EXECUTIVE

Trump reportedly forced to part with beloved cellphone

President Trump was reportedly forced to hand over his beloved Android.

President Trump was reportedly forced to hand over his beloved Android.  (Reuters)

President Trump on Friday was forced to hand over his beloved Android cellphone in favor of a new encrypted phone he will use during his term in office, The New York Times reported.

The Times called Trump's Android his “Linus blanket” that held hundreds of contacts. The report said that security officials have also asked Trump to stop using the Twitter handle @RealDonaldTrump and to use @POTUS. 

Trump recently told a friend that he had given up his phone, as security agencies had urged him to do. It was unclear whether he was following the lead of President Obama, the nation's first cellphone-toting president, who exchanged his personal device for a Blackberry heavily modified for security purposes.

The presidency has long been a lonely, isolating office, with security concerns keeping the commander in chief at a distance from the public.

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Under Obama, worries about cyber intrusions — particularly by foreign governments — pulled the president's technology deeper into the security bubble as well. Many of the functions on Obama's Blackberry were blocked and only a handful of people had his phone number or email address.

Trump doesn't email, but he uses his phone to tweet — something he's made clear he plans to continue in office. He's known to make calls early in the morning and late at night, often seeking input from multiple sources when making a decision. Sometimes he leaves a voicemail.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., called Trump "amazingly accessible," saying the president-elect picks up his phone even when he doesn't know who is calling.

"My phone says, No Caller ID, so I'm not saying that it has anything to do with me," Corker said. "Nobody knows who it is that's calling when I'm calling."

For Obama, getting to use a Blackberry in office was considered a victory. He later switched to an iPhone that allowed him to send and receive email from a limited group of people, surf websites and read the news.

But Obama wasn't known to use his cellphone to make or receive telephone calls, according to individuals familiar with his technology use. Even senior government officials didn't have the number and instead reached the president through the White House switchboard.

The president also used the switchboard to place his calls, said the individuals, who weren't authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

Obama had a phone in his control that he used to tweet, one of the only devices with access to the official presidential Twitter feed due to hacking concerns. But Obama rarely hit "send" on a tweet himself, and never without coordinating it with his staff, the individuals said.

A reporter for the Associated Press wrote about Trump’s accessibility.

A few hours after Trump was briefed by intelligence officials about Russian meddling in the election, an Associated Press reporter called his cellphone seeking an interview.

The call went to voicemail and the reporter did not leave a message. About an hour later, Trump called back.

It's hard to imagine many politicians — particularly one about to become president of the United States — calling back an unknown number on their cellphone.

The Associated Press contributed to this report