Apple Commits to at Least Five Years of iPhone Security Updates

Apple has revealed its commitment to a minimum of five years of iPhone security software updates from the date a device is launched, thanks to a new legal requirement in the United Kingdom (via Android Authority).

iphone in a box
Earlier this year, the U.K. established new Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) regulations, which force companies that sell internet-capable products in the country to comply with certain security requirements.

One of the requirements of the PSTI is that companies define a support period, or minimum length of time, for which security updates will be provided after sale. A "security update" is defined by the regulation as a "software update that protects or enhances the security of a product, including a software update that addresses security issues which have been discovered by or reported to the manufacturer."

In compliance with the regulation, Apple has submitted a public regulatory filing for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The PSTI filing shows that the device's "defined support period" is a "minimum five years from the first supply date." The "first supply date" is listed as "September 22, 2023," which is when the iPhone 15 series launched.

Unlike Samsung and Google, Apple is not usually explicit about its legacy software support for iPhone devices, so the five-year minimum should come as good news to Apple users holding onto older devices. However, as Android Authority notes, both Samsung and Google guarantee seven years of security updates as well as Android OS updates for their devices, which is two years longer than what Apple is guaranteeing here.

That said, Apple typically provides older devices with the latest security updates longer than the stated five-year period. For example, just this March Apple pushed a security update to iPhone 6s models, which launched in September 2015, or nine years ago.

Going back further, in November 2020, Apple released an update to patch major security issues for the ‌iPhone‌ 5S, which was released in 2013. That's seven years after the device went on sale. In other words, while the minimum-five year period is now set in stone, iPhone users can take comfort in the fact that Apple has a strong history of keeping legacy devices in the loop for several years longer.

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Top Rated Comments

Imory Avatar
6 weeks ago
That’s a step in the right direction, but certainly disappointing given the additional two years provided by their competitors. I see no reason why Apple doesn’t provide the same length of support as their Macs which is essentially 7 years.

You can certainly do better here Apple.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
foobarbaz Avatar
6 weeks ago

so the five-year minimum should come as good news to Apple users holding onto older devices
No, they should do better.
A minimum of five years of major OS versions (as they have already been doing in the past) is okay IMO, but security updates should be guaranteed for longer. Google and Samsung show it's possible.

Remember, Apple sells iPhones for 3 years. So 5 years after initial release is only 2 years for some customers. That's just not enough. (Again, not talking about new features but security updates, without which using the phone is frankly gambling.)
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tomtad Avatar
6 weeks ago
Well done UK ?
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MilaM Avatar
6 weeks ago
Strange move by Apple to only guarantee the five-year minimum. Would be interesting to know what the rationale is behind this.

Long term software support is probably the most important reason why I buy and recommend Apple devices.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PsykX Avatar
6 weeks ago
Don't they already do much more than that ? And not just security fixes, but major releases too.

My iPhone XR from 2018 has the very latest OS six years later.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
winxmac Avatar
6 weeks ago
iPhone 4 [A4] - iOS 4 to iOS 7
iPhone 4s [A5] - iOS 5 to iOS 9
iPhone 5 [A6] - iOS 6 to iOS 10
iPhone 5c [A6] - iOS 7 to iOS 10
iPhone 5s [A7] - iOS 7 to iOS 12
iPhone 6 [A8] - iOS 8 to iOS 12
iPhone 6s/SE 2016 [A9] - iOS 9 to iOS 15
iPhone 7 [A10 Fusion] - iOS 10 to iOS 15
iPhone 8/X [A11 Bionic] - iOS 11 to iOS 16
iPhone XR/XS [A12 Bionic] - iOS 12 to iOS 17
iPhone 11/11 Pro/SE 2020 [A13 Bionic] - iOS 13 to iOS 17

The last two feels most likely to happen but WWDC 2024 will determine whether I'm wrong or right...
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)