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Apple software updates: Is your phone now obsolete?

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For your safety, it’s a good idea to upgrade often

Most people enjoy having the latest and greatest mobile phones with all the bells and whistles, but some prefer to stick to a trusty model that has been by their side over the years. However, there will be a time when you are forced to upgrade to a newer model as software updates become incompatible with older models.

Shop this article: iPhone 14iPhone 13 and iPhone SE

Critical software updates

Apple’s iOS operating system is the backbone of the iPhone lineup and, together with technological upgrades, determines the functionalities many of the devices are capable of. This often leads to a more powerful version of iOS, and, simply put, older phones don’t have the processing power to handle it. Some models also use obsolete iPhone chargers, which makes things tricky.

Together with this, there are critical security and vulnerability patches included that safeguard iPhones from cyberattacks. If you have an older iPhone, it might seem like a bit of a catch-22 situation. You can’t be protected from new threats as you don’t have the new iOS, but you can’t get the new iOS as your phone isn’t supported. In this situation, you seriously need to consider upgrading your now-obsolete iPhone to a better model.

The latest version is iOS 17, and it’s only compatible with iPhone 14 down to iPhone 11, iPhone XS, iPhone SR and iPhone SE. Meaning if you have a device that’s older, such as an iPhone X or iPhone 8, you won’t get the new update - and you’ll be stuck on iOS 16 forever.

If your device is older than that, it gets (or already is) worse. Apple stopped software updates for devices older than the iPhone 8, so if you have a trusty iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 6, you’ve probably noticed that there are no more iOS 15 updates - and there won’t ever be. That means you are incredibly vulnerable to cyberattacks and malware. It’s a common myth that iPhones can’t be infected with viruses, but the truth is that they can, with devastating effects.

Here are all the devices that are now obsolete after iOS 17:

  • iPhone X (up to iOS 16)
  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (up to iOS 16)
  • iPhone 7 and 7 Plus (up to iOS 15)
  • 2016’s iPhone SE (up to iOS 15)
  • iPhone 6s Plus (up to iOS 15)

If the critical software updates aren’t enough to sway you, don’t you want the latest internal components for Apple devices? Even the relatively cheap iPhone SE is a major improvement over the iPhone 6 or iPhone 7. It has a much better display, faster processor and an incredible camera that clearly captures high-resolution images.

Best Apple iPhones

iPhone 14 Pro

The pinnacle of Apple’s mobile phone technology, the iPhone 14 Pro features all the best components and features you’d expect. It has a crystal-clear 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion technology and a dynamic island that better incorporates on-screen elements. It has a 48-megapixel main camera with a built-in ultra-wide telephoto lens and uses a photonic engine for incredible color reproduction. It runs on the A16 Bionic chip.

iPhone 14

One step down from the tech behemoth is the iPhone 14, and while it is internally similar to its hefty upgrade, there are small differences that make it slightly more affordable. It has a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display, but it doesn’t feature the dynamic island or ProMotion. It has a 12-megapixel dual camera on the back and uses the five-core A15 Bionic chip.

iPhone 13

iPhone 13

If you don’t want to fork out a small fortune, the iPhone 13 is the perfect option for an upgrade. While it’s not the latest model, it still packs a technological punch that will be a massive improvement to any older iPhone models. It has a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display, a 12-megapixel main camera, uses the A15 Bionic chip and records 4K videos at 60 frames per second.

iPhone 12

Available in six vibrant colors, the iPhone 12 is technologically very similar to the iPhone 13 - and more affordable. You can’t go wrong picking this model when you need to upgrade, as it has the same 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display as its predecessor but has a 2532 by 1170-pixel resolution. It uses the previous-generation A14 Bionic chip, a 12-megapixel main camera and records videos at 4K resolution.

iPhone SE

The iPhone SE is one of the more affordable Apple mobile phones, starting at $429 instead of $999 for the iPhone 14. It has the smaller 4.7-inch Retina HD display, a 12-megapixel main camera and uses the four-core A15 Bionic chip. It’s also one of the last iPhone models to have a Touch ID button instead of Face ID for unlocking the device.

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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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