Amidst the excitement generated by numerous new iPhone features at the iOS 16 unveiling today, many observers missed one crucial and surprising detail. Namely, the list of iPhone models that would be given access to those features when the software launches this fall.
In a discreet footnote to its iOS 16 press release, Apple said: “New software features will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 8 and later.” If you’re still running an iPhone 7, let alone an iPhone 6s or first-gen iPhone SE, you’re out of luck.
We mention those models specifically because all three are on the supported list for iOS 15. That means the company has withdrawn support from two generations of hardware in one fell swoop. Apple generally cuts a single generation of iPhone for each update, so to squash two years’ worth of iPhones is particularly harsh.
Even iPhone 8 owners can’t rest on their laurels, since a couple of elements of the iOS 16 experience will work on newer handsets only. Apple warns, for example, that the new Live Captions accessibility feature is available on iPhone 11 and later, while Door Detection and People Detection require the LiDAR scanner on the iPhone 12 Pro and later.
Bad news, then, for owners of older handsets. But cheer up: you can always use this as an excuse to buy a new iPhone.