Remember when Apple promised security updates to those who wanted to stick on iOS 14 rather than upgrade to iOS 15?
Here's that promise on Apple's support page:
If you're using iOS or iPadOS 14.5 or later, you might now see the option to choose between two software update versions. This option allows you to choose between updating to the latest version of iOS or iPadOS 15 as soon as it's released, or continuing on iOS or iPadOS 14 while still getting important security updates for a period of time.
Note that "for a period of time."
Over on the iOS 15 features page, Apple still claims that users can "continue on iOS 14 and still get important security updates."
Well, ZDNet can confirm that that "period of time" has come to an end.
To be honest, I'd expected Apple to offer iOS 14 updates for a year, but I also realized that by offering to allow people to stick on an older version, the company was setting up users to expect this. Would Apple offer a year's support for the older version of iOS? Was it time-limited? Or was it going to allow users to stay on iOS 14 indefinitely?
It seems it was more a stop-gap to allow users time to update to iOS 15.
iOS 15 was released September 2021, so it's been out for four months.
This makes that "period of time" feel more like a "short period of time."
So, what's behind this sudden cutting demise of iOS 14 updates?
iOS 15 can run in all hardware that can run iOS 14, so Apple wasn't cutting off any hardware from updates. Anyone running iOS 14 could run iOS 15.
Apple has the data on both how many people are still on iOS 14, and currently, that stands at 26 percent when looking at devices introduced in the last four years, and 30 percent for all iOS devices.
That's a lot of devices that that Apple is leaving out in the cold, without security updates, which isn't good.
At this point, I'm unclear if Apple has communicated to iOS 14 users that there are no more updates coming for them. After making a deal of continuing to support iOS 14, I think it's only far the company officially announced that that support is over.
I think that it's fine for Apple to set its own timescales for updates but keeping them opaque is not useful.
Apple has a much clearer update timeline for macOS (roughly the last two versions see updates), and perhaps it's time for Apple to make the iOS update timeline clearer.
My advice to anyone on iOS 14 is to make tracks to update to iOS 15. Security bugs will pile up rapidly from this point, and that's not really what you want to happen to a device that holds as much sensitive information as a smartphone does.
Using iOS 14 to diagnose battery drain