The six-year-old iPhone 6S gets iOS 15, and that’s the norm

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The iPhone 6S turns six in September, an eternity in phone years. If you’ve been able to hold onto it that long, Apple has some good news for you: your phone will be eligible for the iOS 15 upgrade when it becomes available to the public this fall. The iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, and the first-generation iPhone SE, all of which shipped with iOS 9, are among the oldest devices to receive the OS update.

Six years is an awfully long life for a mobile device, and the 6S certainly has a shot at being the longest-supported phone to date. The iPhone 5S was five years old when it got its last OS update with iOS 12, but it didn’t qualify for iOS 13. On the Android side, Samsung has taken recent steps to improve the device’s lifespan through four years of security support. offer for some of its phones. But six years of OS updates and security support puts the 6S in a very different league.

To be sure, there are a lot of new features that won’t work with the 6S’s A9 Bionic processor. Features like the Google Lens-like visual lookup, Live Text in Photos, Portrait mode in FaceTime, and immersive walking directions in Maps are not available to 6S users, as they all require a device with an A12 Bionic chip a la the XS and XR or higher.

It’s also possible that newer software will slow down an older phone with an outdated, less agile processor. However, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case – both Ars Technica and Macworld found no significant impact on iOS 14 performance on the 6S.

What’s perhaps a bigger issue, as both testers pointed out, is that the 6S is showing its age with poor battery life. Features like widgets are also harder to use on the phone’s 4.7-inch screen, which is odd compared to today’s standard 6-inch-plus panels. These are not so much compatibility issues as the inevitable slow passage of time that no gadget can escape.

However, iPhone 6S owners should not despair. They’ll still get potentially useful updates like notification summaries and Focus modes to minimize interruptions throughout the day, video and music sharing in FaceTime, and added privacy features like a seven-day app privacy report to track how apps are running. use your information . There’s also the peace of mind that comes with running the latest version of the operating system and the security patches and bug fixes delivered year round. Not a bad deal for a six year old device.