Apple has tied security updates for iOS and iPadOS to software upgrade. Which means, iPhone and iPad users don’t get to choose staying in older iOS or iPadOS and still get security updates.
But, Apple is about to change the above narrative by allowing iPhone and iPad users to get security updates with or without software upgrade. This is made possible with the launch of iOS15 and iPadOS 15.
With the new iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, users can decide to stay in iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 and still get security updates.
Below is the relevant bit from the iOS 15 page:
iOS now offers a choice between two software update versions in the Settings app. You can update to the latest version of iOS 15 as soon as it’s released for the latest features and most complete set of security updates. Or continue on iOS 14 and still get important security updates until you’re ready to upgrade to the next major version.
The iPadOS 15 preview page contains similar text as the iOS 15 above.
But there are few questions regarding this up coming change.
For instance, will the opt-out feature be hidden deep in the settings where only few users knows about it? Or will users get to simply choose if they’ll install the latest iOS or not?
Should user decide to stay with iOS 14, how long will Apple continue to provider security updates for such user? Will the security updates be for the duration of the iOS 15 lifecycle (after which the user must choose to move to iOS 15 or iOS 16), or will the security updates for iOS 14 be for limited time.
What if users have upgraded to iOS 15, will they be able to roll back to iOS 14? Currently, due to security reasons, Apple does not allow rolling back to previous iOS.
Giving iPhone and iPad users the ability to choose which iOS and iPadOS version to keep is a nice move by Apple. This means regardless of the iOS or iPadOS users choose, they’ll still be getting security updates.
And for users with older iPhones or iPads, the hardware might not fully be compatible with the weight of iOS 15 or 16. This might result to performance issues. So, having this option to choose and also getting security updates is a really good one from Apple.
But, it seems that Apple Watch users must upgrade to the new WatchOS 8 to get security updates. Unlike the iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 preview page, there is no mention of staying in WatchOS 7 anywhere in the preview page of WatchOS 8 published by Apple.