Apple ramping up iOS 15 adoption? When iOS 15 launched in the autumn of 2021, Apple took a slightly different approach to its software updates. For the first time, it offered users the option to remain on iOS 14 and opt into essential security updates only. This raised eyebrows as typically Apple is eager for its user base to upgrade to the latest operating system as soon as possible. Itโ€™s useful for developers and incentivises them to support the latest APIs and features in their apps. And for customers, it provides them with meaningful new capabilities year on year. Now it seems we have an explanation from Apple.

Apple told Ars that it always intended the iOS 14 security update option to be temporary. Essentially, people could have a short grace period while Apple worked out the worst of the new operating system’s early bugs, but you would always eventually have to upgrade to stay patched.

Ars Technica

There is certainly some method to the madness so to speak. iOS 15 certainly did have its fair share of bugs at launch and lacked some of the polish weโ€™re accustomed to in the first few weeks. This is likely related at least in part to the pandemic with less oversight due to staff working remotely and with less supervision from senior engineers. According to this brief statement from Apple, it looks like the option to remain on the previous OS was always supposed to be temporary.

Notably, adoption rates for iOS 15 are significantly lower at this stage in the release cycle than in a typical year at 63% of active devices overall. That number jumps to 72% if you just count active devices sold in the last four years.

Apple Developer Portal

The story is worse still on the iPad with just 49% adoption for all active devices and 57% of active devices released in the last four years.

While it is helpful to offer users a choice to remain on the previous version of an operating system, it does limit the adoption of new features by developers. In the longer term that can lead to a worse overall experience for everyone if developers choose not to update their apps. You only need to look at the horror show of operating system fragmentation in the Android world to see that. Apple knows this too and is now prompting users to update to iOS 15 in the settings area of their iPhone or iPad. But you can ignore the prompt and remain on iOS 14 should you so choose.


Featured image: Sahej Brar via Unsplash

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