If you are into both politics and technology, it must have intrigued you which mobile phones world leaders are using. Do they use normal phones like we do or some custom-built super phones? The simple answer would be both.
Which mobile phone do most world leaders use?
According to our analysis of several prominent global leaders’ use of mobile phones, we can safely say that the iPhone is a clear favourite, followed by Android-run smartphones.
The top feature of world leaders’ mobile phones
It’s a tricky question to answer. Most would want to use a smartphone for normal tasks like capturing photos, communicating with allies and friends, etc. However, they are not like us, ordinary citizens.
For them, security is the first and foremost consideration when it comes to choosing a mobile phone. After all, they would be discussing potentially sensitive matters over the phone which, if leaked, could embarrass them and jeopardize the national security, not to mention their own political career or private life.
However, some world leaders are found to have been extraordinarily lax in their choice of smartphones. Let us see which mobile phones world leaders are using these days.
The 45th US President is a rabid Twitter user, known for his frequent early morning tweets from his iPhone. As the president, he is entitled to a custom-built ultra secure mobile phone by US Secret Service for use, but it is not exactly clear which operating system the phone is based on. His predecessor, President Barack Obama, was given a heavily modified Blackberry, a smartphone maker known for its focus on security.
A businessman, Trump probably prefers convenience, which may explain his reported refusal to use the secure mobile device despite warnings. (He denies the allegation and insists he seldom used his personal phone.)
In the immediate aftermath of his election as president, Trump was reportedly forced to hand over his “beloved” Android device, probably Samsung Galaxy S3.
As we previously reported, the Russian president claims not to be using a mobile phone but reportedly previously used an Android device, MTS-Glonass 945 developed jointly by ZTE, Qualcomm and the Russian company Sitronics.
Putin, a former spymaster, understandably does not want to rely on mobile phones out of security fears.
The Chinese leader was never spotted using a mobile phone. In 2014, Vladimir Putin gifted Xi Jinping a Russian-made mobile phone, YotaPhone 2.
Her wife, the first lady was seen using an iPhone 5 in their visits to the US, triggering a lot of discussions on the Chinese social media. She later switched to Nubia, a Chinese ZTE-made Android device, which earned her praises from nationalistic fans.
The Chinese leader reportedly gifts foreign leaders mobile phones manufactured by ZTE. While it is not clear whether Xi Jinping uses ZTE devices himself, his love for the local manufacturer knows no bounds. In 2018, the president directly got involved in negotiations with the US to save the company from the US sanctions.
The New Zealand premier won fans across the world by her strong and empathetic leadership in the wake of the Christchurch massacre. One of the world’s youngest and most beloved leaders, Ardern has a series of interesting incidents involving her smartphone.
In 2018, she was reportedly forced to change the mobile number that she was using for ten years after being bombarded with thousands of texts and calls. More recently, on 28 March 2020, she let phone calls from the Aussie prime minister go to voicemail during a press conference.
Jacinda Ardern is an iPhone user, a fact revealed in a hilarious exchange between her and US comedian Stephen Colbert, in which Colbert attempted to unlock her phone with random passwords and placing it near her face to try and use facial recognition, causing it to be disabled.
Queen Elizabeth II
The British monarch has reportedly been getting accustomed to modern digital technology and even maintains secret Facebook and Instagram accounts.
According to a report by Daily Star, the longest-reigning living monarch in the world, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, uses a Samsung device. The specific model of the handset is not revealed but “it is small and light enough to slip into her handbag,” according to a Royal butler.
A Daily Mail article sheds further light: the phone that Her Majesty uses is “among the most sophisticated in the world.” The story also adds that “the phone is encrypted, like those used by the security services, and is said to be impossible to be hacked into.”
She also possesses an iPad.
The Indian prime minister is a prolific social media user who recently announced that he was considering to quit social media.
Regardless, his love for gadgets is well-known. While he was once spotted using a Samsung device, Modi is on Apple family of devices, meaning iPhone is his favourite device.
Narenra Modi has a whole smartphone brand named after him.
For secure communications, he was said to be using an encrypted device run on Android 4 made by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a government company that manufactures sensitive communications devices for the military.
Angela Merkel, one of the longest-serving democratic leaders in the world, once used a Nokia 6210 device, which was reportedly bugged by the Americans for years. The device was subject of a huge diplomatic battle between Germany and the US.
She later switched to a custom-built encrypted Blackberry Z10, but that was six years ago. We do not know whether she uses a new phone now.
The UK prime minister was pictured with numerous mobile phones. While it was still unclear which phones he is using these days, but he once took a selfie with a Huawei P20 Pro amidst a heated debate around Huawei and its 5G technologies, triggering national security concerns.
There were also suggestions that he uses an iPhone.
Like other world leaders, the French president has had his share of embarrassment involving his mobile phone. He was also forced to change his phone number after receiving tons of texts and calls.
The Elysée Palace said in the wake of the incident that Macron uses two mobile phones, one of which is an “encrypted phone.”
9to5mac reports that he uses two iPhone devices.
Kim Jong Un
The only time the North Korean ruler was spotted alongside a mobile device, it turned out to be one made by HTC, a Taiwanese manufacturer.
Mohammed bin Salman
The Saudi Arabian crown prince and the de-facto ruler was embroiled in a major controversy involving his mobile phone. For example, he was accused of sending Jeff Bezos, the Amazon owner and one of the richest individuals in the world, an exploitative link on WhatsApp, resulting in the latter’s phone being hacked. He denies the charge, though.
In 2017, his use of two mobile phones—one an old Nokia device and the other a smartphone—as props to make a point about the difference between the past and the present went viral. Many wondered on social media whether the Crown Prince used the old Nokia feature phone himself.
The next king of the middle eastern kingdom, MBS, as he is known, reportedly owns a famous French chateau, which is as ancient as modern and has a sound system, lights, and air conditioning all controlled by an iPhone.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
The Turkish president owes his entire political career, and probably his very life, to an iPhone. When a military coup was unfolding against him, he used iPhone’s FaceTime app to get his message across to his fans, who in turn came to streets to foil the coup attempt. What ensued afterwards was a bitter episode, but we can safely assume that Erdogan has not abandoned his iPhone.
He was repeatedly spotted using iPhone devices, but he also called for boycotts of American electronics including the iPhone after disagreements with the Americans. Quite a love-hate relationship, isn’t it?