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Apple is no longer letting people stay on iOS 14, prompts iOS 15 update instead

Ios 15 Focus Hero
Ios 15 Focus Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has removed the ability for iOS 14 users to update to iOS 14.8.1.
  • iOS 15.2.1 is now the only update option for iPhone users.
  • Apple was previously offering security updates to iOS 14 to allow people to avoid updating to IOS 15.

Apple's iOS 15.2.1 update is now the only version of iOS that people can update to, even those who are running a version of iOS 14 and would previously have been presented iOS 14.8.1 as an alternative update option.

Previously, Apple allowed iOS 14 users to stay away from iOS 15 entirely and remain on iOS 14.x via new security updates. That was working with iOS 14.8.1 until recently — but now that alternate update option has been removed as spotted in a Github post via 9to5Mac.

9to5Mac was able to confirm that devices running iOS 14.8 or previous versions of the operating system can no longer be updated to iOS 14.8.1. Instead, the Software Update menu only shows the iOS 15.2.1 update. Previously, iOS 15 was shown as an optional update, while users could just install iOS 14 security patches.

It looks like the change happened around the time that iOS 15.2 arrived last month and it isn't clear why it was made or if it was even intentional. It does appear possible that it was, though — Apple's recent iOS 15 installation numbers seem lower than expected and it could be that Apple has made a link between not forcing iOS 15 updates and people not actually installing it. Give people an option, it seems, and they'll stick with what they know.

That, as of right now, no longer seems to be an option. Assuming people want to make sure they have the latest security updates and fixes, of course. I'm very much of the opinion that the best iPhone is a fully updated iPhone and Apple will hope that's how its users feel when presented with iOS 15.2.1, too.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

3 Comments
  • Is this the same Apple that said owners of older iPhone like my 6s, which didn't support the best new features of iOS 15, would be able to stay on 14.8.1.... secure in the knowledge that the phones would continue to receive all security updates?
    I had a problem with the phone a few weeks ago which Apple Support helped me to deal with. Their only advice was to update the phone to iOS 15 immediately or continue to have problems with the handset!
    Of course I did install 15 and the subsequent updates to 15.2.1.
    The phone is running smoothly again, even the battery life is equal to is 14 again
  • Apple the company that FORCES it's users.
  • I'm so pleased to see someone else on Imore say that! The overwhelming majority of iPhone owners simply accept what Apple FORCES on them. Comments on Imore are so rare, critical comments even more so.