Apple Update Patches Fully Work Only On Latest Devices: Are Old iPhones Unsecure?

Apple event iPhone 14 launch 1
Image: Apple

Apple made a surprising revelation that most security researchers were confident about. The company recently revealed that Apple Update patches mostly focus on newer versions of its operating systems and devices capable of running new OS builds. This is somewhat shocking because you expect the company to supply the latest patches and keep the software issues at bay.

So, the newer devices running the latest operating systems are the first in line to receive updates for all known issues. Older supported OS and devices also receive updates, but they are delayed and not as frequent as the new ones.

Apple Update: Why such discrimination?

ArsTechnica explains the difference between Apple updates and upgrades – a term we often misinterpret as the same. The term ‘upgrade’ in Apple’s eyes happens when you switch to a newer OS – on iPhone or Mac. However, the term ‘update’ implies that you don’t switch to a newer OS but a newer build of the same OS. Now, you understand the difference between the two.

You may have noticed that the updates arrive faster on new iOS or Mac versions, especially on newer devices. However, even if you upgrade an older device to the latest version of iOS or Mac, it doesn’t receive the same pattern of updates as the new ones. Some of it is due to the bugs in newer devices, so developers pay constant attention to them. But Apple did accept that not all older and older devices running the newer builds get the same level of attention.

Apple Update
Image by Manik Berry/Fossbytes

So, Apple is the bad guy here, right? Well, not entirely. The reality is that maintaining and pushing features and updates for all older devices isn’t feasible. A company will always focus on present and future developments rather than divert its resources to supporting older ones. So, you have to switch to a new device after it gets obsolete, especially if you are serious about security. Even Windows follows the same update trends, and so does every other major OS manufacturer.

Recently, Google announced that no newer builds would be created for Windows 7. But companies should be transparent about what they mean by updates and upgrades to the treatment old and new devices will get. Apple should’ve made it clear when they advertised such features.

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