Apple gives some older iPhones OS updates, going back to iPhone 5s

Posted:
in iOS
Apple has provided iOS 12.5.7, macOS 11.7.3, and other updates for older devices that can't be updated to the latest releases.

Apple continues providing updates for old devices
Apple continues providing updates for old devices


The new updates are for users still using older devices and operating systems and address similar bugs and security patches available in the recent iOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura releases. The security patch notes list at least 14 different systems affected by security issues that have been patched.

The new update versions are:

  • iOS 12.5.7

  • iOS 15.7.3

  • iPadOS 15.7.3

  • macOS Big Sur 11.7.3

  • macOS Monterey 12.6.3

Users may note the skipped iOS versions between iOS 12 and iOS 15. Those are due to where devices were cut off from updating. Every device that could run iOS 13 could run iOS 15, so Apple doesn't update every version.

The oldest device supported by iOS 12.5.7, for example, is the iPhone 5s, which was released in September 2013. The oldest Macs supported by macOS Big Sur are the 2013 MacBook Air, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro.

Anyone capable of updating these new updates to the older operating systems should do so as soon as possible. The update addresses known security issues that could put the user at risk.

The following systems were addressed via this update: AppleMobileFileIntegrity, curl, dcerpc, DiskArbitration, DriverKit, Intel Graphics Driver, PackageKit, Kernel, Mail Exchange, Maps, Screen Time, Weather, WebKit, and Windows Installer.

Learn about the patches and view the CVE numbers via Apple's support page for the update.

Those with automatic updates enabled won't have to do anything -- the update will likely install overnight. Those who would like to install the update manually can do so via the Settings app. Just select "General" then "Software Update."

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    Nothing short of amazing. Bravo Apple my Mother’s iPhone 6 Plus just got the update. Apple just keeps making this old hardware still usable for basic web and FaceBook 9-10 years after launch


    h4y3smike1appleinsideruserFileMakerFellerrezwitsspock1234red oakwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,410member
    I’m very impressed they go back to a 10 year-old phone.  Let’s see Android do that!
    h4y3smike1dewmewilliamlondoncornchiplolliverrezwitsspock1234watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,135member
    eriamjh said:
    I’m very impressed they go back to a 10 year-old phone.  Let’s see Android do that!

    Yep. Everyone who complains about "forced obsolescence" should take note of this level of support.
    appleinsideruserFileMakerFellerdewmewilliamlondonlolliverrezwitsspock1234pscooter63gilly33watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,816member
    Wonder why my brother's older android phone has no updates for years!! Because it is not iPhone.
    williamlondoncornchiplolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    maltzmaltz Posts: 360member
    This speaks more to severity of the security issue than Apple's support of old devices.  There are a LOT of security patches that have passed older devices by - even iOS 15 / macOS 12 aren't getting them all anymore.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    maltz said:
    This speaks more to severity of the security issue than Apple's support of old devices.  There are a LOT of security patches that have passed older devices by - even iOS 15 / macOS 12 aren't getting them all anymore.
    Yes, Apple lists them on the website. Because if Apple fixed all of them, they would have to change more of the OS
    rezwitswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,921member
    Unheard of. Awesome.
    rezwitsspock1234pscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    maltz said:
    This speaks more to severity of the security issue than Apple's support of old devices.  There are a LOT of security patches that have passed older devices by - even iOS 15 / macOS 12 aren't getting them all anymore.
    With MacOS, Apple typically continues to release security updates for about 3 years.  I'm sure some of the security updates to the newest OS are because of changes to the OS and may not be issues in the older versions, which would be an explanation as to why those get skipped over.

    Of course, they are also continuing to tighten the rules on security, so the standards get higher with each new OS.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Nothing short of amazing. Bravo Apple my Mother’s iPhone 6 Plus just got the update. Apple just keeps making this old hardware still usable for basic web and FaceBook 9-10 years after launch

    Amazing?  More like pitiful. 

