It appears that iOS updates no longer run on the original iPhone. Apple eventually deprecates products from its iOS update cycle.

I wonder if there is a pattern to this. Has anyone worked this out and made a prediction about Apple deprecating support for old products.

My question is: When will the iPad 4th Gen stop getting iOS updates?

1 Answer 1


Warning: conjecture ahead!

It's impossible to predict with certainty - but it helps to think about what is politically expedient for Apple, what is technically feasible (due to device specs), and by looking at past trends.

Importantly: Apple has no stated-policy, but iOS updates seem to always be available for at least 2 years after a product was discontinued (excepting the original iPad)

Product    Launched    Discontinued     Last iOS Update Date   RAM
iPad 1     2010-04     2011-03 (1yr)    2012-05 (iOS 5.1.1)     256
iPad 2     2011-03     2014-03 (3yrs)   Current                 512
iPad 3     2012-03     2012-10 (7mo)    Current                1024
iPad 4     2012-11     2014-10 (2yrs)   Current                1024
iPad A1    2013-11     Current          Current                1024
iPad A2    2014-10     Current          Current                2048

iPad 2 was sold from 2011 until March 2014 - a long time - cynically, because it represented an 'entry-level' value-proposition from Apple with what I believe was a good profit margin compared to the relatively far more expensive retina iPads - so it wasn't much of a surprise to see the iPad 2 out-last the iPad 3 in 2012 and almost the iPad 4 (which was sold until October 2014).

I think iOS 9 will be the last iOS update for the iPad 2 - look at that 512MB RAM figure, that was probably the reason the iPad 1 with its tiny 256MB RAM wasn't given the iOS 6 update. 1024MB RAM gives more breathing room - while the iPad 3 is older than the iPad 4, they are very similar internally (the major change in the iPad 4 was the Lightning connector) - so I expect them both to stop receiving iOS updates on the same date.

I think the iPad Air 2 is the new iPad 2 and will serve as Apple's new 'entry level' tablet so it will have a longer market lifespan and will probably be discontinued after it's at least 3 years old and receive updates for at least 2 years after then (though I'm surprised the iPad Air 1 is still in production given the iPad Pro 10" is now available).

My predictions:

Model     Discontinued   Last iOS Update
iPad 2    2014-03        iOS 9 (2016)
iPad 3    2012-10        iOS 10 (2017)
iPad 4    2014-10        iOS 10 (2017)
iPad A1   2016-10        iOS 11 (2018)
iPad A2   2017-10        iOS 12 (2019)

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