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If you've got one of these iPhones, prepare to upgrade — they might not get iOS 16

iOS 16 concept
(Image credit: The Hacker 34/YouTube)

When iOS 16 gets announced later this year, there may be a trio of iPhones that won't be getting it, even though they currently run the latest iOS 15.4 software update.

According to regular Apple tipster LeaksApplePro, writing for iDrop News, there will be three phones currently running iOS 15 that won't get to move on to iOS 16. Those are apparently the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus and the iPhone SE (2016). 

This isn't the first time we've heard this, as an iOS 16 rumor from a different source late last year also claimed these three phones wouldn't get it.

Apple gave us a pleasant surprise last year when it announced iOS 15 would be supported on all iPhones running iOS 14. But since iOS is gradually needing more storage space and greater computing power to run, this couldn't go on forever. The iPhone 6S and first-gen iPhone SE will turn seven and six years old this year respectively, so it's not surprising to see them drop off of the update treadmill.

All the same, seven years of support is incredibly generous compared to the support you get for even the best Android phones. While phone makers like Samsung and Google are now offering longer support windows for their newest devices, it still doesn't match up to what Apple's been offering for years already.

As for iOS 16's new features, LAP repeated their previous claim that the new iOS will feature larger, interactive widgets, "quick action" shortcuts you can use from the lockscreen and small refinements to the Files and Reminders apps. Previous leaks have claimed iOS 16 will also add new health tracking features and the first mentions of Apple's upcoming VR/AR headset.

If you're an iPhone 6S owner, losing out on iOS 16 support isn't the end of the world. You don't need the latest version of iOS to use your iPhone fully, but you may feel like you're missing out if something really fun gets introduced in future iOS generations. 

But having an iPhone that supports iOS 16 doesn't even guarantee you'll get the whole experience. Due to the processing requirements for some of iOS 15's features, only the iPhone XR and iPhone XS and newer can run everything iOS 15 offers, with older phones missing abilities like Live Text, Spatial Audio in FaceTime.

iOS 16 will most likely get its debut at WWDC 2022 in June, alongside macOS 13 and other Apple device software updates. Before that though, we've got iOS 15.5 on the way, which is in beta testing right now and offers updates to the Apple Wallet and possibly support for third-party payments for apps.

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.