    The Apple //e was in continuous production from 1983 to 1993, was fully supported the whole time.  The Macintosh Plus was in continuous production from 1986 to 1990, and ran current System versions from 0.7 to 7.5.5, 11 years of current software support.  The iPhone 6+ is only 9 years old, and hasn't been able to run the current version of iOS since 2018, it's only gotten security patches.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 10 of 19
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,289member
    darkvader said:
    Nothing short of amazing. Bravo Apple my Mother’s iPhone 6 Plus just got the update. Apple just keeps making this old hardware still usable for basic web and FaceBook 9-10 years after launch

    Amazing?  More like pitiful. 

    The Apple //e was in continuous production from 1983 to 1993, was fully supported the whole time.  The Macintosh Plus was in continuous production from 1986 to 1990, and ran current System versions from 0.7 to 7.5.5, 11 years of current software support.  The iPhone 6+ is only 9 years old, and hasn't been able to run the current version of iOS since 2018, it's only gotten security patches.
    Hi, darkvader.

    You seem to have been asleep for twenty years; this must all be very confusing for you. 

    We're currently in the third decade of the twenty-first century. We have these little things — we call them "phones", but they're really hand-held computers, and most people replace them every two or three years. Yeah, it's a little disconcerting, I know. 

    I'm sure someone will be around presently to help you orientate yourself. 
    edited January 23 rundhvidpscooter63muthuk_vanalingammbenz1962red oakn2itivguygilly33williamlondonwatto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 11 of 19
    darkvader said

    Amazing?  More like pitiful.  
    More like Dumb-Vader, am I right? What’s pitiful is your inability to distinguish between desktop computers with 5-7 yr replacement cycles and iPhones with 2-3 yr replacement cycles. Also pitiful - your desperate attempt to be negative about anything Apple does. 
    muthuk_vanalingammbenz1962gilly33williamlondonwatto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 12 of 19
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,616member
    Let’s not kid ourselves about these releases for older (way older in some cases) iPhones and Macs: they exist because Apple knows exactly how many of them are still being used (too many of them, to be quite frank) and was able to fix some security flaws that threaten the rest of the web as well as endanger the users who keep holding on to unsupported devices.

    Typical iPhones get around five years of active upgrade support, then another 2-3 years of security-only patches, and then finally go obsolete. For a typical iPhone, this means around 7-8 years of routine support. Macs tend to get about the same: five years of latest-OS-version compatibility, followed by three years of security support.

    I’m happy for iPhone 5s users who are now a little safer than the totally-unsafe state they were in yesterday. It doesn’t mean you should be trading in that obsolete phone for a new or at least supported phone model ASAP. Same goes for those 10-year-plus old Macs that are still online — you’re still wearing a huge target on your back.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Works for me. Good to know that my older gear has become more secure.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19
    maltzmaltz Posts: 360member
    spheric said:
    darkvader said:
    Nothing short of amazing. Bravo Apple my Mother’s iPhone 6 Plus just got the update. Apple just keeps making this old hardware still usable for basic web and FaceBook 9-10 years after launch

    Amazing?  More like pitiful. 

    The Apple //e was in continuous production from 1983 to 1993, was fully supported the whole time.  The Macintosh Plus was in continuous production from 1986 to 1990, and ran current System versions from 0.7 to 7.5.5, 11 years of current software support.  The iPhone 6+ is only 9 years old, and hasn't been able to run the current version of iOS since 2018, it's only gotten security patches.
    Hi, darkvader.

    You seem to have been asleep for twenty years; this must all be very confusing for you. 

    We're currently in the third decade of the twenty-first century. We have these little things — we call them "phones", but they're really hand-held computers, and most people replace them every two or three years. Yeah, it's a little disconcerting, I know. 

    I'm sure someone will be around presently to help you orientate yourself. 

    There's no reason to be rude about it.  And he's not wrong, even in the modern world.  How old of a machine can you install the very latest Ubuntu on, for example?  The reduction of support windows isn't new, but it isn't universal, either.

    Yes, there are performance tradeoffs to running new software on old hardware.  But that's not new either - you think a Mac Plus ran System 7 as fast as it did System 3?  Of course not, but where to draw that line was at least the user's choice to make.
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 19
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,742member
    darkvader said:
    Nothing short of amazing. Bravo Apple my Mother’s iPhone 6 Plus just got the update. Apple just keeps making this old hardware still usable for basic web and FaceBook 9-10 years after launch

    Amazing?  More like pitiful. 

