iOS 17 could force millions of iPhone owners to upgrade

An iPhone XS Max displaying Photos in iOS 13 while being held in someone's hand.
(Image credit: iMore)

If Apple follows its usual release cadence we can expect it to unveil iOS 17 at its WWDC23 event on June 5, 2023. But a new report claims that Apple is getting ready to drop support for some big hardware at that time.

That report believes that Apple's iOS 17 won't support the iPhone that started the current design language, the iPhone X. It also won't support the phone that a lot of people still cling to in the shape of the iPhone 8 as well.

It isn't just the iPhone, either. Plenty of iPads are also thought to be getting cut loose with the 2023 software updates.

But a secondary, contradictory report has added confusion by saying that Apple will retain support for at least some of these devices.

No more updates for you?

The original report, which comes via a Twitter leaker with a track record, also claims that the first-gen 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPads will also be left without iPadOS 17 support. The report was first spotted by MacRumors and also claims that the fifth-gen iPad will not get a big new software update this year.

While this doesn't necessarily mean that owners of those devices will have to immediately rush out and buy the best iPhone or iPad they can find, it does mean that they'll need to upgrade to something a little newer if they want to be able to enjoy whatever new features Apple unveils at WWDC23.

We've already been told to expect some quality-of-life improvements from iOS 17 in particular, which could make missing out on iOS 17 particularly upsetting.

Maybe, maybe not

However, a more recent report from another anonymous leaker posting to the MacRumors forums claims that the same iPhones that were supported by iOS 16 will continue to be supported this time around as well. That would mean that the iPhone X and iPhone 8 will still get iOS 17 come September time.

The leaker didn't specifically say that the iPadOS 17 update would support all existing devices, but they did add that devices running A11 chips will be good to go.

It's also worth noting that this second leaker is the same person who confirmed the existence of the Dynamic Island before the iPhone 14 Pro was announced.

With this all said, it's now unclear exactly which devices will get which software updates.

If you're using something newer than an iPhone X you can be pretty sure you'll get iOS 17 either way.

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.