Apple needs to start guaranteeing iOS upgrades like Samsung

Samsung one-ups Apple with five years of guaranteed updates for the S22.

Credit: IDG

iPhone and iPad users have long had a major advantage over their Android peers: longevity. While new Apple devices enjoy years of OS updates, most Android phones are lucky to get updates for more than a year after purchase, leaving many handsets with outdated software before they're ready to be upgraded.

With the latest Galaxy S22 phones, Samsung has closed that gap considerably. Alongside the new phones, the company announced that they will support four generations of One UI and Android OS upgrades and five years of security updates. That means an S22 bought today with OneUI 4 based on Android 12 will get OneUI 8 based on Android 16 in 2026.

Apple, of course, generally supports its devices for even longer than that. The iPhone 6s from 2015 is able to get iOS 15 more than six years after its launch and the iPad Air 2, released in 2014, is also compatible. But buyers don't know that at the time of purchase. We just need to trust that Apple won't end support after three or four years.

And that extended longevity is not always the case. Apple ended support for the Apple Watch Series 1 and 2 when watchOS 7 arrived in 2020, less than four years after the hardware's release. We assume the iPhone 14 will get iOS 20, but Apple hasn't ever put that in writing. We don't know for sure.

It's unlikely that any Android device will ever support OS upgrades as long as an iOS device, but that doesn't matter if Samsung offers a guarantee that Apple doesn't. Apple users expect their new iPhones to get at least and likely more than five years of updates, and Apple should capitalise on its advantage by meeting and exceeding Samsung's guarantee.

When you buy a new Apple device, you have peace of mind that it will receive many years of OS updates. Apple may need to put it in writing.

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Michael Simon

Michael Simon
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