Longevity of iOS devices

Discussion in 'iPad' started by patrickkidd, Sep 29, 2017.


How many iOS devices have you retired “early” for a newer replacement?

  1. 1

  2. 2

  3. 3

  4. 4

  5. 5

    0 vote(s)
  6. 6

  7. More

  8. None

  1. patrickkidd macrumors newbie


    Mar 11, 2010
    Sausalito, CA
    Are there any conversations on the longevity of iOS devices? I have loved every phone and iPad I have owned, and take excellent care of them. I am dissappointed that iOS software updates do not permit good performance after about three years, rendering the hardware obsolete due to poor performance.

    I realize that there is a commercial interest in selling more hardware and this sort of topic can spur an emotional and non-productive internet debate. But what do we know about the facts of Apple’s stance on this problem? And what do we know about the facts of user’s conversations on the problem?

    I would just love to keep this wonderful iPad Pro 10.5” working for more than a few years, even if it means that I don’t have the latest software.

  2. CrystalQuest76 Suspended

    Dec 14, 2015
    West Cost A Lot
    My spouse is still happily using the iPad 3 and the iPhone 5. They work as well now as they did when first bought. While they do not do all the new things, they do all the things that they were bought for. (The lack of security upgrades is a concern though.)
    Saving money is not a crime.
  3. sparksd macrumors 68020

    Jun 7, 2015
    Seattle WA
  4. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    I second this. I have (and use) an original iPad, and an original iPad mini. Neither have ever been permanently slowed by an OS upgrade (though the .0 releases can be a bit spotty).

  5. rui no onna macrumors 603

    rui no onna

    Oct 25, 2013
    Given how well the Air 2 is working even now, I think the iPad Pro 10.5 should do quite well unless there are major changes similar to the move from iOS 6 to iOS 7.

    The 5/5c and 5s performed quite decently up to iOS 10.3.3 (haven't installed 11 on the latter, yet). Some stutters but no major slowdown for normal tasks. The iPad Air with its much higher resolution didn't fare quite as well but that's probably because I can be quite picky when it comes to performance. Heck, my mom was just fine with the iPad 3 which for me was unbearable.
  6. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    I have never retired a device early.

    We upgrade every 2 to 3.5 years with our tax refund. We do not sell our old devices, they move down to secondary devices or become media devices or we give them to people who need phones.

    My oldest device now is a 4s. I would have had a 3GS but I passed it on to a friend who needed a phone.

    I have an iPhone 5 running iOS 10.3.1. I find nothing obsolete or performance limiting.

    There is nothing I do now that I have not done any different than I did in 2009 when I got my first smartphone. There is nothing that Apple has introduced as a 'feature' since iOS 6 that I absolutely had to have or that was integrated into how I use my phone.

    Consequently I do not fall into this category of being obsoleted because I have five year old or more devices.
  7. sracer macrumors G3


    Apr 9, 2010
    I think Apple is more aggressive now in allowing older hardware to upgrade than it did in the past. The result is a poorer experience with newer devices at the latest supported version of iOS than in the past.

    My iPad 1 (1st gen iPad) is still going strong on iOS 5.x. Performance and responsiveness is as snappy as it was the first day I bought it. It now serves as a digital picture tube for a vintage TV. (I gutted out the internals and replaced it with the iPad).

    My iPad 2 (2nd gen iPad) is also working very well, but it is at iOS 7 (or thereabouts, I can't recall off the top of my head what the specific version is).

    My Ipad 4 is at the latest supported version of iOS and it no longer performs well. My adult daughter has it now, and doesn't complain because it was free to her.

    Air 2, Mini 4, and 12.9 Pro are all at the latest supported versions and run well... but only the 12.9 Pro still runs as well as it did with the initially shipped version of iOS.

    Since Apple refuses to allow customers to downgrade to a previous version of iOS, they should either (A) be more conservative in which devices they allow to upgrade and/or (B) eliminate the obnoxious nag screens that an iOS update is available.

    Before anyone replies that customers would "complain of planned obsolescence if they couldn't upgrade" there are far fewer complaints about NOT being able to upgrade than those who upgrade and are dissatisfied. Apple isn't doing anyone any favors by allow devices to upgrade to the latest version of iOS if they can't run it smoothly (with no way to back it off).
  8. Falhófnir macrumors 68040


