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With iOS 14 extending the life of 5-year-old devices, more companies should follow suit

iPhone through the decade
iPhone through the decade (Image credit: Rene Ritchie/iMore)

It's June, which means that WWDC 2020 will be happening in just a few weeks. While we shouldn't always expect hardware announcements, software is a different story, and iOS 14 is definitely going to be revealed during WWDC on June 22. The latest rumor for iOS 14 is that it will run on every device that is running iOS 13 right now. That means that devices up to the iPhone 6s, which was originally released in September 2015, will be able to run the latest version of iOS.

Apple has consistently shown that its devices are meant to be used for a while, and if this rumor is true, it's just another reason that they've one-upped even most flagship Android devices.

Older devices are still supported years later

While I'm the type of person who upgrades their phone every year (thanks to the iPhone Upgrade Program), I know plenty of people who tend to use their iPhone until it breaks or dies. And honestly, if it weren't for my job or my need to be up-to-date with the latest tech, I probably would just continue to use my iPhone until it's on the last legs, too. Apple actually supports its devices for years before they're marked as "vintage" (Apple will still do repairs on these devices) or "obsolete" (Apple will no longer repair or support these devices), so you actually do get your money's worth of use from Apple devices.

It's actually quite impressive that Apple continues to support its devices for so long, especially when you compare it to Android devices. With Android, you have hundreds or even thousands of different hardware devices from different manufacturers, and these range from being super cheap models to flagship devices. Google releases a new version of Android every year, and for the most part, Google's own Pixel devices get first dibs on new software updates. At the same time, other handsets need to wait for their manufacturer to modify that software before it reaches users, and sometimes, others are just left out entirely. And who knows how long it takes before that update reaches a specific manufacturer's hardware?

So even if you buy a flagship Android device today, there's no guarantee that it will still be getting support or updates five years down the road. So when compared to Apple, where even a five-year-old iPhone 6s will be getting support through at 2021 with the latest iOS 14, it's a bit of a letdown.

You definitely get your money's worth with Apple devices

Most people will gawk at the price of Apple devices at first glance, such as at least $1000 (or more) for a new iPhone, iPad Pro, or even Mac. But if you look at the trends, you're getting at least five years of use from these devices. I've mentioned it before, but I still have a 2013 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro that works perfectly fine, aside from having some battery issues.

Again, if the rumor is true that iOS 14 can run on any iOS 13 device, then a five-year-old iPhone 6s can still be used through 2021, and that's just amazing. I'm sure that it won't be the fastest iPhone, but the fact that you can even still use it with the latest OS is impressive in itself. And if you're still holding on to your original iPhone SE from 2016, then you can squeeze another year out of the perfect little 4-inch iPhone.

If Apple continues to support its devices for years to come, think about it — the iPhone 12 you get this year could last you well through 2025-2026 (assuming we make it that far, anyway).

More companies should provide years of support for devices, honestly. It's frustrating when you purchase an expensive new phone or device, get two or three years out of it, and then it's no longer supported by the manufacturer or even getting the latest software updates.

Christine Chan
Senior Editor

Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently the iMore lead on all things iPhone, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.

4 Comments
  • Just been on Windows Central complaining exactly about this! Surface devices just dont have longevity, in fact Windows seems to be going backwards in terms of stability. I may switch back to Apple after a 10 year hiatus.
  • I can't stand Windows, always some issue and it feels like every update is a risk. Been away from Windows since 2014 and don't plan to go back
  • It’s one of Apple’s huge draws and if anything, they’re getting better at it, having recently supported the iPhone 5s for 6 years. I will finally upgrade my iPhone 6 to the new model this year, tempted by the worthy upgrade to 5G; and my iPad 4 will also get an upgrade when mini LED makes its way to iPad. And this is the thing: Apple creates loyal customers who keep coming back throughout their lifetime ... even if it’s not that often!
  • In fairness, Apple either is, or very recently was, manufacturing the 6s as a current model in India. They wouldn't want to anger customers there by discontinuing support for a phone purchased only a year or so ago.