Apple may have released four brand new flagship iPhones this year (the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max), but not everyone needs the latest and greatest. In fact, iOS 14 can still run on the iPhone 6s and original iPhone SE from 2016, so even if you get an older device, Apple's continued support means you're going to get at least a few years of use out of it. And with Black Friday coming up, you're probably going to find some great Black Friday iPhone deals, but let's consider a few important details first.
Consider the longevity of Apple support on an iPhone
When you compare Apple's support for older iPhones, they definitely last way longer compared to similar Android devices that came out around the same time. Take a look at iOS 14 for example — it still runs on the iPhone 6s, which came out in September 2015, over five years ago. An Android device that came out in 2015 is probably not getting any current Android operating system on it right now.
However, since the iPhone 6s is already five years old, we don't think that Apple will continue to support it for much longer. All iPhones that could run iOS 13 could still run iOS 14, but who knows if that will be the case once iOS 15 rolls out. If you still have an iPhone 6s or iPhone SE (2016), then it's great that iOS 14 still works on it, but let's face it — they're getting a little long in the tooth right now. But if you get an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8, then maybe you can get another year or two out of it.
When it comes to older iPhones, it's good to know that Apple still supports them, but you have to think about how long the devices have been out already. You would be better off picking up a phone that has come out in the past three years versus one that is over five years old at this point.
What Apple currently still sells
Right now, if you take a look at Apple's online store, you'll see that they are still selling the iPhone SE, iPhone 11, and iPhone XR, alongside the new iPhone 12 line. Usually, if you see Apple continuing to sell an older model on its storefront, then that is a good sign of several more years of support to come.
If you can find a good deal on the iPhone SE (2020), iPhone 11 (along with iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max), or even the iPhone XR (and iPhone XS or XS Max), then these are a no-brainer, in all honesty. They are great devices with a ton of powerful features, iOS 14 makes them fast and snappy, and the cameras are of great quality. And if you prefer having a smaller phone or just want the best value, the iPhone SE (2020) gives you the best bang for your buck, so getting a great Black Friday Apple deal on it is just icing on the cake.
iPhones you shouldn't buy on Black Friday
At this point, an iPhone 6s or earlier is not worth buying, even if you find them for super cheap on Black Friday. Anything older than an iPhone 6s will not be able to run iOS 14, and with the iPhone 6s already being over five years old, you may not get support for new versions of iOS for much longer.
The same goes for the original iPhone SE, which came out in 2016. The new iPhone SE (2020) gives you a slightly bigger screen (but still very usable with one hand) and huge improvements everywhere (A13 Bionic and cameras), for not much money. If you are considering an iPhone SE, then you should pick up the latest version instead of the original.
iPhones that might be worth buying on Black Friday
As for the iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and iPhone X family, you should only consider these if you can get a really good deal on them. While these aren't as old as an iPhone 6s, they're still getting high up there in age, so you may be able to get at least another two or three years out of them. These phones should still work great, but just keep in mind that they may start to show their age with the next few iterations of iOS.
iPhones that are definitely worth buying on Black Friday
If you see the iPhone XS, XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, or the iPhone SE (2020), then these are all worth picking up if you see a Black Friday iPhone deal on them. Considering that the XS/XR family just came out two years ago, all of these devices have a good few years ahead of them. With iOS 14, all of these devices are super snappy, responsive, and have very good cameras for capturing all of life's spontaneous moments.
The iPhone XR features a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina Display, A12 Bionic, impressive 16-hours of battery life, Portrait Mode, and more, all at an affordable price.
The iPhone 11 is a great upgrade with the A13 Bionic, impressive battery life at 17-hours, Ultra Wide lens, Night mode, Deep Fusion, and more. If you need even more, consider the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, which have a telephoto lens and more powerful features.
The iPhone SE (2020) has a small 4.7-inch screen, packs in A13 Bionic, fantastic cameras, and still has the Home button for Touch ID. It's one of the best value iPhones you can possibly get, and it's a great Black Friday purchase.
Sometimes you just don't need the latest and greatest
While a lot of people, including me, like to upgrade every year, the differences in the latest devices with the previous generations is getting marginally smaller. Apple has continued to make great improvements year after year, but it's hard to make an upgrade worth it when the previous device was still fantastic. Thrifter deal expert Jared DiPane just "upgraded" to an iPhone XS this year and has no regrets.
Not everyone needs to have the latest iPhone, so if you just want a nice upgrade from an older model, then Black Friday is the perfect time to snag a new device, because Black Friday iPhone deals should be aplenty! We'll be scouring the web for all of the best Black Friday Apple deals, so stay tuned!
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