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Mark Stone

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 20, 2022
497
551
In its case.
When I bought my first iPhone, which was the 2016 SE, I studied a bit and discovered what everybody knows - Eye Phones get iOS updates annually for (usually) 5 years. So, I decided to keep the SE for four years, because I got it in the Springtime of 2017. But by the summer of 2018, I got tired of the tiny 4" screen and updated to an iPhone 8 Plus - and promised to keep that one for 5 years.

I almost made it to 4 years, when a couple of weeks ago an iPhone 13 Standard flirted with me at the TMO store - and I fell victim to its beauty, and took it home. So now, of course, I've promised myself that this Eye Phone will last me 5 years!

Does anyone else attempt a 5 year cycle? How long have y'all had yours? Will I be able to keep my half-decade commitment?
 

eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
28,902
27,047
We (my wife and I) usually upgrade devices every 2.5 to 4 years. But also…we do not sell our devices.

I have in my possession, an HTC Touch Pro I got in 2009, an iPhone 3GS, a 4, a 4s, an iPhone 5, a Pixel 3a XL and an iPhone 6s+.

My current phone is an 11 Pro Max.

The iPhone 6s+ was in use from late 2015 to mid 2020 when I upgraded to the Pixel. It serves as my secondary phone (I use it every morning for streaming music when I go for a walk).

My wife is using her old Pixel as her official 'work' phone. And my daughter is using my wife's old iPhone 6s.

My son has the iPhone SE, which I got him for his birthday in 2017 and his current primary phone is the SE2020 we got him in February 2021.

We do not 'attempt' anything. We just get what we like when we have the money to do it.
 

Andeddu

macrumors 68000
Dec 21, 2016
1,667
2,062
I picked up my 6S in March 2016 and used it for exactly 2 years. I then moved to the SE1 which, due to the small screen, I only used for 6 months prior to upgrading to the 8 in Sept 2018. I really liked the 8 and planned to use it for a long time however my head was turned by the design of the 12 Mini which I picked up in Nov 2020. This means I generally go through a 2 year cycle with my iPhones. Like eyoungren, I still have all of my old phones and do not trade them in or sell them. They are more collectibles to me so I do not use them either.

I have no intention of upgrading my 12 Mini this year as the 14 appears to be a mere incremental upgrade. I think we are at the point now where the hardware far exceeds the limitations of the software. There is really no requirement for me to upgrade other than to say I own something new and shiny. I reckon I could easily go 5 years with this phone without coming across any issues. My current target is 3 years so I will reassess my position once the iPhone 15 has been released.

Apple are the best in the business for longevity. iPhones are premium phones in cost but you get what you pay for. Even a 6S is still useable today which is quite astounding as a 2015 Android phone would have been abandoned and left for dead many years ago.
 
Last edited:

barkomatic

macrumors 601
Aug 8, 2008
4,526
2,846
Manhattan
I only try to keep mine for 3 years. You can certainly keep an iPhone for 5 years and get updates and be just fine. However, since you are posting on a forum where people are particularly interested in iPhones and you've been tempted out of your 5 year goal a few times - I'm thinking you won't make it 5 years again all things being equal. ?
 

reppans

macrumors 6502
Dec 2, 2006
316
187
I’m on my 3rd smartphone: iPhone3G ‘08-‘13 > iPhone5 ‘13-‘19 > iPhoneXR ‘19-?

I keep downsizing/simplifying: 3G paired w/MacBook Pro; 5 paired w/iPad2 ‘12–‘19; and now consolidated onto the XR ‘phablet’ w/BT keyboard as my ‘only device’. I’m a batt hobbyist and used semi-, now fully-, automated custom battery optimizations so never had issues with my iOS devices original batt. with a single plug-in/day.

I’m not budget constrained, I just enjoy taking care of stuff and long-term ownership. In general, I find upgrading my toys to be painful - research, accessorizing, customizing, re-learning how use/maintain/fix, etc. Eg, I always buy my cars and keep them for 10yrs, wife always leases them.
 

