Which iPhones are likely to be able to run the upcoming iOS 16?

If you have had an iPhone for years, you are likely accustomed to Apple pushing fresh software updates for it on a regular basis. As analysis from Statista reveals, later models in the iPhone line have traditionally received five to six years of software updates.

Nonetheless, there’s no way to be certain which iPhones will get the next major version of iOS until that version is actually announced. With MacRumors expecting Apple to unveil iOS 16 in June, it’s currently left to Apple fans to speculate which iPhone models will be in line for the update.    

Some early hints from a (generally) reliable source

That source is the French-language news site iPhoneSoft, which claims – having apparently been in contact with someone running an internal build of iOS 16 – that Apple intends to leave only three iPhone models in the lurch with the release of the finished software. 

Those three models are the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and first-generation iPhone SE. You might recall that the first two were originally released in late 2015, while the SE followed in early 2016. 

This software support roadmap would make sense, as all three of these iPhones run on Apple’s A9 processor. Once, axing support for these would leave the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus – each of which were first released in late 2016 and house the A10 Fusion chip – as the oldest supported iPhones.

Is there any reason for you to doubt the report?

Admittedly, there is one fly in the ointment of this story’s plausibility. As pointed out by 9to5Mac, which has paraphrased the iPhoneSoft report in English, the publication had previously claimed that the iPhone 6s and original SE would be left out of the loop with iOS 15. 

This turned out not to happen; iOS 15 instead supports all of the same iPhone models as iOS 14. However, the French site did correctly report, ahead of time, which devices would be compatible with iOS 13 and iOS 14 – first released, respectively, in 2019 and 2020.

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Should you start thinking about buying a new phone?

Basically, if your current iPhone is an iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, or newer unit, it’s probably safe to assume that it will get iOS 16. If you have an iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, or first-generation iPhone SE, the situation is less clear-cut. 

Of course, even if you do have one of these latter three handsets, you can continue regularly using it provided it still meets your practical needs. However, an iPhone not updated to the very latest version of iOS could pose a security risk. 

Besides, you could be pleasantly surprised by how many cheap iPhones should be offered iOS 16. Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean old – especially if you are willing to consider a pre-owned or refurbished model or the second-generation iPhone SE. 

Ultimately, the decision is up to you, as the security risk might be one you remain willing to take. In any case, though, you should make your decision an informed one.  

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