Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Different Software Update Tracks in iOS

Jason Snell, Macworld:

Apple’s been crowing about the pace at which its users install software updates for ages. Rapid uptake of updates is a sign of a healthy ecosystem—and yet, as announced last week, Apple has made a change that threatens to derail the iOS update train. Just as it unveiled all the features that threaten to make iOS 15 a must-have update this fall, Apple also announced that iOS 14 users who aren’t ready to board will have the opportunity to step off and wait it out.

“iOS now offers a choice between two software update versions in the Settings app,” reads a page on the iOS 15 website. “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.”

This is a curious strategy shift. I wonder how long this will persist. Will users get three update options next year: staying on iOS 14, staying on iOS 15, and updating to iOS 16? Apple has been okay about creating out-of-band security patches; how long would it guarantee support for? More to the point, why is it pursuing this strategy instead of pushing users to shift to the latest version? Snell has some thoughts about how that last question might be answered.