When during WWDC 2021, we found out that iPhone 6S and 6S Plus would receive iOS 15, we were both shocked and thrilled because everyone was expecting iOS 14 to be the last software update iPhone 6S was going to get.
And although Apple postponed the iPhone 6S’ farewell, we’re now here… A year later, we now know iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus will not be receiving Apple’s new iOS 16 update. But this isn’t a reason to be upset!In fact, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate the iPhone 6S’s unparalleled longevity. However, as it turns out, we also need to talk about the iPhone 7 and why this one also isn’t receiving iOS 16, despite being a year newer than the 6S – many people seem to be upset about that.
We’ll also take a look at the future of Apple’s software support and see if this one’s getting shorter or longer. Both outcomes are likely. Let’s dive in!
iPhone 6S: Is the longest-supported smartphone of all time usable in 2022?
I must start by clarifying that the iPhone 6S “technically” wasn’t ever supposed to receive six iOS updates and seven years of software support. Apple’s traditional software support extends to “only” five years of OS updates and six total years of continuous support since the launch of an iPhone.However, clearly, Tim Cook & Co felt generous but also felt like iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus could handle iOS 15 and gave it to it, making iPhone 6S the longest-supported smartphone in history. Aham.
Sure, after six OS updates and seven years of existence, the iPhone 6S feels slow and sometimes even laggy when pushed a harder. However, in no way does this stop you from making calls, texting, watching YouTube videos, and scrolling through social media, which is what most people do on their phones anyway. Any serious gaming isn’t an option on the 6S anymore, both because of the old chip but mostly because of the tiny battery, which will tap out in no time.
Still, the fact that this ancient iPhone is running the same version of iOS as the latest and greatest iPhone 13 Pro Max and covers the basics is something to applaud Apple for!
It’s (almost) time to move on from Apple’s timeless design: How iPhone 6 and 6S became the best-selling smartphones of all time
When launched in 2014, the original iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were met with mixed opinions. iPhone 5 was the last iPhone designed by Steve Jobs & Co, and people loved the compact form-factor. The bigger iPhone 6 and huge iPhone 6 Plus seemed out of the ordinary, but Apple had to adhere to the trend of bigger devices.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S sold about 400 millions units during their lifespan, which is about the total number of physical albums, physical singles, digital albums, digital singles, LPs, and streams sold by The Beatles – the best-selling music artists of all-time.
iPhone SE (2022) will keep the iconic home button around for another five years, but then it’s really over
And for those who are deeply in love with the iPhone 6S’s vintage design (which probably makes it the most recognizable smartphone ever) or simply don’t want to spend more than $400 for a new iPhone, the 2022 iPhone SE… exists and it’s more powerful and capable than ever!
In fact, the iPhone SE has enough horsepower to keep going and stick around for at least another five years, thanks to the iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic chip, which lives inside the SE. So, yes, the timeless iPhone 6 look might still be somewhat relevant in 2027. Let that sink in…
iPhone software support in the future: Will new iPhones get 6-7 years of software updates?
Speaking of software support and older iPhones, we can’t ignore the iPhone 7 series, mostly because it seems like the absence of iOS 16 on this model has upset some users who wouldn’t like to give up their old iPhone… So, let me clear the air!
Why iPhone 7 isn’t getting iOS 16
Long story short – it was never meant to. Short story long…
So, technically Apple was supposed to drop software support for the iPhone 6S last year, meaning that iOS 16 was never meant to come to iPhone 7 anyway – as it happened. The decision to keep iPhone 6S fresh for an extra year made it seem as if Apple cut off two iPhones from the OS update cycle at the same time, but as you now know – that’s not exactly the case. Although, technically it is the case.
Software support for current and upcoming iPhones
So, although it seems like Apple wants to support iPhones for more than five years, as shown with the iPhone 6S, there might be a few challenges in Cupertino’s way…
The first one’s obviously the processors that power the iPhones – the older the chip – the less likely it is to be able to run new features that demand more power to operate fluidly (which is key for Apple). The other reason could be… RAM. Random Access Memory (as absolutely no one ever calls it), is crucial for running multiple tasks at once and keeping apps operating in the background.
It’s a public secret that old and even current iPhones are rather conservative when it comes to RAM, mostly because of Apple’s great optimization, which manages to make the most out of the scarce 2GB of RAM in phones like the iPhone 8 or 4GB of RAM in an iPhone 13. For reference, the standard for Android flagships is 8GB of RAM, which often grows to 12-16GB if you choose to pay for more storage.
Anyway, if we look at the most recent events, what we know for sure is that iPhone 7 updates weren’t terminated because of low RAM since iPhone 7 has just as much RAM as the iPhone 8 (2GB), which is definitely getting iOS 16.
So, it’s going to be quite interesting to see how things unfold next year with iOS 17. iPhone 8 and iPhone X run on the same A11 Bionic chip, but obviously, they look like they are years apart. Furthermore, iPhone X has 3GB of RAM, which might make a difference or at least a good excuse for Apple to keep OS updates for this model around for an extra year – like they did with iPhone 6S.
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