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How long does iOS support last on Apple devices? The case of iPhone 4S and iPad 2

The year 2011 was a special year for Apple. After the successful launch of the original iPad in April of the previous year, the company introduced its successor in March. The iPad 2 was a major leap forward for this new category, as it introduced a number of significant improvements. From the second generation of the A5 chip and the FaceTime conference cameras to the redesign, reduction of thickness and weight.

On the iPhone 4S side, it was the first iOS product to move into the launch slot then occupied by iPods. September and October have become the dates on which successive iPhones have been presented, as well as the latest generations of iPads. Its most outstanding innovations were the 8MP camera and the appearance of Siri, the virtual assistant acquired by Apple a few years earlier.

How long does iOS support last on Apple devices? The case of iPhone 4S and iPad 2
How long does iOS support last on Apple devices? The case of iPhone 4S and iPad 2

Almost five years have passed since its presentation in 2011. In the case of iPad 2, it has gone through six versions of its operating system. The iPhone 4S for one less, since it was launched when iOS 5 was already public. For all this, it is inevitable that we wonder if iOS 10 will be the first operating system that they will not receive .

Extending the life of iOS devices

Initially, support for the new versions of iOS did not last long. The original iPhone was only supported up to iPhone OS 3, only three versions . The original iPad never received an update beyond iOS 5, again three versions.

From here, each generation of iOS device has extended the support of its updates. With them, users have been able to enjoy functionalities, apps, services and security improvements that were not present when we bought the device. But sometimes, in return, we have had to give up the fluidity they had on day one.

Apple devices introduced in 2011 are having five years of iOS upgrade support

Despite this, there is no denying the merit that mobile devices introduced five years ago have been supported throughout this time. Just yesterday, iOS 9.3.2 was released, a version that both the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S are capable of using . But iOS 10 is just around the corner and it is not so sure that both devices are up to running it.

What is the hardware limit for iOS support?

ModelRAMChip Frequency Last Bit iOSiPhone Edge 128MBSamsung 32-bit RISC ARM 11 412MHz 16 3.1.3iPhone 3G 128MBSamsung 32-bit RISC ARM 11 412MHz 16 4. 2.1iPhone 3GS 256MBSamsung S5PC100 600MHz 32 6.1.6iPhone 4 512MB A4 800MHz 32 7.1.2iPhone 4S 512MB A5 dual-core 800MHz 32 9.3.2iPhone 5 1GB A6 dual-core 1 3GHz 32 9.3.2iPhone 5C 1GB A6 dual-core 1.3GHz 32 9.3.2iPhone 5s 1GB A7 dual-core 1.3GHz 64 9.3.2iPhone 6 1GB A8 dual-core 1.4GHz 64 9.3.2iPhone 6 Plus 1GB A8 dual-core1. 85GHz 64 9.3.2iPhone 6s 2GB A9 dual-core 1.85GHz 64 9.3.2iPhone 6s Plus 2GB A9 dual-core1.85GHz 64 9.3.2iPhone SE 2GB A9 dual-core1.85GHz 64 9.3.2

When it comes to deducting the lifetime limit of an iOS device, it is very interesting to see how the iPhone hardware has evolved. The iPad, after all, uses very similar hardware except for a chip with superior graphics power and now with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, more RAM than an iPhone.

With this table in front, it is easier to see how far Apple has been supporting its devices. It’s a mystery how Apple removed support from iPhone Edge when it was no longer significantly different from iPhone 3G. But from the iPhone 3GS onwards, it is clear that RAM is one of the most limiting factors in iOS support .

Despite the fact that Apple devices have better RAM management than those from other manufacturers and operating systems (which is vital to extend battery life), there comes a point when the hardware just won’t do. Another factor that seems to limit support is the type of chip a device mounts :

  • Design: It is clear that Samsung’s move to its own chips from iPhone 4 significantly improved its durability. The iPhones Edge, 3G, and 3GS prove it.
  • Number of cores: Many manufacturers have chosen to increase the number of cores as a way to boost the power of their handsets, but Apple made the leap to dual-core with iPhone 4S and its handsets have remained there ever since. The iPhone 4 was the last to have a single core.
  • 64-bit: the big jump experienced by the iPhone 5s and its 64-bit made the industry “panic”. Since iOS 9, developers can choose whether or not to show their apps on the App Store to devices with a 32-bit chip. So it seems reasonable that this will be the next big cut in support for iOS.

With this in mind, it is more obvious than ever that the original iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPad mini will be the next to be left out of iOS 10 .

What will be the support of iOS on my new iPhone or iPad?

With this information in hand, a user already knows what to expect when buying an Apple device. The new iPhone 6s, 6s Plus and SE will have iOS support of at least five years . This means that they will be able to run iOS 13, or whatever name iOS has, for at least five years.


But the support will most likely go much further. It’s not at all impossible that these terminals can go further than versions 14, 15 or 16. They have 2GB of RAM, dual-core and 64-bit chips that can propel them far. Users of these devices, have the peace of mind that they will be able to use them without problems for years to come. Developers will also benefit from being able to focus on a wider market without wasting resources on eternal optimizations.

The devices sold by Apple today will have a long and long life
Los nuevos chips A9 y A9X: características y ventajas frente a sus predecesores.

What implications does this have for the life cycle of the iPhone and iPad? That it will take even longer, giving the user the assurance that by buying one of them, he will be investing in something that will last for years. It may seem counterproductive to Apple’s interests , but that can only be defended from a short-term perspective.

The reliability and confidence of an iPhone or iPad with over five years of support will keep the customer coming back when it’s time to renew. And that’s much more valuable than closing a short sale by sabotaging iOS support.

At Apple

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