What happens if you don’t update your iOS?

iOS is the operating system that runs on iPhones, providing the interface and functionality that users rely on. Apple periodically releases major iOS updates that introduce new features, enhance performance, fix bugs, and improve security. While some iOS updates are minor, others bring more significant changes. Updating to the latest iOS version ensures your iPhone stays current. But what exactly happens if you don’t keep your iPhone up to date with the latest iOS version? There are some important drawbacks to falling behind on iOS updates that impact your iPhone’s functionality and security.

In this article, we’ll explore the key disadvantages you may experience if you don’t regularly update your iPhone’s iOS version.

Missing New Features

Not updating to the latest version of iOS means missing out on all the new features Apple adds with each release. For example, iOS 17 brings over 20 new emoji like shaking face, pushing hand, pink heart, goose, pea pod, and more that users stuck on older iOS versions won’t see (https://www.apple.com/ios/ios-17/). iOS 17 also introduces major improvements to Siri with natural voice recognition and the ability to run shortcuts entirely using just your voice. Additionally, the updated Photos app gains powerful new editing tools like segmentations masks, copy and paste photo edits, and more advanced autocolorization of old photos.

There are also always new features for Messages in each iOS like emoji reactions, undo send, and improved voice messages that won’t be available without updating. Apple Pay gains new functionality to track orders, Apple Maps adds multi-stop routing and transit fare cards, and the Weather app expands to show air quality. Not updating blocks access to all these helpful new capabilities. Overall, skipping too many iOS updates means missing out on hundreds of great new features that Apple works hard to deliver to iPhone users every year.

Security Risks

Not updating iOS means missing out on important security patches that fix vulnerabilities in the operating system. As reported, outdated iOS devices pose a significant risk as they can easily be compromised by hackers exploiting known flaws that have already been addressed in later iOS versions.

For example, iOS 17.1 patches three major security issues according to this source. By not updating, users remain susceptible to attackers taking advantage of these vulnerabilities that Apple has already fixed.

In general, as iOS devices age without being updated, they inherently become less secure. Major security improvements and bug fixes are included with each new iOS version. Without installing available updates, users face growing threats from potential cyberattacks, data breaches, malware infections and other exploits targeting known unpatched weaknesses.

App Compatibility Issues

One major downside to not updating your iOS is that many new apps require the latest operating system to run properly. As developers release apps optimized for the newest iOS versions, they often drop support for older iOS versions. This means that by sticking with an outdated iOS, you’ll be locked out of downloading or using the latest and most popular apps.

For example, starting in 2023, Apple will require that all new app submissions to the App Store must support iOS 14.1 or later. This means any apps made for iOS 15 or 16 simply won’t be available for download on older iOS versions like iOS 12 or 13.

Additionally, many existing apps stop working correctly or lose features in older iOS versions. Developers focus efforts on supporting the most recent iOS, allowing bugs and issues to build up in older iOS versions. You may find apps crashing frequently, features not working, or strange errors when using outdated operating systems.

In summary, not updating iOS can quickly leave you unable to download or properly use many of the latest and most popular apps. Sticking with an outdated operating system significantly limits app functionality and access.

Can’t Install New Apps

One major downside of not updating iOS is that users will be blocked from downloading new apps that require higher iOS versions than they have installed. App developers frequently update their apps to require the latest iOS versions in order to take advantage of new features and security updates. When users don’t keep their iOS version up to date, they’ll see error messages like “This application requires iOS 15.0 or later” when trying to download the latest app updates or new apps.


Some major apps that require users to have the latest iOS versions installed include popular social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. For example, the current version of TikTok requires iOS 14.3 or later. Photography apps like Lightroom also often require users to have the latest iOS. Not being able to download the latest versions of essential and popular apps like these can be incredibly frustrating for users who don’t keep their operating systems up to date.

Slower Performance

Not updating to the latest iOS optimizations can degrade device speed over time as apps demand more power. According to discussions on Apple’s support forums, users have reported slowdowns after skipping iOS updates on older iPhones [1]. This is because each new iOS update contains performance improvements tailored for the latest apps and hardware capabilities. As apps evolve to leverage new APIs and features not available in older iOS versions, they may not run as smoothly on outdated operating systems.

