How Long Do iPhones and iPads Stay Fresh?

Every time Apple brings out a new version of its iOS, owners of older iPhones and iPads are put on notice—some won’t get the slick new software tricks engineers whipped up.

With the release this week of iOS 10 and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, we reviewed all of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, to see how long each was able to refresh the software. The perception is that Apple drops support for older products, to encourage new sales. In fact, the company is supporting more of its products longer. (Maybe that’s bad news if you’re fishing for reasons to ditch your iPhone 6.)

DAYS UNTIL IOS CUTOFF

2,0131,7961,7761,7761,6421,5521,5461,4111,1881,088900iPad 2iPhone 4siPad 4thgen.iPhone 5iPad 3rdgen.iPhone 3GSiPhone 4iPad MiniiPhone 3GiPhoneiPad01002003004005006007008009001000110012001300140015001600170018001900200021002200

The big winner was the iPad 2, which launched in spring 2011 running iOS 5. Apple continued selling the tablet for three years, and it was compatible with fresh iOS versions even longer. Though Apple hasn’t sold the iPad 2 since 2014, its 2,013-day run of current-iOS compatibility ended this month with iOS 10’s debut.

The longest-running iPhones thus far? The iPhone 4s, which also just got bumped, and the iPhone 5, which continues its run with iOS 10.

But the first-generation iPhone and iPad lost iOS upgrade eligibility and support far sooner, as did the iPhone 3G.

While every new iOS version strands a few devices, the overall number of models supported is rising. That number peaked at iOS 9, which supported 20 iPhones and iPads. With iOS 10, Apple appears to have cleaned house: The software works with 18 iPhones and iPads, but not on any device that doesn’t have the Lightning charging port.

IOS ELIGIBILITY BY DEVICE

VERSIONRELEASE DATE
iPhone OS 1JUNE 29, 2007 iPhone OS 2JULY 11, 2008 iPhone OS 3JUNE 17, 2009 iOS 4JUNE 21, 2010 iOS 5OCT. 12, 2011 iOS 6SEPT. 19, 2012 iOS 7SEPT. 18, 2013 iOS 8SEPT. 17, 2014 iOS 9SEPT. 16, 2015 iOS 10SEPT. 13, 2016
iPhone
iPhone 3G
iPhone 3GS
iPad
iPhone 4
iPad 2
iPhone 4s
iPad 3rd gen.
iPhone 5
iPad Mini
iPad 4th gen.
iPhone 5c
iPhone 5s
iPad Air
iPad Mini 2
iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone 6
iPad Mini 3
iPad Air 2
iPad Mini 4
iPhone 6s Plus
iPhone 6s
iPad Pro 12.9
iPad Pro 9.7
iPhone SE
iPhone 7
iPhone 7 Plus
DEVICES SUPPORTED 1 2 4 4 5 8 11 14 20 18

Cut off

Supported

Currently sold

Methodology:

The number of days until iOS cutoff starts on the day the product was available for sale in U.S. retail stores, and ends on the debut of the first annual iOS release that does not support that device. We are assuming, based on the past nine iOS annual releases, that iOS 10 will have a lifespan of approximately one year from the date of its release. As such, we assume a lifespan of an additional 365 days for devices compatibile with iOS 10.

For the first chart, we did not include any devices that Apple began selling in 2013 or after, because they are all still supported. And for this review, we did not include any models of iPod Touch or Apple TV, which also run versions of iOS.

[Source:-The Wall Street Journal]