iOS 13 is officially dropping on September 19th, and it's filled with welcome features, including a brand new dark mode and a special iPad version called iPadOS. But as with all big Apple updates, a new iOS means that some devices will be left behind, no longer able to upgrade their operating systems.
This phase-out is largely due to hardware restrictions. Older devices often don't have the storage space, RAM, or features required to run mobile the way that the new iOS requires. So they're stuck behind the updates, and will eventually start losing support for apps and services over the coming years.
Continue reading to browse all of the devices that won't be able to use iOS 13. If you have one of these devices, iOS 13 is beyond your reach, and it may be time to start planning for a replacement.
6th-Gen iPod touch and Older
The iPod touch is somewhat of an outlier. Apple doesn't update the iPod touch as often, which makes this pretty clear cut. The new 7th-generation iPod touch, which came out earlier in 2019, will naturally work fine with iOS 13. However, the 6th-gen model, which debuted all the way back in 2015, won't work with iOS 13. You need one of the brand new iPod touches to take advantage of the latest iOS.
iPad mini 3 and Older
While the iPad mini fills a relatively niche market, they are very popular with certain segments of users. Unfortunately, only the iPad mini 4 and rebranded iPad mini (5th generation) will be compatible with iOS 13 – or, well, its iPadOS version. The iPad mini 3 and any earlier models won't work. The mini 3 came out in fall 2014, for reference. You might be noticing a pattern here with cutoff dates.
iPhone 6 and Older
Some iPhone 6 models will be able to get iOS 13, but not all of them. The dividing line is the "s" models. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be able to download iOS 13 without a problem (although they won't be compatible with new iOS updates forever). The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will not be able to use iOS 13.
This is also true for the iPhone 5s and all older iPhones – although admittedly not many of these are still in current use.
If you're having trouble visualizing the cutoff date, as a general rule iPhones sold before 2015 will not be compatible with iOS 13. The 6s models were released in the fall of 2015.
Original iPad Air
To be clear, this doesn't refer to all iPad Air models, only the original iPad Air, which won't be compatible with iOS 13. This original version came out back in 2013 and is quite old by now: The iPad Air 2, which came out in fall 2014, will be compatible with iOS 13. This is also true for all later iPad models, which include the iPad 5th-gen, and both the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and 10.5-inch iPad Pro (as well as larger, later models).
The terminology here is particularly confusing, but bottom line: If you bought an iPad before 2014, it won't be able to run iOS 13.