disable 2G connectivity and how to do it
Android 12, or Snow Cone as it is known inside Googleplex, has the platform's new Material You design filled with pastel colors and vibrant shapes. Google also included a "kill switch" for 2G with the latest version of Android, and you're probably wondering why, years after 2G was the cellular standard, it's so important to go out to the back of the barn and shoot 2G to death.
The reason for adding a 2G kill switch to Android 12 has to do with privacy. ArsTechnica says the non-profit digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been trying to kill 2G since 2020; due to its age, 2G lacks security. Closed by US operators (with the 3G shutdown already started), the problem is that phone modems are still actively and automatically searching for 2G service.

2G networks are weak when it comes to privacy

EFF says "There are two main problems with 2G. First, it uses weak encryption between the tower and the device that can be cracked in real time by an attacker to intercept calls or text messages. In fact, the attacker can do this passively without ever sending a single packet . "

With regard to the second issue, the EFF notes that "The second problem with 2G is that there is no authentication of the tower for the phone, which means that anyone can easily mimic a real 2G tower, and a phone that uses 2G protocol will never get wiser. " And with some handsets still automatically connecting users to 2G, there is a legitimate privacy threat that can be controlled by killing the handset's 2G connection.

Although most phones these days connect to a 4G signal, if such a signal is too weak to maintain communication, the signal can be downgraded to 2G, making the phones vulnerable to attack by hackers. If you are curious, the 2G service started in 1991, and with General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), 2G offers a theoretical speed of 5 kB / s. With EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution), the maximum transfer speed is 48 kB / s.

Those who owned AND iPhone might remember that the mobile service available to the users was AT & T's EDGE, which was considered something along the lines of 2.5G. Users could not be on the phone and use the Internet at the same time.

So why keep 2G? It is a legitimate issue in countries like USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan where the service is not being used. But European countries will not stop the 2G service until 2025, the year after some South American companies turn off 2G. In South Africa, a 2G shutdown date is not yet planned.

How to turn off 2G on your Android phone

2G signals cannot send data, although you may be able to send / receive text messages. Either way, the 2G kill switch is a remarkable new feature on Android and should not affect the experience you have with your Android device.

Go to to disable 2G connectivity on your Android handset Settings > Network and internet > SIM card > Allow 2G and turn off the setting. Now that Android is on board, the EFF has launched a campaign to get Apple offers a similar kill switch for 2G on the iPhone. A tweet from EFF that you can send to Apple with a single click reads: "Hey @Apple, 2G is an outdated and insecure technology! Google has just given us the option to turn it off in our phones and now it is your trip!"
Twitter users can participate in this campaign by pressing the "Tweet" button at the bottom right of the found page right here. Hopefully, for the sake of iPhone users, Apple will follow what Android has done and allow the 2G connection to shut down on iOS.

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