Can an iPhone really last a lifetime?

How long does an iPhone last?

You just got an iPhone. Maybe it's a shiny new one, or maybe it's one you bought used on eBay. Either way, you've probably wondered how long the iPhone will last before you need to buy a new one. This is actually a tricky multi-answer question - so let's examine it.

How long does Apple support an iPhone?

When people ask, "How long does an iPhone last?" Often times they really mean, "How long will my iPhone continue to receive software updates?" And if that's your real question, it's a lot easier to answer.

Virtually all iPhones Apple has ever sold have received software updates (critical updates to the iOS operating system) for at least five years.

But let's look at the question through the eyes of the latest version of iOS: iOS 14. IOS 2020 was launched on September 14 and supports iPhones that date back to the iPhone 6s series. The iPhone was released back in September 2015 - a full five years before iOS 14 was released. But considering that iOS 14 will be Apple's newest operating system by September 2021, when iOS 15 comes out iPhone 6s will have received software updates from Apple for six years after its original release.

That's not all that shoddy when you consider that many Android phones are only supported for two or three major software versions - that's roughly two to three years.

How long does it take before I need to update my iPhone?

Another question people really mean when they ask, "How long does an iPhone last?" says, "How long will it be before the technology in my iPhone becomes so out of date that I have to buy a new one?"

The answer to this question is not surprisingly subjective. Some people update their iPhone every year. Some people wait two, three, or four years before upgrading. It really depends on what you are using the phone for to initiate an upgrade.

If you're a gadget freak, you can upgrade every year to get the latest and greatest iPhone. In fact, until recently, for this reason, many people have upgraded every year or two to get the latest technology. As smartphones have matured, revolutionary advances in technology for the devices have slowed, leaving most people waiting more than two years for an upgrade.

The average update time for most users to a new iPhone is now roughly every three years. Features that drive these upgrades include major camera advances, major design changes, and new features such as: Face id or 5G support.

However, if none of these main criteria pique your interest, then you can hold onto your iPhone until it becomes slow or sluggish. When an iPhone doesn't run as fast as it used to - it's not a shameful planned obsolescence on the part of Apple. As the annual operating system updates progress, the chips that power the iPhone must also be further developed. Even though iOS 14 runs on both an iPhone 6s and an iPhone 12, it's so much faster on the iPhone 12 - because the modern A14 chipset in the iPhone 12 can handle the intense processes that iOS 14 requires much better than the A9 into the iPhone 6s.

How long will it take my iPhone to stop working?

The last question people really mean when they ask, "How long does an iPhone last?" is "How long will it take my iPhone to die?" All technologies, whether it's a car or a smartphone, are durable. There will be a day when a component in an iPhone fails (the display, the RAM, the chipset) that the device simply cannot be used anymore.

How long it takes for an iPhone to die depends on how you've used it over the years. If you drop it frequently or have poor charging practices, the iPhone can die a lot faster than it would be.

While there is no guarantee of how long your iPhone will last, most iPhones will last a very, very long time. In fact, I know people who still have a fully functional original iPhone from 2007. This iPhone hasn't received software updates for a long time and can't even connect to modern 3G networks - but it is alive and well and can be used for most things.

  • Q: Can an iPhone last 10 years?

    Yes! Absolutely! An iPhone can last 10 years. In fact, some people still have working original iPhones from 2007. A ten-year-old iPhone no longer receives software updates, but it can still work.

  • Q: How Often Should You Replace Your iPhone?

    It depends on the person and how the phone is used. For example:

    • If you take a lot of photos: Update your iPhone every 2-3 years to take advantage of the camera's improvements.
    • When you need the latest and greatest technology, update your iPhone every year.
    • If you just want a phone to communicate and the internet to be safe: update every 5 years.
  • Q: How long does an iPhone 7 last?

    An iPhone 7 will last, on average, a decade or more. In general, however, iPhone 7 will only receive critical software updates for five years. Expect the iPhone 7 to continue receiving software updates up to and including iOS 15 in 2021 since it came out in 2016.

Apple expert and writer, Michael Grothaushas been dealing with technology on KnowYourMobile for almost 10 years. He previously worked at Apple. Before that he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; His book Epiphany Jones was voted one of the best novels on Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer on other publications including VICE and Fast Society.