If you’re still sporting the original 2016 iPhone SE or even an iPhone 6s it looks like you may not be quite at the end of the iOS road yet, with a report that Apple won’t be dropping any iPhone models off the list when it releases iOS 14 later this year.
Although we’ll likely know for certain in a couple of weeks when Apple hosts its virtual WWDC 2020 conference, a new report from Israeli site The Verifier (Google Translate) cites its sources as confirming that all of the devices that are currently capable of running iOS 13 today will be able to get the iOS 14 update as well.
The evidence for this, The Verifier says, comes from early development code of iOS 14 as well as a “trusted source from the system development process.” While Apple usually does drop a few older models off the compatibility list with each new iOS release, that’s not always the case — both iOS 9 and iOS 12 famously continued to support all of the prior models.
Mind you, both of these iOS versions were also considered to be “housekeeping” releases that were focused more on bug fixes and performance. On the other hand, everything we’ve heard about iOS 14 suggests that it’s going to be a much bigger release, with a whole new home screen layout supporting widgets, new AR features, a whole slew of new health features, and a lot more. If true, this would make it the first time that Apple continued to support every older iPhone model in a major feature-packed iOS release.
Of course, the iPhones of yesteryear used relatively anemic processors compared to what more modern iPhones are packing in, especially the older 32-bit CPUs of the iPhone 5 and earlier, all of which dropped off the list in iOS 11. The only batch of iPhones that have been eliminated since then are the A7- and A8-equipped iPhone 5s and the iPhone 6 models, for which iOS 12 was the end of the road. It’s worth noting that the iPhone 5s, which originally shipped with iOS 7, currently holds the record as Apple’s longest-supported iPhone, having survived through seven major versions of iOS.
- 2012 — iOS 6 drops the 2008 iPhone 3G, 2009 iPod touch 3G and original 2010 iPad.
- 2013 — iOS 7 drops the 2009 iPhone 3GS and 2010 iPod touch 4G
- 2014 — iOS 8 drops the 2010 iPhone 4
- 2015 — iOS 9 continued to support all earlier models from iOS 8
- 2016 — iOS 10 drops the 2011 iPhone 4s and iPad 2, and 2012 iPod touch 5G
- 2017 — iOS 11 drops the 2012 iPhone 5, 2013 iPhone 5c, iPad 4
- 2018 — iOS 12 continued to support all earlier models from iOS 11
- 2019 — iOS 13 drops the 2013 iPhone 5s and 2014 iPhone 6 models
As you can see from the list above, though, five years (or six iOS versions) is more the norm, so it would actually be kind of surprising to see the 2015 iPhone 6s and 2016 iPhone SE lose support this soon; if anything last year’s removal of the iPhone 6 was the exception.
Although The Verified has a somewhat mixed track record when it comes to reading Apple’s tea leaves, it was the first site to accurately report the iOS 13 compatibility list over a year ago — more than four months before Apple unveiled iOS 13 at WWDC 2019 — so it seems to have solid sources within that part of the iOS development process at least, and this particular report seems to be in line with Apple’s usual policy on iOS updates.
Since iPadOS is now a separate entity, however, there’s no word on which older iPad models will be supported. While iPadOS 13 still supports the 2014 iPad Air 2, we’d be fairly surprised if iOS 14 continues to support that now-six-year-old model, and it’s also already an outlier, with the next-oldest supported iPads being the 2015 iPad mini 4 and original 12.9″ iPad Pro.
Ultimately, however, we think that the continued support in iOS 14 will be especially great news for users of the original iPhone SE, since many are still understandably holding onto that model for its smaller form factor, although Apple may have some even better news in store for those looking for an ultra-pocketable iPhone.