Apple finally confirms how long it will support the iPhone, and it’s less than Samsung and Google

Samsung Galaxy S24 vs Google Pixel 8 vs Apple iPhone 15 with angle 2

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

TL; Dr.

  • Apple has confirmed that it will provide security updates for at least five years after the iPhone 15 went on sale.
  • This is the first time Apple has ever committed to minimal 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 to consider is how many updates you’ll get. A $1,000 phone that only gets updates for three years means you’ll need to upgrade your phone after those three years if you want to stay safe. Although phone update policies vary widely by brand, most brands will clearly tell you how long they will support their devices.

However, there is one notable exception to this, and that is Apple. Historically, Apple has not provided a minimum warranty for software support, although it has often beaten other companies when it comes to updates. Now, however, Apple has finally committed to a minimum lifespan of support for the iPhone, and it’s surprisingly less than what some of its competitors offer.

On 29 April 2024, the UK Product Safety and Telecommunications Infrastructure (PSTI) regulation came into force. This regulation forces companies that manufacture, import or distribute internet-capable products in the UK to comply with certain security requirements. The purpose of this regulation is to improve the security of consumer products that can be connected to the Internet, especially IoT devices. Companies affected by the regulation must provide compliance statements that describe, among other things, the support period for which security updates will be provided.

As iPhones are internet-capable products, Apple must comply with UK PSTI regulation. The company recently released its compatibility statement for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, revealing that the “defined period of support” is “a minimum of five years from the first date of supply.” The “first supply date” is listed as September 22, 2023, when the iPhone 15 series went on sale.

Minimum software support for iPhone

Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority

According to the text of the PSTI regulation, the “defined period of support” 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 PSTI as a “software update that protects or enhances the security of a product, including a software update that addresses security issues that have been discovered or reported to the manufacturer.”

Thus, Apple is confirming to the UK government that it will release security updates for a minimum of five years from the release 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 and 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 only security updates but also Android OS updates for their flagship devices, which is two years longer than what Apple guarantees.

However, to Apple’s credit, 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 their 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 just as long, if not longer. They’ll just have to hope Apple doesn’t end support after the five-year minimum.

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