There are various factors that contribute to slower performance when using an outdated iOS. Firstly, Apple makes low-level enhancements to improve system efficiency and responsiveness with each update [2]. Skipping iOS updates prevents your device from benefitting from these latest optimizations. Secondly, new iOS versions better manage background activities, memory, battery usage, and other resources for peak app performance [3]. An outdated OS lacks these refinements. Finally, developers add iOS version checks to disable features that may slow down older iPhones. This means skipping iOS updates can result in a worse experience.

In summary, not upgrading to the latest iOS can significantly degrade performance over time as apps demand more power and operating systems are not optimized to keep pace. To prevent slowdowns, it is recommended to always install the latest iOS updates as soon as possible.

No Technical Support

Apple provides limited technical support for iPhones and iPads running extremely outdated versions of iOS. According to Apple’s support policy, devices running iOS versions older than the current release minus two major versions will no longer be eligible for hardware service. Additionally, users will not have access to Apple technical support via phone, chat, email, or online user forums for these outdated iOS versions [1].

For example, when iOS 16 was the current release, devices on iOS 13 or earlier were considered vintage and obsolete by Apple. This means iOS 13 and older versions did not receive any technical support from Apple. Currently, with iOS 17 as the latest version, iOS 15 and earlier versions are not supported.

Without technical support, users with older iOS versions will not be able to get help from Apple for any issues, bugs, or other problems they encounter. They will need to try to find solutions on their own or consider upgrading to a newer iOS version that is still supported.

Shorter Battery Life

New iOS updates often include optimizations and improvements to battery performance. By not updating, users miss out on Apple’s latest advancements in power efficiency and battery life. For example, iOS 13 introduced a new low power mode to squeeze additional battery life from iPhones. The iPhone 12 brought hardware-level optimizations that improved battery lifespan by an extra hour. And the latest iOS 16 added battery percentage to the status bar, enabling closer monitoring of battery consumption. With every update, Apple aims to extend battery life through software and hardware enhancements. Staying on older iOS means missing those continued battery gains over time. Battery life is a top priority for Apple and users, so skipping iOS updates equates to shorter battery life.

According to Apple, there are two simple ways to preserve battery life that apply to any iOS version – adjusting screen brightness and using Wi-Fi instead of cellular data. Dimming the screen and only using connectivity modes when needed are common sense battery tips. But smartphones have evolved to be extremely power efficient, and Apple’s constant iOS improvements are key to achieving longer battery life.

Resale Value Impact

Staying on an older iOS version can significantly reduce the resale value of your iPhone or other Apple device. According to Apple, devices eligible for the latest iOS release retain the highest trade-in value. As soon as a new iOS version comes out that your device can’t support, its resale value drops.

For example, an iPhone 11 Pro Max on iOS 13 may be worth $500+ on the used market. But once iOS 14 comes out, if that iPhone 11 Pro Max can’t be updated to iOS 14, its value could drop to $300 or less overnight. Sites like BankMyCell show significant drops in resale value for iPhones that can’t get the latest iOS.

The reason is that most buyers want a device with the newest features and security updates. Being stuck on an old iOS version makes a device feel outdated and limited compared to what’s currently available. This greatly reduces demand and therefore resale value. Regularly updating to the latest iOS is key to maintaining the highest resale value over time.


In summary, there are numerous downsides to not updating your iOS regularly. You’ll miss out on the latest features and enhancements that Apple releases in each version. This can mean your device feels outdated compared to what’s available on newer iPhones. There are also serious security vulnerabilities that get patched in updates. Refusing to update leaves you exposed to potential hackers or malware. App developers optimize their apps for the newest iOS, so many apps may start to have compatibility issues or stop working completely if you fall too far behind.

You also won’t be able to install new apps that require a more recent iOS version to run. Your iPhone’s performance will gradually get slower as the hardware outpaces the outdated operating system. You lose access to complimentary technical support from Apple when you’re severely behind on iOS versions. Battery life is impacted as well since the newer updates contain optimizations. And if you ever want to resell your iPhone, buyers greatly prefer a device that’s up-to-date.

For all these reasons, it’s critical to stay current with iOS updates. The few minutes it takes to download and install a new version is worth it to maintain the security, compatibility, speed, and value of your iPhone.