    Aug 19, 2017
    Nope, never had to retire a device early, I think since the A7, and certainly since 2gb ram became commonplace with the air 2/ iPhone 6s, the slow downs aren’t as much of a problem as they used to be. The devices just have enough raw horsepower to drive iOS comfortably, even with multiple cumulative updates adding resource hungry features... where lag and stutter do appear, it’s now because iOS hasn’t been well optimised for that device (usually worst towards the beginning of a release cycle, better as more point updates come out) not because the device’s innards are struggling to keep up. The A5 based devices seemed to get it the worst, being the first chipset generation to really get stretched out and supported for longer than it ideally would have been - that was the double edged sword generation, now longer support is more of an upside with few drawbacks.
  9. patrickkidd thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 11, 2010
    Sausalito, CA
    Interesting. Maybe I am picky about performance. My iPad 2 got so slow with the last supported iOS release that I didn't want to use it any more. My iPhone 6 just started slowing down pretty bad with iOS 11. It's definitely still usable, but not nearly as snappy as when I originally bought it. And I'm a developer that is capable of finding performance problems. Maybe it will get faster as updates are more optimized for it, as one poster implied.

    Also, I updated the survey with a "None" option.
  10. Reno Raines macrumors 65816

    Jul 19, 2015

    I do the same thing mostly with my old devices. I either use them like an iPod Touch like I do with my 5s or give them away. I have a buddy who went through a bad divorce which set him back financially pretty bad. I have given him two phones over the years I no longer needed and he used them for quite a long time. I am not a strident environmentalist but to me doing this is better than they taking up space in a landfill somewhere. You can also donate them to domestic violence shelters and they will give them to dv victims as 911 only phones.
  11. Alvi macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2008
    Yeah, I just got the new 12.9 iPad Pro and I am feeling the same things, it's a bummer that it will probably suck in 3 years or so. I just retired my iPad Air and it was super decent from iOS7 to iOS10 but iOS11 just completely killed it.
    A MacBook is just a few hundred dollars more expensive (not really in case of a high end iPad Pro and a low end MacBook) and it lasts 5-6 years (that's has been my experience so far).

    I also came to realize that old iPads become such a waste of good components, its screen is great and will be a great screen for the next five years and so will its internal memory. This is why I bought the base 64GB model, having a lot of storage is nice, but it doesn't really affect it's resale value.
  12. Wildkraut, Oct 7, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017

    Wildkraut macrumors 6502a


    Nov 8, 2015
    I totally agree, but this would quickly drive users to unsupported devices/apps.
    Currently a developer can’t update apps for "unsupported" devices.
    There is no way to build, update and distribute newer versions of apps for older iOS versions, and a sideload is also not possible. E.g. to rebuild and make something available with a newer webinterface api.

    The planned obsolescence is not only a Apple issue, all these mobile OS devices, are done in a way to become unusable after 2-4years(sooner than later).

    I find once a device become officially unsupported by a manufacturer, they should be legally forced to allow OS downgrades, sideload installs and device rooting.

    E.g. I can still build Apps for older PC hardware or Windows versions, even for older macOS and Macs.
    It’s up to the devs, what they want to support.

    It’s one of the reasons why im slowly thinking of moving back to Windows.
    This Apple eco system is nice, but slowly I’m not seeing reasons to upgrade my devices.
    The main reasons i have are simply the mentioned limitations which is also a type of planed obsolescence.

    In Brasil we to say to this: Se correr o bicho pega! Se ficar o bicho come!
    Means: If you run the beast catchs you! If you stay the beast eats you!
  13. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68040


    Nov 8, 2014
    Land of Flanders and Elsewhere
    All my older iOS devices still working properly.
  14. masotime macrumors 68020


    Jun 24, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    The poll isn’t great. I voted for “more”, but I don’t retire early because I don’t like the performance. I retire early because I like to always have the latest iPad - I have literally owned every iteration of the iPad except the iPad 2017, which I don’t consider a new iPad.

    You should retitle the poll, “how many iOS devices have you retired “early” because the performance became unacceptable”. Then my answer becomes “none”.

  15. jrs22 macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2012
    I’m on my 5th iPad. The first 4 are still in use elsewhere in my family. Even my iPod Touch 4th generation is still in use because I depend on an obscure app that hasn’t been updated since iOS 6. The oldest iPad, an iPad 2, hasn’t been updated but it still performs it’s basic functions and the user is happy.
  16. sjleworthy macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2008
    Penarth, Wales, UK
    I said NONE as i upgraded from ipad2 to ipad Pro. I didnt see ipad2 having an early departure.

    But i do strongly think that if i could some how downgrade my ipad2 ios to release 6 or 7 then it would still be in strong everyday use with me now. As it stands it has the latest ios it allowed, rendering it more or less completely useless.

    Such a shame as the potential is still there
  17. ipos macrumors 6502a

    May 4, 2011
  18. BritishApple macrumors regular

    Oct 18, 2016
    I'm guilty of replacing devices way before they've lost all usefulness.

    My iPhone "journey" is: iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 7.

    My iPad equivalent is: iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad 9.7" 2017.