    The Apple //e was in continuous production from 1983 to 1993, was fully supported the whole time.  The Macintosh Plus was in continuous production from 1986 to 1990, and ran current System versions from 0.7 to 7.5.5, 11 years of current software support.  The iPhone 6+ is only 9 years old, and hasn't been able to run the current version of iOS since 2018, it's only gotten security patches.
    That's not even close to being a fair comparison. 

    In what country is a company not required to fully support a product that is still in production? And in 1983 (when introduced) the Apple ll e was running Apple DOS 3.3 and in 1993 (when retired) it was still running Apple DOS 3.3. It seems Apple DOS 3.3 was the last version of Apple DOS. Even after 11 years.

    System 7 came out in 1991. Sure System 7 supported a 1986 Mac Plus, but it would cost you about $100 to upgrade. Unless system 7 came pre-installed on your Mac, you had to pay for the upgrade. (There was also a $30 cost to update to System 7.1. ) So why wouldn't Apple try to have their newest OS software, that they were selling, be backward compatible on as many Macs as possible? One also had to pay about $130 to upgrade to System 7.5, even if you were already running System 7.1.

    So a 1990 Mac Plus would have System 6 at the latest. But could run System 7 with a $100 upgrade in 1991 and System 7.5 with another $130 upgrade in 1995. 

    Here, we are commenting about updates and upgrades to older Apple hardware, that Apple is now providing for free.  

    How about this for a more fairer comparison. A 1986 Mac Plus came with System 3 and could be upgraded to System 4, 5, 6, 7 and 7.5. But at a cost. A 2014 iPhone 6 came with iOS 8 and could be upgraded to iOS 9,10,11 and 12, at no cost. That's 6 OS upgrades for the Mac Plus over 11 year and 5 OS upgrades for the iPhone 6 over 5 years.  (One could argue that System 4 and System 5 were relatively minor upgrades, rather full upgrades.) But the average useful life span of a new iPhone for its original owner, is less than 5 years. So the original owner of a new iPhone not only have the latest iOS for every year they own it, but get an upgraded iOS about every year. And even if you are not the original owner, you still get the original iOS and all the updates and upgrades, for free. If you bought a used Mac Plus, without the latest System OS disk, you had to hope you can get a hold of them for free or otherwise pay for it. 
    edited January 24 sphericwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,647member
    This is something that requires a balanced perspective. There are obviously limitations to what Apple can do when it comes to supporting legacy devices while they are trying to make their latest and greatest devices as secure and functional as they possibly can. For those folks who are developing new capabilities and new products, support for legacy products is always a royal pain in the ass because there is usually something that gets in the way because the developers of those older products simply didn’t know what the future held beyond a very limited timeframe. How could they?

    That said, you can’t ignore legacy - at least to the point because it can hold you back and compromise the quality, functionality, and security of your latest and greatest products. Apple has less of a legacy burden than say the Windows or Linux ecosystems because Apple has a more constrained ecosystem to contend with so they can be more precise. Apple’s hardware in particular is tightly constrained, and in most cases, sealed up pretty tight. This helps Apple identify exactly what they can and cannot do. 

    But at the end of the day Apple has to make the hard decisions to leave some older systems behind. They do it every year with their OS upgrades and they do it with the incremental updates as well. Despite this latest round of updates that are aligned with the iOS 16.3 release, many of the features and fixes that are associated with 16.3 aren’t included in the updates made available to older devices identified in this article. The ones that Apple included for legacy devices were put out there are because Apple found a way to make them work. They can’t always do so.

    There are also less obvious exclusions to the support of legacy devices that don’t get a lot of attention. Apple doesn’t hide them, they are in Apple’s support pages, but the tech media may only mention the limitations in passing or not at all. For example, support for Apple’s Advanced Data Protection that rolled out in iOS 16 and support for hardware security keys that showed up in iOS 16.3 are only supported if ALL of your Apple devices, iPhones, iPads, etc., that use your iCloud account and features are at a minimum OS version. This means that even devices that support the installation of iOS 16.3 and Ventura may not be able to utilize all of the new features unless you upgrade, i.e., replace, all of your older devices. Apple mentions the presence of limitations at a very high level on the download page for the OS upgrades.

