Apple plans to launch new versions of its smartphone, tablet, and desktop operating systems this fall, with beta releases of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS 13 Ventura scheduled to drop in July.

But the company is also dropping support for some older devices. Still using an iPhone 7 or an older model? No iOS 16 for you. Somewhat more surprisingly though, macOS Ventura will only run on Macs released in 2017 or later.

Apple has traditionally done a much better job than most other phone makers when it comes to offering long-term support for older smartphones. This time around Apple may be ending OS updates for two generations of phones (the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 were both supported when iOS 15 rolled out  last year). But since the iPhone 8 was released in 2017, that means Apple will offer a major operating update this fall for a phone that’s been around for five years.

But things are a little weirder on the Mac side of things. Apple says the operating system will run on:

  • iMac from 2017 or later
  • iMac Pro from 2017 or later
  • MacBook from 2017 or later
  • MacBook Pro from 2017 or later
  • MacBook Air from 2018 or later
  • Mac Mini from 2018 or later
  • Mac Pro from 2019 or later

That means that Apple is still continuing to support Macs with Intel chips… but only Macs released within the past five years. It wouldn’t be surprising if Apple eventually ended support for all Intel-powered Macs, but that hasn’t happened yet.

What is a little surprising is that, as Ars Technica points out, the company has pulled the plug on support for the 2013 Mac Pro – a high-performance desktop computer that Apple was still selling up until 2019. So if you bought one of those very expensive computers from Apple three years ago, you won’t be able to run the latest version of macOS on it this fall.

It’s worth keeping in mind that Apple isn’t the only company ending support for computers with older hardware though. Windows 11 has pretty strict system requirements that mean, among other things, it isn’t officially supported on computers released before 2017 either.

The upgrade situation looks a little better for iPad owners, with Apple offering upgrades to all models of the iPad Pro, for example. That includes first-gen models that were released as far back as 2015. If you have a non-pro model though, you’ll need something a bit newer, as these are the models that will support iPadOS 16:

  • iPad Air, 3rd-gen or later (2019)
  • iPad, 5th-gen or later (2017)
  • iPad mini, 5th-gen or later (2019)

via Ars Technica (1)(2)

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5 replies on “Apple’s new software drops support for some older (and not that old) hardware”

  1. I guess that’s it for my Macbook Air 2017 model (purchased in 2019)… 3 years of updates. This is rather disappointing, in the past Apple has been providing MacOS updates for up to 7 years.

    Definitely going to think about this when I purchase another laptop. Apple’s new M1 Mac products are far less friendly with Linux currently, so I’m a little uncertain if I want a Macbook with a 5 year planned obsolescence.

    I also have an M1-powered Macbook Air, and I’m not exactly impressed with it overall. Unless Apple seriously improves support for video output in the next generation, I probably won’t be buying another Macbook. The lack of support for more than 1 monitor is annoying, and the poor support for higher refresh rates (than 60hz) should be an embarrassment for Apple.

    Also considering MacOS has some ongoing bugs that have been around for several subsequent versions, I’m not sure Apple is really in a position to expect that people are willing to put up with this kind of support lifespan. For example, MacOS has had a ridiculous Bluetooth audio bug for over a decade (audio downgrades to dogshit as soon as your headphone’s mic is in use). Every version upgrade, I cross my fingers and hope they fix it.

    Good job with the M1 chip Apple. Sad to see you still suck at making products that appeal beyond the most basic user demographic.

  2. Considering this crap and Windows 11 “support”, I think I’m going the Linux way in the near future… Especially if they drop support for Windows 10.

  3. They removed the phone chargers claiming it’s for environmental reasons and then they go and drop support from perfectly functioning laptops and other devices.

    1. 5 years old is plenty of time, when they extend support beyond 5 years people complain that they intentionally cripple older devices by making them running slowly. One can’t win.

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