Petition asks Apple to stop “upgrading” old iPhones

Editorial / iOS / Mobile
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“Planned obsolescence” is a phrase that we’re hearing more and more these days. The idea that companies are designing their products to fail at a specific time in order to try and procure more sales is a rather dubious one, and yet the signs can seem pretty obvious at times. SumOfUs is a consumer group whose aim is to stop corporations from behaving badly. They have recently launched a petition to save older iPhones and iPads from the scrap heap. They already have over 150,000 signatures, but it seems that some of their goals may be a bit misguided. Beware, lots of ironically quoted words to follow.

In their petition titled: “Apple: Don’t push iOS ‘upgrades’ which sabotage older iPhones and iPads,” SumOfUs points specifically to the upcoming iOS 10 update as one that will undoubtedly cause a significant number of older devices to stop performing as they should.

iOS 10 will be released in just a few months time. Anyone with a perfectly functional iPhone or iPad bought two years ago would do well to ignore the prompts to “Install Now”. But Apple will be pushing upgrade notices to millions of those customers anyway, because every frustrated user with a sluggish device is another sales prospect.

The iPhone 7 is also expected in September — but tech journalists are already hyping up the iPhone they expect after that one. It’s bananas!

The bolded items are taken directly from their petition page. And while we here at Techaeris HAVE published some rumors about the upcoming iPhone 7, I don’t recall seeing anything anywhere about any subsequent iPhones, but maybe I haven’t been looking in the right spots. Their random use of quotes on the word “upgrades” throughout the petition strikes me as odd too. Now, I am an Android user and have no immediate plans of changing that, but credit where credit is due: Apple does a pretty incredible job of tailoring their updates to include older devices. They tend to support iPhones and iPads far longer than most Android OEMs by a fairly wide margin.

With that said, as new software is made available, older devices will sometimes be left behind.

Everybody would love for their favorite devices to last forever, but at the same time, technology marches ever onward. While we can look back at past tech with rose colored glasses at times, in nearly every instance, newer technology is better — smaller, faster, more energy efficient, the list goes on and on. You’re certainly welcome to resist progress, but…


Cell phone technology, as well as the software and apps that run on those cell phones, has exploded recently. Don’t forget, it hasn’t even been a decade since the first iPhone was released. We are doing things with our phones today that were just dreams and science fiction a mere ten years ago. None of us absolutely need the newest tech that’s out there, but it is absolutely appealing to have the latest and greatest for a lot of people.

Where SumOfUs decries the electronic waste created when people ditch their old devices, that really only applies if the old device just sits somewhere collecting dust — or worse, is disposed of improperly. All of the major US cell phone carriers have some variety of cell phone recycling program. Whether the old device is resold as a used device, or recycled for parts — either of those options are better than a phone sitting in a landfill. That responsibility falls to the consumer though, not Apple.

To get back to the petition itself. Could Apple do a better job of rolling out updates to older devices? Maybe… Could they restrict portions of updates on older devices that might not be able to support them? Sure… But businesses are in business in order to make money, thereby creating more business.  Some do think that companies such as Apple have a bit too much power in their respective fields, but they’ve been able to reach those heights of power by selling products that people want to buy.

Some may roll eyes at what appear to be relatively minor upgrades in hardware from year to year, but the sales numbers speak for themselves: iPhones are incredibly popular. I know plenty of people — and not just the super-techie types of people — that line up every year for their new iPhone, or at most every other year when their cell phone contract allows for an upgrade.

Apparently more people are worried about this than you might think, since over 150,000 people have signed this petition. Are you concerned about these “upgrades” slowing your phone? Does anybody really hold onto a cell phone for much more than two years anymore? Tell us what you think in the comment section below, or tag us on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

  Source: SumOfUs
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