The Replacement Cycle: iPhones, iPads, and Macs

A new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reveals some information on customer behavior as far as how quickly people get their iPad, iPhone or Macs upgraded or replaced. For example, iPhones have approximate lifespans of two years, tied closely to when people’s contracts end. If the phone is in good condition, as expected, most people replace them along with their new contract. Macs stay around for up to four years before being swapped out for newer equipment. The report argues that iPad life cycles more closely resemble Macs than iPhones.

However, in the case of loss or damage, people are much more likely to replace their iPhones than Macs or iPads. Eighty percent of people replace iPhones within just two days. For Macs and iPads, this stretches out a week or even more. Less than 30% of buyers surveyed said they would replace an iPad immediately compared to approximately 37% for iPhones.

For obsolete devices, people tend to recycle iPads to family or friends much more frequently than their iPhones. According to this study, a third of iPhones are sold or traded in through sites like Gazelle. Interestingly, the most common outcome for older smartphones is that they are kept by their original owners — tablets seem to have a much higher propensity to be passed on for some reason.

Surprisingly, what this survey shows is how dedicated people are to all their Apple products. Less than five percent of people said they would never get their Mac replaced if it was lost or broken. The margin is even smaller for iOS devices; less than one percent of iPhone and iPad users would never consider buying a replacement device. The vast majority of users get replacements within one month.


Kyron Timbs
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