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Apple finally confirms how long it will support iPhones, and it's less than Samsung and Google

Apple will support the latest iPhones for at least five years, less than the seven years guaranteed by Samsung and Google.

Published onJune 5, 2024

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs Google Pixel 8 vs Apple iPhone 15 angled 2
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Apple has confirmed it will provide security updates for a minimum of five years since the iPhone 15 went on sale.
  • This is the first time that Apple has ever committed to a minimum length of software support for an iPhone.
  • In contrast, its competitors Samsung and Google currently guarantee a minimum of seven years of security updates for their respective flagship devices.

If you’re looking to spend hundreds of dollars on the best phone available right now, one thing you’ll need to consider is how many updates you’ll get. A $1,000 phone that only gets three years of updates means you’ll need to upgrade your phone after those three years if you want to stay secure. Although phone update policies vary wildly by brand, most brands will explicitly tell you how long they’ll support their devices.

There’s one notable exception to this, though, and it’s Apple. Historically, Apple has not provided a minimum guarantee for software support, though it has often bested other companies when it comes to updates. Now, though, Apple has finally committed to a minimum support lifetime for the iPhone, and it’s surprisingly less than what some of its competitors offer.

On April 29, 2024, the UK’s Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) regulation came into effect. This regulation forces companies that manufacture, import, or distribute internet-capable products in the UK to comply with certain security requirements. The goal of this regulation is to improve the security of consumer products that can connect to the internet, most notably IoT devices. Companies impacted by the regulation must provide statements of compliance that outline, among other things, the support period for which security updates will be provided.

Since iPhones are internet-capable products, Apple is required to comply with the UK’s PSTI regulation. The company recently published its compliance statement for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, revealing that its “defined support period” is a “minimum five years from the first supply date.” The “first supply date” is listed as September 22, 2023, which is when the iPhone 15 series went on sale.

iPhone minimum software support
Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority

According to the text of the PSTI regulation, the “defined support period” is the “minimum length of time, expressed as a period of time with an end date, for which security updates will be provided.” A “security update,” meanwhile, is defined by the PSTI as a “software update that protects or enhances the security of a product, including a software update that addresses security issues which have been discovered by or reported to the manufacturer.”

Thus, Apple is affirming to the UK government that it will issue security updates for a minimum of five years from the launch date of the iPhone 15. In other words, the iPhone 15 is officially guaranteed to receive security updates until September 22, 2028. This, as VP of Engineering for Android Security & Privacy at Google Dave Kleidermacher points out, means that Apple is no longer offering the best security update policy in the industry. Both Samsung and Google guarantee seven years of not just security updates but also Android OS updates for their respective flagship devices, which is two years longer than what Apple guarantees.

To Apple’s credit, though, it has long provided more than five years of security updates for its various iPhone devices. Some iPhones have received security updates six or more years after the initial release, which is far more support than the vast majority of Android devices receive. So, while Samsung and Google currently beat Apple in terms of how long they’re guaranteeing software support, that doesn’t mean iPhone users can’t keep their phones for just as long, if not longer. They’ll just need to hope Apple doesn’t cut off support after the five-year minimum.

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