Mark Stone

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Mar 20, 2022
497
551
In its case.
I only try to keep mine for 3 years. You can certainly keep an iPhone for 5 years and get updates and be just fine. However, since you are posting on a forum where people are particularly interested in iPhones and you've been tempted out of your 5 year goal a few times - I'm thinking you won't make it 5 years again all things being equal. ?
I have the feeling you're probably right! ?????
 

Spetsgruppa

macrumors 6502a
Feb 3, 2021
726
436
i upgrade everytime i have the budget... but for people like my dad for example...he upgrades when its broken...he still use his old iphone 7...
 
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Isamilis

macrumors 68020
Apr 3, 2012
2,106
1,007
My 6s is from 2015 to 2021, before I gave it to my son. It had been on 3rd battery replacement. Still runs fine on 15.4. Previously I also use 4s from its launch day (2011) to 2015.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
7,753
4,622
New Jersey Pine Barrens
Kept my 6s Plus for six years until I upgraded to a 12 Pro Max. No cellular plan for the 6s Plus anymore but I use it on wifi to test a web app I'm developing and also use it as an extra camera for video shoots with a wide adapter lens from Moment. It's a nice feeling to finally pay off a phone and watch your monthly bill drop. I have AT&T's program where you pay it off in 30 months but can upgrade after 24 if you like.

Not all that interested in phones anymore, unless there's some kind of problem I will probably keep my 12 Pro Max for 5 or 6 years too.
 

Sunset Cassette

macrumors member
Dec 9, 2021
32
119
Canada
I've had quite the journey in the smartphone space, but I've also been working for cellular carriers the past six years; with the constant allure of getting my hands on the latest devices, I've been tempted into annual renewals ever since...

iPhone 5c -> Galaxy S6 -> Galaxy Note7 (short lived) -> Galaxy S7 -> Galaxy S8 -> Pixel 2 XL -> Pixel 3 -> Pixel 4 XL -> iPhone 12 Pro

As it stands, I've had my 12 Pro since launch and will hold out until the new release in the fall, which currently makes this my longest owned device. As I get older, and as technology has started to reach a plateau in terms of evolution of features, I've realized that yearly upgrades don't make as much sense to me.

When the 14 Pro (or whatever name it is assigned) releases, I am going to try and make it last as long as I can... Until the next new shiny thing flashes before my eyes, anyways.
 
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AlixSPQR

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2020
1,027
5,376
Sweden
When I bought my first iPhone, which was the 2016 SE, I studied a bit and discovered what everybody knows - Eye Phones get iOS updates annually for (usually) 5 years. So, I decided to keep the SE for four years, because I got it in the Springtime of 2017. But by the summer of 2018, I got tired of the tiny 4" screen and updated to an iPhone 8 Plus - and promised to keep that one for 5 years.

I almost made it to 4 years, when a couple of weeks ago an iPhone 13 Standard flirted with me at the TMO store - and I fell victim to its beauty, and took it home. So now, of course, I've promised myself that this Eye Phone will last me 5 years!

Does anyone else attempt a 5 year cycle? How long have y'all had yours? Will I be able to keep my half-decade commitment?
I've had my SE 1st gen for four years and I bought an iPhone 13 last week. I didn't plan to have the SE five years, though. I hope I will be able to keep the 13 for at least five years. I've had my Mac mini Late 2012 since 2013, and it keeps going.
 

960design

macrumors 68040
Apr 17, 2012
3,710
1,578
Destin, FL
Does anyone else attempt a 5 year cycle? How long have y'all had yours? Will I be able to keep my half-decade commitment?
No, we get all new ones each year.
My thought process: Trade in is about 75% original purchase price at that point - directly from Apple.
$999 ( military discount ~ $899 cost ). Trade in value $650 - $699 from Apple. $200 total cost for one year = about $20 / month. $20 / month to stay in new phone is worth it for me.
 

BugeyeSTI

macrumors 604
Aug 19, 2017
6,908
8,769
Arizona/Illinois
My iPhone X will be 5 years old this November and has been the best iPhone I've ever owned. All iPhones before it were upgraded every two years.. I definitely want a larger device/screen but have been waiting for a Pro Max that blows me away. 13 Pro Max almost did it, waiting to see what the 14 Pro Max offers..
 
