What’s the most expensive iPhone you ever bought?
If you plan to purchase the latest one with all the fancy cameras and the 500+ GB of storage, you’re looking at a price tag of $1,450 for the new iPhone 11 Pro Max.
That number might make you want to stick to your old iPhone.
Even though buying the latest iPhone is trendy, many consumers struggle to justify the cost with the benefits. It’s a nice phone, but how many years can it actually hold up?
Or, if you want to cling to the iPhone you already have, how long does an iPhone last when you’ve had it for a while?
Whichever iPhone you’re looking to buy or hold onto, here are some factors that’ll help you understand how long your iPhone will actually last.
1. Active Users and iPhone Lifespan
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, reported that there were 1.3 billion active devices in 2018.
In the fourth quarter investor conference call, Cook reported that this number was the most important metric of Apple’s business stability.
Understanding how many Apple devices are currently active is the most direct answer to how long consumers have used those devices.
In 2019, those 1.3 billion active devices rose to 1.4 billion. Of these active devices, 900 million are iPhones. This number has only grown because in 2020, there are currently 1.5 billion active users.
Since 70% of the iPhones included in this number run on iOS 13, many of them could be as old as the 2015 iPhone 6s. This is the oldest phone that is compatible with the iOS 13 software.
So, looking at these numbers, is it even possible for the 2015 iPhone 6s to last 5 years?
2. So, How Long Does an iPhone Last?
Apple uses lifespan assessment models to determine the service life of their products. The “years of use” that determine service life vary depending on the product.
Apple states that three years is the standard period of time that constitutes “years of use” for iOS models, such as iPhones.
OS devices such as Macbooks, on the other hand, serve an expected four years.
Remember, these are only model-based assessments. While they attempt to simulate real customer use, results can vary depending on your personal use.
In fact, Apple asserts that most of their products last longer than these expected service lifespans since they’re primarily used as models.
So could your iPhone actually last 5 years?
The short answer is yes, but it depends.
3. What Trade-Ins Tell You About iPhone Lifespan
When you look at the mobile phone trade-in industry, customers exchanged older phones for newer ones after just a few years of use.
In 2017, the average age of a traded-in device was a little over 2.5 years. Then, in 2018, that number climbed to 2.8 years.
So you could say that most iPhones last at least 2 years, but start to decline towards the end of those two years.
As of 2018, iPhones are still the most traded mobile devices. While the top five traded devices have all been various iPhone generations, the iPhone 6 ad 6s, have topped the list.
Since their 2014 and 2015 market debut, the iPhone 6 and 6s series are the oldest iPhones with the most trade-in activity.
4. iPhone Performance Decline
Apple’s market cycle introduces new devices more frequently than consumers upgrade to a new Apple device.
This means that although it’s trendy to sport the latest iPhone, Apple consistently refreshes its market to compensate for the demand.
But here are the telltale signs of performance decline that are commonly seen in iPhones.
Declining battery is one of the most common iPhone problems that users experience. After all, if you can’t carry your iPhone around without worrying if it will die in the next couple hours, it’s not exactly a mobile phone anymore.
Battery life is determined by the operating system efficiency, the chip’s competence, and the actual battery hardware installed within the phone.
Apple newly introduced a new battery life reporting model that uses video playback to measure the charged lifespan.
The iPhone 6s is one of the older models used for this reporting and shows 11 hours of video playback. Note that this is internally stored content, not streamed content from the internet, which significantly consumes more battery.
Apple battery is designed to retain up to 80 percent of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles.
You’re probably not counting your charging cycles up to 500, but once you’ve had your iPhone for about a year, it’s more than possible that you’re starting to lose charging capacity.
This is why frequent charging slowly contributes to the decline of your iPhone.
Many iPhone consumers use Apple’s iCloud services to back up phone data to a cloud and open up more space on the phone.
If most of your storage is mostly composed of apps or operating system updates with data that doesn’t transfer to the cloud, and you still don’t have space, then you’ve probably maxed out your storage space.
The solution is often to get the newest iPhone, which Apple almost always packs with increased memory capabilities.
Lack of storage is an indication that you need to upgrade. If you can’t install the latest iOS update, then you probably don’t even have 1-2 GBs of space left.
Operating system updates are meant to be small but if you have limited space, they can seem large.
Sometimes these updates are required for basic functions like using certain apps or iCloud services. If you’re unable to install OS updates, you may not have access to some basic features on your phone that you could access before.
Sometimes phones automatically shutdown without even prompting it with the off/on button. If your battery life and your phone’s hardware is decent, you may be wondering why spontaneous shutdowns happen at all.
In 2017, Apple asserted that random shutdowns were still somewhat tied to battery-related issues. Even if your older iPhone still takes a decent charge, the battery itself is not sophisticated enough to operate with the efficiency that matches the software.
This means that while software updates are intended to improve the operating system, new software strains older batteries. To preserve its electronic components and keep from catching fire, the phone may shut down altogether.
How Long Does an iPhone Last? Can You Get More Service Life?
If you’re still asking how long does an iPhone last, the answer may be a little more complicated than you thought.
iPhones are built to last, but like any piece of technological hardware, they can deteriorate and face performance decline.
However, sometimes they just need a bit of maintenance to get them up and running again, and we can help with that.
Whether you need internal, hardware, or battery repair, we can help you get more service life out of your iPhone.
To get started, choose your iPhone generation and find one of our service locations in your area!