Apple support iPhones old versions of iOS for years, so even really old iPhones still get security updates. But if it’s iPhone 6 parts you need you might not be so lucky.
There are two ways in which Apple supports iPhones. One is the software – ensuring that any bugs and security flaws are addressed. The other is the hardware – providing the parts and labour to fix a problem with your phone (for a price, of course).
The good news is that Apple does at least support iPhones for a long time. Software support lasts around a decade, while hardware support can be available on five to seven year old handsets
How long does Apple support iPhones?
As of 2023 Apple supports the last two versions of its operating systems for bug and security updates: iOS 16 and iOS 15. All phones that could run iOS 14 and iOS 13 are able to run iOS 15, so that means all phones from iPhone 6s forwards are supported.
But actually, Apple does support iOS 12 as well, which brings software support to the iPhones 6 and 5s. In January 2023 Apple updated iOS 12 with a security update to address serious security flaws. However, we do not expect these phones to be supported for much longer.
Statista (a provider of market and consumer data) publishes a chart that shows for how long Apple supports older iPhones. The company updated this chart in September 2022, adding the iPhone 14 series and iOS 16.
The graph shows for how long the software on iPhones has been supported by Apple, and the good news is that support for the operating systems on older iPhones – including security and usability updates – has continued for years after these phones were sold, especially among the newer iPhones.
For the early phones the support wasn’t anything to shout about, but as of the iPhone 4s, which arrived in 2011, Apple’s support has lasted for years (and still continues).
Types of Apple support iPhones
Apple support the first iPhone
In 2007, was able to run iPhone OS 3, which was supported by Apple up until 2010. The iPhone is considered obsolete by Apple.
The iPhone 3G
2008, was able to run iOS 4.0, which was itself supported until 2011. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS are considered obsolete by Apple.
The length of support increased with the launch of the iPhone 4s in 2011.
That phone was able to run operating systems all the way up to iOS 9. Apple was still supporting iOS 9 in 2019 when it issued a GPS related update that July. The iPhones 4 and 4s are considered obsolete by Apple.
The iPhone 5c
Runs iOS 10, which also received the GPS related update in July 2019. The iPhones 5 and 5c are considered obsolete by Apple.
The iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 both run iOS 12
This update was issued for those few devices that don’t support iOS 15. We don’t expect that Apple will continue support for iOS 12 for much longer. These phones are considered vintage by Apple.
iOS 15, which arrived in September 2021, supports all iPhones from iPhone 6s onwards, just as with iOS 14 and iOS 13. Both iOS 14 and 13 are considered obsolete by Apple because the same phones can run iOS 15. The iPhone 6s is considered vintage by Apple.
iOS 16, which arrived in September 2022 runs on all iPhones from the iPhone 8 onwards – but do note that not all features are available on the older handsets.
We would advise that if you have an iPhone 6 or older and are concerned about security it is time to update your iPhone because it is likely that no more security updates will be issued by Apple after iOS 17 arrives.
We have a list of every version of iOS where you can see the latest versions and how long Apple supports iOS for.