Apple Security Warning As iOS 13 Leaves Millions Of iPhones At Risk

Apple CEO Tim Cook Delivers Keynote At Annual Worldwide Developers Conference

Apple’s latest iOS operating system upgrade is now just days away. On September 10, alongside the latest generation of shiny smartphones, comes iOS 13 with its raft of security updates. But it’s not all good news for Apple’s 1 billion+ iPhone users. Because for those still persisting with anything older than an iPhone 6s, the new update will not work. And from a security perspective, that is seriously bad news.

Apple reportedly shipped around 200 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units, for example. And all of those phones will be dumped into OS-limbo come the iOS 13 release. The phones will still work, but security updates will not come through. Essentially, you’re on your own.

There is clearly good reason for such obsolescence. Performance improvements drive the requirement for better hardware. There is only so much of an envelope hardware-wise that can be covered by a single OS instance. And for those older devices, Apple has decided that after five-plus years, enough is enough.

iOS13 is only compatible with the following devices:

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPod touch (7th generation)
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And so if you’re reading this on anything older, on an iPhone 6/6 Plus, or iPhone 5S or the older iPads and iPad Minis, then it’s time to dust the cobwebs from your wallet and head to an Apple Store. That, of course, being the other good reason for obsolescence—the commercials for the Cupertino giant.

Which means leaving those older devices exposed. The recently confirmed Chinese web hack that hit iOS devices until a patch in February, and the even more recent emergency 12.4.1 patch to close a hacking vulnerability go to show how critical such updates are to keep our phones and all our data safe and sound.

Security improvements coming with the new iOS 13 release include better policing of what apps can do in the background—essentially away from our prying eyes, an irritation for the likes of Facebook with its tracking addiction. There will be tighter controls on location tracking, again intended to put users first, and the much discussed “Sign-in With Apple” alternative to providing other credentials to apps and services, reducing the need to provide email addresses to third-parties.

Beyond iOS 13, of course, comes the new iPhone 11 models, rumoured to have triple-cameras, upgraded processors and FaceID systems, but lacking 5G and, most likely, a USB-C port. And that’s the other controversy with the new iPhone release—we already know the 2020 models are a much more punchy upgrade. And at up to $1000 and beyond per device, this could be all the reason we need to wait.

Which means if you do have one of those older models you have a real dilemma on your hands. Upgrade now to this interim step and maybe miss out next year, or take a risk for 12 months. Tough choices. But, realistically, security should come first.