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Why Won’t Apple Support Older Devices?

Saturday, November 12th, 2016 by | Filed Under: iOS, Smartphones

Karen has a question about Apple: “Hi, love all your articles, they are very helpful to an oldie like myself. I would like to enquire if you could do an article on why Apple are not updating/supporting, the OS in the older versions e.g. of iPad Gen 3 â iPad 2, and I daresay a lot of the older iPhones. I did ring Apple on this issue but the lady really didn’t know why? My iPad Gen 3 OS system won’t  be uploaded to the 10.1.1 ;  I will have to stay on the OS 9.3.5. The lady had an iPad 2. Will this make us vulnerable? The Apple lady said probably all our old iPads will be good for is music and books ; disappointing when my iPad Gen 3 is still like new.”


Apple isn’t going to issue a statement detailing why the chose to update certain devices and not others, but it’s pretty safe to bet that there are few basic reasons.

1. Many older devices don’t have the technical specs to handle the newest version of iOS. No technology changes faster that than for mobile devices. As features like TouchID have been added, the OS places greater demands on the device. Older devices may not have the computing power necessary to run the full operating system or allow you use features like Touch ID.


2. Apple likes conformity among devices and operating systems. The idea of an ecosystem like Android where every device is just a little different or like Microsoft where you’re actively still supporting 4 different operating systems is a nightmare in Apple’s way of thinking. They want everyone using the same operating system of devices that are as similar as possible.

3. Apple wants you to buy stuff. If you aren’t buying devices, they aren’t making money. Let’s face it, most iPad and iPhone users like to stick with the free apps from the app store. Apple doesn’t charge for updating and maintaining the OS, so the only way they make money is buy selling new devices. That’s why they refresh iPads and iPhones with new features on a fairly regular basis. (iPhones more often than iPads, as smartphones are the preferred device of more and more people.)

Keep in mind that once Apple stops providing bug fixes and security patches for an operating system, that system is no longer secure. Apple tend to be very subtle about that process. They just stop listing updates for that OS. Microsoft offers scheduled end dates for support.

Here’s what works with iOS 10.  If you have a 30-pin dock device, you’re out of luck. None of those devices will function with that OS.  Out in the cold are iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad mini, and iPod touch 5th generation.

Devices that will work with iOS 10 include iPad 4th gen, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro, iPad mini 2,3 & 4, iPod touch 6th gen, iPhone SE, iPhone 5 models, iPhone 6 models, and of course iPhone 7.

~ Cynthia

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