Apple's iOS 14 brings a ton of exciting new features — everything from major changes to your iPhone's home screen to new features for Maps and Messages. That's true whether you download the iOS 14 public beta now or wait until the fall for the full release. But will the phone you're currently holding be able to run iOS 14?
The good news? If you've bought a new iPhone in the last 5 years, the answer is probably yes.
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According to Apple, the following devices will be able to run iOS 14.
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone SE (1st generation)
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
- iPod touch (7th generation)
The oldest devices on that list are the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus and the original iPhone SE. The iPhone 6s family came out in the fall of 2015, while the first SE debuted in early 2016. So if you're holding on to those phones, at least you know that the next iOS update won't force you to upgrade your hardware if you want to keep your handset's software up to date.
Another way of thinking about iOS 14 compatibility: if your device is running iOS 13, you'll be able to upgrade to the new version in the fall.
Just because Apple says you can run iOS 14 on an older device, does that mean your experience will be up to par? I've installed the iOS 14 developer beta on an original iPhone SE, and I haven't seen any performance lags at all. It does feel like my battery life is draining a little bit faster than normal, but that's typical behavior for an initial beta in my experience, and it's not like the battery on my four-year-old phone was long-lasting to begin with.
That said, in my experience, a lot of the new features introduced in iOS 14 benefit from the larger screens of more modern iPhones. Picture-in-picture works just fine on my iPhone SE, for example, but you can imagine how small window actually is on the SE's already compact 4-inch display. Similarly, moving around widgets apps on the iPhone SE's small screen is a bit of a challenge.
Backward compatibility has been a long-standing advantage Apple holds over Android phones. Devices running Google's mobile OS usually get see two major software updates — sometimes fewer on budget devices. Apple's compatibility stretches back years, even if older devices can sometimes see a hit on performance or battery life with each successive iOS update. (Apple's been working to mitigate that with recent iOS updates, though there was no mention of that focus in its iOS 14 presentation at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference.)
The iOS 14 public beta is available to download now, and you can expect a lot of updates between now and the fall when a final version of the software becomes available.