    As you can see I could have easily held onto certain devices for a little longer. My 2017 iPad screams on iOS 10.3.3 and it'll be staying on that. There's nothing in iOS 11 that I need or want or that makes my iPad more worthwhile.

    And as for the security argument from not upgrading iOS ... when was the last time we heard of a mass iOS malware outbreak affecting devices on an older firmware? We haven't.

    The only devices which were on its last legs when I upgraded were the iPhone 3G which iOS 4 killed and the iPad 3 which was crippled out the box.
  19. bcodemz macrumors member

    May 6, 2014
    I've had an iPad 3 for 5 years. Hated using it as it was so slow on iOS 9. Was going to upgrade to a Pro 9.7, but recently I jailbroke it and installed Coolbooter to dual boot (yes, dual boot!) into iOS 7. It made a world of difference in speed. My iPad is fast again. It is so fast that for regular use I don't see the need to upgrade. Most things open up almost instantaneously. I'll be holding on to the iPad 3 for a couple more years now.

    If you have the storage, as you need to give half your space for the other version of iOS, I highly recommend jailbreaking and using Coolbooter to downgrade to iOS 7. It makes a HUGE speed difference, and you still have 99% app compatibility.
  20. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    iPod touch 2G on iOS 2.2.1 that still runs just fine as an iPod on a dock that plays music, heck the mail, maps, notes, calendar, and weather apps and such still work too.

    iPhone 3GS was on 4.1 but moved it up to iOS 6.1.6 and it streams Spotify/Pandora on an iHome in the kitchen and has loads of games on it (150 apps last i checked) and still runs about as well as it did in 2009 if not better due to multiasking in iOS 4+. Used it as my only phone for a couple weeks a while back to detox from social media as I kept FB/Insta and the like off of it. Great battery life too.

    iPad 1 sold to my brother, still uses it for ebooks, Amazon Prime/Netflix video for the kids or when traveling, and some other tasks.

    iPhone 4s was on iOS 6.1 just sold recently for a little cash since it just sat around in it's box looking pretty. But still ran great under iOS 6, terrible on iOS 8 and 9 though.

    iPhone 5 working fine on 7.1.2 just went to the final 10.3.3 a few weeks ago. Used it for offline maps in Colorado and as a camera when my wife left her SE in the tent back at camp. (I always keep a spare phone in my truck). Even on it's final iOS version it runs well, slower than 6.x and 7.x but not a whole lot worse than 8-9.x.

    Current 6S, SE, and 7 all fine of course.

    To be fair though I did retire one device kind of early and that would be my iPad 1 that I sold not too long after iOS 6 came out and dropped support for it. It was a 2010-2012 supported device, not very long for an iOS device. The apps I used for productivity got too laggy and crashed often due to the lack of RAM (Notes Plus and Safari I'm looking at you!). But that's the only one.
  21. ACG12 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2015
    1. iPhone 6 plus

    Apple should've never released it with 1gb RAM. My wife's mini 4 still works great because of the 2gb of RAM.
  22. bufffilm, Oct 10, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017

    bufffilm Suspended


    May 3, 2011
    My iPad 2 is still useful.

    But that's because I never upgraded past iOS 7. :D

    You could say I'm overdue to buy another iPad. The problem is some of the same limitations that I faced in 2011...are still there today.

    Way to go, Apple!

    So "No" I won't buy another.
  23. Mainsail macrumors 65816

    Sep 19, 2010
    In general, I expect to get 3 years from iOS devices and 5+years from MacBooks/Macs. This has worked out pretty well over the years. When I am done with a device, I will trade it in or give it to a relative.

    We have a full set of grandparents that just use the basic functions on their phones, so I can reset as new, and they basically use the phone as is. Two of them are using iPhone 4s, one is using a 5, and one is using a 6 plus. Happy as clams.

    BTW - I have no idea how long my Apple Watch will last. Frankly, I will be disappointed if it doesn't last at least 5 years because $300+ is a hell of a lot of money for a watch....so, it should last a while. I don't care about software updates for additional features, since in the past, when I bought a watch, new features and functions did not get added while I own it. However, I will be very frustrated if the battery gives out or performance degrades......
  24. bufffilm Suspended


    May 3, 2011
    $300 may be a tidy sum for an Apple Watch, but it's cheap compared to a traditional watch.

    A Tag Heuer is considered a basic "better" brand and they're in the $1500+ range easily.

    And you never need to charge the watch either. ;)
  25. Fishels macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2015
    It depends on what you mean by retire I suppose. I had to retire lots of iPods because they broke.

    But I plan on keeping my iPad Air 2 as long as possible, even though an upgrade in the next year is inevitable for me.

Share This Page

32 September 29, 2017