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Apple might drop support for the iPhone SE and iPhone 6S with arrival of iOS 16

Apple may finally be dropping some of its oldest supported iPhones with the next iOS release. This report comes from the French publication iPhoneSoft, which accurately predicted the iOS 13 and iOS 14 road maps.

Apple has been praised for supporting its iPhones for an exceedingly long period of time with full updates, and that has led to impressive scenarios like the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 being updated to iOS 15 last year. Granted, they couldn’t take advantage of several hardware-enabled features, but they weren’t rapidly outdated either.

The iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, and SE were released in 2016. If this report pans out, they would have been supported for more than half a decade. This is longer than any Android phone — even the recently released Google Pixel 6 only goes as far as three operating system updates, while the 2018 Pixel 3 has gotten its last Android update with Android 12. Would it be possible for Apple to hypothetically squeeze one more year from these devices? Probably. Would it be worth it? Unlikely. With slow processors, batteries that would be well past their prime, and legacy hardware like 3D Touch, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

Aside from the iPhones, Apple is also said to be dropping the iPad 5, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, and the 2015 iPad Pro with the arrival of iPad OS 16. These are also relatively old devices that have been supported for many years. Much like with the iPhones, the old hardware likely has reached the limit of its capabilities.

Other than hardware, there’s no other news on what’s coming with iOS 16. While iOS 15 was a refining update, adding in things like focus modes and improving the notification center, iOS 16 could be bigger and more bombastic, with the iPhone 14 rumored to have a dramatic visual overhaul. But we’ll have to wait until spring 2022 to know more.

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Michael Allison
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