Every new operating system has minimum requirements for installation. iOS 13 requires an iPhone 6S or later.
As operating systems advance, older devices become incapable of running their binaries. This is more true today, as processors rely more on “system on chip” (SoC) architectures, where algorithms exist on the processor itself. Features such as artificial intelligence and digital signal processing (codecs for media compression) are usually implemented in hardware. This speeds up execution time, as specialized functionality runs directly on the processor, freeing up the core processor for other tasks.
Apple’s A-series processors evolve over time, offering greater processing speed and larger cache sizes. A processor’s cache is a small storage space for data used in immediate processing. Beyond the chip, modern iPhones have more random access memory (RAM) than older models. The iPhone XS Max has 4GB of RAM, whereas the original iPhone only had 128MB. The newest iPhone has 32 times as much memory as the original device.
Storage space is also important when it comes to operating system minimum requirements. Older iPhones could have as little as 4 GB of solid state storage. The newest iPhone has a minimum of 64 GB of storage. As iOS evolves, it takes up more space on your iPhone.
Cameras are critical features of all smartphones, and are often the deciding factor for consumers. Social media peer pressure necessitates high quality photography for those who fear not fitting in. At some point, iOS can no longer support older cameras with poor resolution.
For these reasons, Apple cannot release operating systems that work with outdated devices. It would simply bloat the operating system with backward-compatible code.
iOS 13 will not run on an iPhone 6. The new operating system requires an iPhone 6S or newer.
Some consumers may be outraged by the cutoff, however, the iPhone 6 is five years old. Most competing smartphone operating systems only offer updates for 18 to 24 months. Apple’s planned obsolescence is fair and necessary when compared to industry standards.
For those with older iPhones, your device will still function, however, it will no longer receive iOS updates. Unlike the Mac, Apple doesn’t even offer security patches for older iPhone models. Older iPhone models will still work, and may provide all of the functionality a user desires. Eventually, users will be pressured to upgrade their device, as new apps require modern operating systems to function.