Apple expects your iPhone and Apple Watch to last for three years, your Mac for four

“Apple has announced that it expects your £500 iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches to last only three years and Mac computers only four,” Samuel Gibbs reports for The Guardian.

“As part of the company’s new environmental push, which includes its new Apps for Earth campaign with the WWF, Apple has listed how long it expects its products to last for their ‘first owners’ and therefore how much they contribute to the greenhouse gas lifecycle,” Gibbs reports. “Within a new question and answer section Apple said: ‘Years of use, which are based on first owners, are assumed to be four years for OS X and tvOS devices and three years for iOS and watchOS devices.'”

“Until recently the company only provided software support for an iPhone or iPad for around three years, typically providing two major iOS version updates from the moment they were released. The launch of iOS 8 and then iOS 9, which still supports the iPhone 4S released in October 2011, changed that,” Gibbs reports. “Mac computers, however, have much longer software support lives. The latest version of Apple’s computer software OS X 10.11 El Capitan still supports computers from 2007, despite Apple expecting Mac computers to last four years.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The longest period during which we’ve used an iPhone? About a year. But, we still have our original iPhones from June 29, 2007 and they still work. We also have an iPad 2, purchased on March 11, 2011, still used daily by a family member! The longest for a Mac? One of our Macs still in daily use is an iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011). That might be one of the, if not the, longest. Also, we still have a Mac 128K, released January 24, 1984, and – we just checked – it still boots up and works just fine, over 32 years later!

How ’bout you?

44 Comments

  1. My iPad 3 is 4 years old and running fine. Prior to her getting a 12.9″ iPad Pro, Mrs. Ziffel used her iPad 2, which is now 5 years old. I’m typing this on a 2007 Mac Pro, which is still cranking away.

    1. I recently handed-down my iPad 3 when I got an iPad Pro (the big one). In my experience, the iPad 3 had become dog-slow on iOS 9 and I couldn’t take it anymore.

    2. Typing this on my iPad 1 64GB Wi-Fi+3G iOS 5.1, still working fine and still can do all things except video shooting (because it has no camera).

      My iMac 20″ mid 2007 2.4 GHz 4GB RAM running on OS X El Capitan runs fantastic!

      My MacBook 13″ mid 2009 8GB RAM (yep, 8) still on OS X Mountain Lion running fine, soon to be moved to El Capitan.

      So, 4 year expectation is short; I think Apple should target at least 6 or 8 years for a Mac computer.

  2. What is this non-sense deduction

    I have a original Mac 128k. I still have my LCIII and my performa 575. They all still work as intended. My 575 is hook up with a daily fax routine for an old fashion client.

    My unibody first gen run IE Captain… My iPod classic does a daily job in my car. Apple product just last. Period.

    1. It says “first owners.” This is not something they made up or guessed at, they know that it’s common for a device to be frequently passed along at that stage in its life. It doesn’t mean they think it will stop functioning. In what way are they “putting that aside” ?

      1. Not to mention this 3 and 4 year figure was part of a life-cycle calculation for carbon emissions. I commend Apple for not trying to fudge the numbers by claiming a longer life cycle. Of course most Apple devices last more than 4 years, but to claim less they are actually being liberal in their carbon emissions estimate.

        BTW, I have a 2006 iMac in daily use (unfortunately stuck on Tiger – yes Leopard is better, but it does not have iCloud for iPhoto), my phone and my wife’s are 4S’s which we use constantly, we have an iPad 2 in the family, plus an old cracked 3GS that the kids play with – still works – stuck on iOS 6. Apple kit lasts a long time!

        I do hope that Apple would make a policy of supporting 10 yrs old hardware with their OS’s, just stripped down installations for less capable devices. If they did, they could capitalize on the used device market. Old cars are able to drive current roads. Old Apple devices should be able to drive current OS’s at least for 10 yrs. This would allow Apple to penetrate the market of cheap devices.

    2. They are not “putting that aside in the interest of sales,” coolfactor. Apple is recognizing reality. What they are recognizing is the first owner longevity, not the end-of-utility of the device itself. What they are looking at is when will the first owner pass the device on to the second owner and replace it with another. Some of those devices WILL wind up in landfills because of the profligate nature of the people who own them. Others will thriftily handed down to family members, sold to people who cannot afford a new Mac/iPad/iPhone, etc., or kept as a secondary device by the same owner while a new device is bought for primary use.

      Apple is using this figure to begin figuring out the replacement cycle.

  3. I’m still perfectly happy with my 2009 27″ Mac. The Retina 15″ MacBook Pro, Retina iPad mini 2 and iPhone 5s are also going strong and within Apple’s first user age guidelines. All are in indespensible daily use. Obviously my watch is newer and on my wrist 16 hours of every day.

  4. > … despite Apple expecting Mac computers to last four years.

    Apple does NOT expect Macs to only last four years. That’s how long Apple expects a (typical) ORIGINAL OWNER to keep it. Macs remain very useful and useable for a LONG time. My primary Mac is already older than four years (by design). It’s a 2011 Mac mini (purchased as an Apple-certified refurb in late 2013). I gave it a DIY Fusion Drive. It just purrs happily along… 🙂

  5. I just retired my iBook (pre-Intel, very early OS X) about a year ago.

    I just threw away my iPhone 3G more recently than that, and only because it was swelling and I feared a battery explosion. It was still a great iPod and streaming Jazz Radio player.

    With that all said, my current iPhone (5S) is ready to be replaced. The lightning connector isn’t as dependable as it once was – I can’t depend on it to play audio to my car through it, and I have to place it just so in order to charge at night. Seems a problem that shouldn’t exist on a phone not quite 2 years old, but there it is.

    1. You should check to see if there is lint in the lightning port. It’s a fairly common occurrence, especially if you keep it in your pocket. You can use a toothpick or a paper clip (though that’s not as ideal since it’s metal) to clean out the port, just being careful to avoid the contact pins in the port.

    2. I’ll second that. Especially guys since they tend to carry it in their pocket. Ever pull that pocket inside out? You’d be amazed how much tiny crap there is.
      I now make sure to do that to all the pants pockets every once in a while.
      I have fixed two iPhones for others based on pocket lint.

  6. These articles are extremely misleading – especially the headlines. Why? Because Apple DID NOT state the lifetime of the device, but rather the expected time with the FIRST OWNER. Vastly different. Yet almost every page-view-grabbing or anti-Apple writer writes an article that misleads, and a headline that is ever worse. Macdailynews FAILS in its summery to highlight the discrepency – which I believe should be the lead in to the rest.

  7. My 128K Mac still works and I have the original iPad that still is going strong. My iPhone 3S and 4S and 5S still all work and the 5S is used every day while the 4S is used as a music server at home. My original Mac Mini is still going strong but Safari is long in the tooth. My iPhone 6+ is perfect and my Apple Watch sport is wonderful.

  8. Seriously? I have 11 mid-2010 iMacs over at the local community centre—six 21.5″ and five 27″ models—and they’re still going strong and running El Cap like a charm.

    =:~)

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