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iOS updates: do we really need them?

If you’re an iPhone user, you’re probably used to Apple sending you notifications about updating to the latest iOS. But do you have to update your iPhone, and what happens if you don’t? We’re taking a look at the iOS updates, and giving you our verdict.

What are iOS updates?

iOS stands for iPhone Operating System, and a laptop, smartphone or tablet that runs iOS is called an iOS device. It’s essentially the software working at the core of your device which enables you to use apps, make calls, send messages; everything you do on your computer or mobile device is made possible through iOS. 

All of Apple’s products are released with the latest compatible iOS for that device. That means, if you purchase an iPhone that has just been released, you’ll receive the latest iOS pre-installed in your phone. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to use the iPhone at all. 

The iOS updates keep your operating system up to date. That means if you buy an iPhone, but after 6 months a new iOS update is released, you can install that update free of charge. These updates can include a range of additions such as design changes, new features, compatibility for new tech, and security. 

But my device works fine, it doesn’t need an update!

One of the most common reasons individuals choose not to update their devices is because they aren’t encountering any issues. And if there aren’t any issues, why would they choose to change their operating system?

However, a lot of the updates that Apple releases don’t focus on changing things that you can see or interact with. Although they’ll often add some new emojis, change the user interface or layout, or add features that you didn’t have before, an important aspect of the updates are fixes and additions to security.

Although you might not notice these changes from one update to the next, they are vital in keeping your device safe from malware, viruses and bugs. Updating your iPhone or Mac is a really easy way you can protect yourself and your data.

Are there any reasons not to update?

There are a couple of good reasons you might choose not to update your iPhone. One thing to think about is the age of your device. iOS updates are designed for the most recent Apple products; the latest iPhone and Mac, for example. If your device is an older model, it might not be eligible for the update because the device physically can’t run the software inside.

It might be that even if your device can manage the update, it has some adverse effects on your device. You might notice the battery draining faster, or your device running slower than it did before. Luckily, there are lots of guides online for how to downgrade to an older iOS if you find that the update doesn’t work for you. Just make sure you’ve backed up your data beforehand.

You might also choose not to update right away because there can be issues in new updates for iOS. Bugs that the developers didn’t expect and glitches with different apps can be prevalent, particularly for a big update like iOS 14. For this reason, you might choose to wait for a later update like iOS 14.1 or 14.2.

So, should I update my iPhone?

Ultimately, the security benefits for iPhone and Mac users are really important for protecting your devices, and as such we’d always recommend downloading the latest updates when they are available. But remember, you can always back up your data beforehand, and then you have the ability to downgrade to an earlier iOS if you change your mind.

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