    It looks like Apple does its best to support as much of its customer base as long as they can. Sometimes they can and sometimes they can’t. But at some point they are going to drop support for something you own because they have to keep moving forward. Don’t take it personally.
    edited January 24 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    spheric said:
    darkvader said:
    Nothing short of amazing.

    Amazing?  More like pitiful. 
    We have these little things — we call them "phones", but they're really hand-held computers, and most people replace them every two or three years. Yeah, it's a little disconcerting, I know.  
    What's truly disconcerting is that we've been convinced that we just have to discard perfectly useful devices every "two or three years" -- and that ending software support is one of the main causes. Maybe your attention spans are too short to remember the reviews when these devices were introduced five to seven years ago. They were described as breathtakingly fast with stunning graphics and remarkable power. They didn't get less powerful over the years; consumers have been trained to be permanently dissatisfied. Nice for my Apple shares; not so great for the resources new devices consume or the waste discarded devices generate (even with recycling programs).
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonmaltz
  • Reply 18 of 19
    davidwdavidw Posts: 1,742member
    cincytee said:
    spheric said:
    darkvader said:
    Nothing short of amazing.

    Amazing?  More like pitiful. 
    We have these little things — we call them "phones", but they're really hand-held computers, and most people replace them every two or three years. Yeah, it's a little disconcerting, I know.  
    What's truly disconcerting is that we've been convinced that we just have to discard perfectly useful devices every "two or three years" -- and that ending software support is one of the main causes. Maybe your attention spans are too short to remember the reviews when these devices were introduced five to seven years ago. They were described as breathtakingly fast with stunning graphics and remarkable power. They didn't get less powerful over the years; consumers have been trained to be permanently dissatisfied. Nice for my Apple shares; not so great for the resources new devices consume or the waste discarded devices generate (even with recycling programs).
    No one is "discarding" their perfectly useful devices every 2 or 3 years. You make it sound like these devices are thrown in the trash bin. What's happening every 2 or 3 years is that there are people that want the features found on newer devices, not because they want to use the newest OS. (I don't know of any 2 to 3 year old smartphone, that can't run the newest OS.) So they usually sell or trade-in their perfectly useful 2-3 year old device while resale value is still high, to help pay for the new one. Or they hand it down to a family member, to replace an even older device. 

    Imagine if everyone used their device until it was no longer useful. How will the consumers that can't afford a new iPhone, ever going to own one? With a 2 or 3 and even 5 year old used iPhone, those consumer might be able to own an iPhone that might be still useful for another 5 years and maybe still run the latest OS for another year or  two. There's a whole economy built around selling used devices, that are still useful. 

    Five to seven years ago, there was no 5G. Mobile providers didn't start implementing 5g networks until 2019. Consumers with 5 year old smartphones will need to buy a new phone in order to use 5G. No software update or being able to run the latest OS is going to make that 5 year old phone work on a 5G network. This is also true with better camera technology, newest Bluetooth, higher resolution screen, bigger screen, fingerprint scanner, more storage, satellite communication and many other features that consumers might want, that are hardware oriented. Even if their 2 to 3 year phone can run the newest OS, it might never have these hardware oriented features. 

    Apple still support an iPhone 6 because the carriers still support an iPhone 6. An iPhone 6 can still be used, as originally purchased when new, even though it's not running the latest iOS. On the other hand, there's no longer a reason for Apple to support the iPhone 5s. Since 2022, mobile carriers no longer activated an iPhone 5s because it doesn't support VoLTE (HD voice). After 7 years (since being retired), a iPhone 5s is no longer useful as a mobile phone, no matter what cutting edge technology Apple said it had 7 years ago. But its iOS 12 is still being updated because it's also the last iOS that the still useful iPhone 6 can use. 
    spheric
  • Reply 19 of 19
    Where are the Amber Alerts, Government, and Weather Alerts tucked away on the OS12.5.7 release on the iPad.  I updated it —- and do not fine them under Settings/Notifications and scrolling to the bottom of the apps.  Thank you in advance. 
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