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Andeddu

macrumors 68000
Dec 21, 2016
1,667
2,062
I've had my SE 1st gen for four years and I bought an iPhone 13 last week. I didn't plan to have the SE five years, though. I hope I will be able to keep the 13 for at least five years. I've had my Mac mini Late 2012 since 2013, and it keeps going.

I have just brought my 1st gen SE out to update it to 15.4. I can’t believe how snappy and useable it is even when updated to the latest firmware. I would have been fine to use mine for 4 years also if I hadn’t upgraded to the 8 back in ‘18. I am genuinely impressed at how well these old phones perform in the present day.
 

jackietreeh0rn

macrumors regular
Apr 13, 2018
211
239
I used a 6s+ from Sep 2015 to Oct 2020. Had to replace the battery somewhere around mid 2019, but otherwise it was working fine. Have a 12 pro now and I plan to use this for 5 years as well.
 

rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
14,710
12,869
I prefer smaller phones so battery is potentially problematic after 2-3 years (and battery replacement can be iffy). I did keep my iPhone 7 for 4 years (until the SE 2020’s release) but during the last 1.5 years, it’s pretty much connected to the charger whenever I’m at work and dead inside my purse when I’m at home.

Is battery repair covered by AppleCare+ Express Replacement Service? I’m considering doing that in future for my SE 2022.
 

adamlbiscuit

macrumors 6502a
Sep 22, 2008
581
1,308
South Yorkshire, UK
My first mobile phone in general was a Sony Ericsson T630 which I got for my birthday in ‘05, and then following that a Sony Walkman W910i I got given to me in 2010.

I really wasn’t interested in phones at that time in my life, but when I started work and making money of my own, I decided it was time to jump into the then new and exciting world of smartphones.

Growing up I always used Macs. I had an iMac and a MacBook and also a few iPods, so it was only natural I went in the direction of the iPhone.

My first iPhone was an iPhone 4, that I had from March 2011 till March 2013.

I then moved onto the iPhone 5 from Mar 2013 till around February 2015 when I moved onto the iPhone 6 Plus. I loved the 6 plus and wasn’t tempted by the iPhone 7, which was the most recent phone by the time I was due to upgrade in early 2017.

In December 2017 I upgraded to the iPhone X which I kept from then until October 2020, making it the longest serving iPhone.

I expected with the rate of improvement slowing down in smartphone land, I’d be keeping my iPhone 12 for even longer when I got it in October 2020. In actual fact, the opposite happened and I only kept my iPhone 12 for less than a year before I traded it in for my iPhone 13 Pro Max in September 2021. Having bought my iPhone 12 outright and not being tied to a contract (as with my previous iPhones) helped facilitate that quick turnaround.

So all in all my pattern of buying iPhones seems really inconsistent - seeming to slow down then speed up again between the 12 and the 13. I’ve never owned one for more than 3 years (but came close with the X).

I love the 13 Pro Max though, I think it’s my favourite next to the iPhone 6 plus. I intend to keep this one for a long time, but given my unpredictable upgrade cycle who knows!
 
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panjandrum

macrumors 6502a
Sep 22, 2009
715
890
United States
I certainly attempt 5 years per phone. I also have the SE 2016 and will be keeping it as many years as possible (I snagged a couple spares on fire sale, for parts.) I happen to like small phones, fingerprint sensors, and headphone jacks, so there are currently zero upgrade paths for me. There is only one thing I really miss; a better camera. This phone has a very poor camera by today's standards. The iPhone Mini would be great, but I would lose 2 desired features in trade for that better camera; something I haven't been willing to do at this point.
 
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_karrol

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2017
195
219
Wien, Österreich
I had my first mobile phone in January 2003 and I am on my 11th phone now, which averages almost 21 months per phone... When it comes to smartphones only, I got my first one exactly 11 years ago and the average here is exactly 22 months. I tend to hold on to my phones for a bit longer now, tho. My iPhone X was the longest serving of them all with almost 3 years when I switched to Galaxy Note in Oct. 2020 (holding on to this one ever since).


Pretty crazy I remember all these details so well (I literally can tell you which month, which year I got a specific phone) 🙈
 
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