Amid the excitement generated by numerous new iPhone features at the unveiling of iOS 16 today, many observers missed a crucial and surprising detail. Namely, the list of iPhone models that would gain access to those features when the software launches this fall.
In a discreet footnote to the 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 using an iPhone 7, let alone an iPhone 6s or the first-generation iPhone SE, you’re out of luck.
We specifically mention those models because all three are on the supported list for iOS 15. That means the company has withdrawn support for two generations of hardware in one fell swoop. Apple generally cuts off a single generation of iPhone for every update, so crushing two years’ worth of iPhones is particularly tough.
Even iPhone 8 owners can’t rest on their laurels, as some elements of the iOS 16 experience only work on newer handsets. For example, Apple warns that the new Live Captions accessibility feature is available on iPhone 11 and newer, while Door Detection and People Detection requires the LiDAR scanner on iPhone 12 Pro and newer.
Bad news for owners of older handsets. But cheers: you can always use this as an excuse to buy a new iPhone.