Apple has long pointed out that most iPhone users update to the latest version of iOS that their phones support shortly after a new version of the operating system is released. That’s… not at all the case for Android devices – according to StatCounter, only 15-percent were running Android 11 as of May.
But one of the key reasons for that disparity is that Apple makes all of the phones that run its operating system and the company can push software updates directly to users. Google can only do that for some phones – usually the company needs to rely on third-party phone makers to release software updates.
Another reason? Apple has typically required users to upgrade to continue receiving software and security updates. But starting when iOS 15 is released this fall, that will no longer be the case.
According to the Apple iOS 15 preview website, users will soon have two choices:
You can update to the latest version of iOS 15 as soon as it’s released for the latest features and most complete set of security updates. Or continue on iOS 14 and still get important security updates until you’re ready to upgrade to the next major version.
It’s likely that users will still receive a notification asking them to update when iOS 15 is available, but folks who choose not to upgrade right away will be able to continue receiving support.
Given that some iPhone operating system updates have been known to cause older phones to run more slowly, I suspect this will come as good news for cautious users who are holding onto iPhones released a few years ago.
But it could also mean that Apple will stop tooting its own horn for the speed at which its users transition from one version of iOS to the next… although it’d take a lot of work to match the situation with Android. According to StatCounter, more than 30-percent of Android devices are still running Android 8.1 or earlier, meaning that they’re running an operating system released 3-4 years ago on a device which most likely no longer receives security updates.