How to squeeze more life out of your obsolete iPhone or iPad

Is iOS 10 not compatible with your old iPhone or iPad? Want to squeeze a bit more life out of the device before you upgrade?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

iOS 10 signals the end of the line for a number of very popular iOS devices -- specifically, the iPad 2. But if you're not ready to spend the money on an upgraded iPhone or iPad just yet, here's how you can squeeze some extra life from the device.

There are two enemies facing your now obsolete device:

  1. Security vulnerabilities
  2. End to app updates as developers abandon the old operating system

The bottom line is that your system will become insecure as new vulnerabilities go unpatched, and as the months roll on, the system will get more vulnerable until you're skating on thin ice.

So, what can you do?

See also: These iPhones and iPads will all become obsolete on September 13

Well, first off, if you're not running the latest version of iOS 9 -- which is iOS 9.3.5 -- then download and install this now. This was only released three weeks ago and patched a serious vulnerability. Doing this will buy you some time.

While you're at it, make sure your apps are updated. This doesn't do much to protect you against security issues, but at this point, every little bit helps.

The end to iOS updates means that built-in apps such as Safari and Mail will no longer receive updates, and running outdated web browsers and email apps is a bad idea. You might want to start shifting to third-party apps (yes, I know this is a hassle, but this is the work you have to put into keeping your device safe).

Built-in iOS apps you should replace with third-party apps

If your Wi-Fi router has a "guest network" feature, then consider setting this up and only connecting your obsolete device to this, because it will go some way to preventing any security vulnerabilities on your device and from giving hackers access to other devices on your networks (although this is far from perfect and can cause some features -- such as streaming to another device -- to stop working).

Since a common route for vulnerabilities is web browsing, it might also be worthwhile to install a VPN tool (such as Freedome) that offers the ability to filter out harmful websites.

Problem is, none of this beats getting operating system patches, and it's only a matter of time until some show-stopping vulnerability comes along that leave your device wide open. At that point, you're reduced to just hoping you're not hit.

And then you're on your own.

Now, you might think that I'm being alarmist here and point to the many millions of Android users out there who are happily surfing the web and doing their banking from a device that might never have seen an update.

Shouldn't they be taking precautions too?

Well, really, yes. I believe they should, and it's the reason why updates are at the top of my priority list when considering a new Android device.

Remember, I'm not telling you what you should do. Feel free to do whatever takes your fancy. The steps above are what I'd consider the minimum that I would do if I had to run an outdated iOS device.

Am I being overcautious? Maybe. Again, only you really know what your data is worth. You might not care about it (or maybe you only use your device for casual web browsing and such), in which case keep doing what you're doing.

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