Specifically, if an iPhone can no longer run the latest version of Apple's iOS operating system, it will miss out on many critical security updates. Vulnerabilities that aren't fixed can put you at risk. Apple usually releases major iOS updates for iPhones up to five years old. Compatibility with any older device is removed, and iOS 17 is no different.
Apple stopped providing feature updates for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 series with the release of iOS 16 last year. While it's just an estimate, Apple currently offers iPhone models for about seven years, so this should give you an idea of how long the replacement will last (assuming the hardware holds up). Although older iPhones don't support the latest version of iOS or include any of the new features, they should continue to work for a while. Statista (a provider of market and consumer data) publishes a graph showing how long Apple is compatible with older iPhones.
Another important tip that every iPhone user should follow, regardless of whether they have iOS 17 or not, is to clean your iPhone's storage and cache, especially before it accumulates and makes it difficult to organize. This suggests that while the iPhone 6s may receive software support for a while, it may not be possible to repair it if it breaks. If your iPhone isn't listed above, it won't be compatible with iOS 17 and you won't receive a notification to download the latest software. The only real option that allows you to use the latest version of iOS is to buy a new or used iPhone that's still getting support.
Apple will support iPhones (and all the devices it makes) for seven years starting from the last time it sold that particular model. There's no way to get the full iOS 17 experience without using an iOS 17 compatible device, so buying a newer iPhone is your best bet. However, what if your iPhone isn't compatible with iOS 17? Here, we'll explore alternative options for those who can't update their devices to iOS 17, from third-party apps and tips to improve efficiency to updating their device. Despite all the useful apps and tips to increase performance, your iPhone may still seem slow and outdated, and that's a sure sign that it's time to update your iPhone.
If that's you, you won't be able to try out the new features in iOS 17 unless you buy a compatible iPhone.