Apple Says Option to Stay on iOS 14 Was Always Meant to Be Temporary

Last week, MacRumors shared news that Apple had stopped releasing iOS 14 security updates and was pushing those still on iOS 14 to upgrade to iOS 15, an apparent reversal of a promise to allow users to stay on the iOS 14 operating system.

iOS 14 vs 15 feature
Apple today told Ars Technica that the option to stay on iOS 14 and avoid the iOS 15 upgrade was always meant to be temporary. It is not a mistake that there are no more security updates to iOS 14, and support for the update has essentially ended.

When iOS 15 was released, Apple's feature page said that the company would provide a choice "between two software update versions" in the Settings app, and that it would offer security updates for iOS 14 until people were prepared to upgrade.

You can update to the latest version of iOS 15 as soon as it's released for the latest features and most complete set of security updates. Or continue on iOS 14 and still get important security updates until you're ready to upgrade to the next major version.

When iOS 15 was released and this information was published, Apple did not make it clear that this was a temporary option, but the company in September 2021 did publish an updated support document that mentioned the option to stay on iOS 14 would be available "for a period of time."

If you're using iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later, you might now see the option to choose between two software update versions. This option allows you to choose between updating to the latest version of iOS or iPadOS 15 as soon as it's released, or continuing on iOS or iPadOS 14 while still getting important security updates for a period of time.

Apple's last iOS 14 security update, iOS 14.8.1, was released in October and there have been and will be no subsequent updates. In fact, as we outlined last week, on an iPhone running iOS 14.8, the iOS 14.8.1 update is no longer available at all. iOS 15.2.1 is the only update option for all iPhones running iOS 14.

Though Apple said users could wait until they're ready to upgrade, the company now appears to be expecting people to install the iOS 15 update. ‌iPhone‌ and iPad users who want the latest security updates and protections will need to install the newest versions of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.

iOS 15 is available on all of the devices that are able to run iOS 14, and removing the iOS 14 upgrade option will spur people still on iOS 14 to finally install the new software. Apple last week released iOS 15 installation numbers, and it turns out that it hasn't been as popular as prior iOS updates.

The iOS 15 update is installed on just 72 percent of devices from the last four years, which is a notably lower adoption rate than we've seen with prior versions of iOS, so it is perhaps no surprise that Apple is ending its "temporary" support for iOS 14.

Related Forum: iOS 15

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Top Rated Comments

redheeler Avatar
31 months ago
Could've at least provided security updates for a year. That would've been reasonable.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PBG4 Dude Avatar
31 months ago
Until they kill CSAM scanning, I’m not upgrading. Bonus, my Safari isn’t leaking my browsing history. That’s a iOS 15 / Monterey feature.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
goonie4life9 Avatar
31 months ago
I don’t doubt that Apple meant this to be temporary. However, it sure would be nice if they could just be honest and say, “We used a poor choice of words when describing the ability to remain on iOS 14 and caused unnecessary confusion. This was our fault and we apologize.”
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
supergt Avatar
31 months ago
iOS 15 was also supposed to be temporarily glitchy but I guess the bugs are here to stay.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
erikkfi Avatar
31 months ago
Of course it was meant to be temporary - no one thinks Apple was going to keep iOS 14 available forever.

The confusion comes from the fact that they used user-centric language like "until you're ready to upgrade," but now they've decided they are ready to move on.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KaliYoni Avatar
31 months ago
I'm surprised Apple didn't toss out a "green" explanation for changing its support policy for iOS 14. Maybe next time (Most earth friendly iPhone ever! We've eliminated the product box. Visit the Apple Store to choose your new iPhone from a sustainably sourced wooden barrel!).
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)