Updated report graphs Apple’s dedication to supporting older iPhones vs. Android


We hear a lot about adoption of iOS updates vs the fragmentation that Android users are forced to deal with, but just how far behind are the top Android devices compared to iPhone when it comes to getting support? To answer that question, Fidlee.com has updated a chart that it first put together a couple years back in order to see if Android has become any better in recent years. It hasn’t.

In the chart above we see that many once flagship Android devices— the Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S3, LG G2 etc— have still not received the latest Android 4.4 KitKat update. Most of the devices on the list have been an upgrade or two behind since launch or not long after. In comparison, only the iPhone 3GS fives years after its release doesn’t support iOS 7. We also get a look at how much longer Apple devices generally stay available for sale and continue receiving support– nearly twice as long as Android in most cases.

Not only did Apple claim iOS 7 was “the fastest software upgrade in history” with more than 200 million devices installing the OS less than a week after launch, but analytics firms also noticed adoption was much higher than previous releases. Currently iOS 7 sits at about 77% of users, according to the latest data from Fiksu’s iOS Usage Monitor. While the chart above is only for devices released last year, things aren’t much better for newer Android devices. In comparison to iOS 7 adoption, Google reports that its latest release, Android 4.4 KitKat, is at just 1.1% weeks into launch. The previous release, Android 4.3, is at just 4.2%, while the majority of users remain on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean first released in July 2012.

A couple more charts below from Fidlee showing just how bad things are on Android:

Fidlee-KitKat-Adoption Fidlee-tablet-iPad-Adoption-Support

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  1. Kevin Rye (@RyeMAC3) - 9 years ago

    That chart says it all. You can have that flagship Android phone, but a year later, you’re going to be left out in the cold.

  2. Timothy Pieper - 9 years ago

    I find it hilarious that, out of the box, about half of these Android phones didn’t support the most current and up-to-date Android software. Some of those phones never received the latest updates even after a couple years! Who wants to buy a flagship device that’s practically outdated before it’s even opened?!

  3. David Frampton - 9 years ago

    So Apple support it’s devices for approximately 1 year after they stop selling that device.

    • Where does it say that?

      The minimum iOS support is up to 3 years or more. For OSX it’s around 5 years.

      iPad1 – 2 years
      iPad2 – 3 years
      iPad3 – 2 years and still supported (iOS 7.0.4)
      iPad4 – 1 years and still supported (iOS 7.0.4)

      iPhone3 – 4 years
      iPhone4 – 3 years
      iPhone4S – 2 years and still supported (iOS 7.0.4)
      iPhone5 – 1 year and still supported (iOS 7.0.4)
      iPhone5S – still supported (iOS 7.0.4)

    • Sorry, I misread your comment.

      But in any case Apple keeps it’s products on sales much longer than Android devices.

      For Macs it’s still about 3-5 years after sales stop.

  4. Nico E. (@nicoewig) - 9 years ago

    This chart is complete bullsh. and compares things, which cannot be compared.
    Yes it is right, that Apple provides its updates for older devices, but thats is only on the surface. In the insides, the older devices do not support shit of the new features. It says this devices hast iOS7 but thats just a number. The features of iOS7 are only supported on the newer devices.
    Fragmentation is VERY present on Apple devices, but its not obvious, because apple just keeps telling us the number of devices running the newest OS but not, which of these can really use the features it provides.

    Google is more honest, not cloaking the fragmentation under a lie called the version number.

    • Menan Vadivel (@MenanV) - 9 years ago

      Lol more likely Google is too lazy to do so.

    • Mark Newfangled - 9 years ago

      It’s exactly the same on Android. Older devices that get updates can’t always use all the features.

      Why d you think android is special in this regard?

    • levanid - 9 years ago

      Oh c’mon. Everyone could stand that their iPhone doesn’t support AirDrop. But for the life of iPhone 4 it became completely new phone at least 3 times. (Initial iOS, iOS 5 and now 7). It is a great shame to google and vendors that even their flagman devices are outdated out-of-the-box.

    • Tyler Penrod - 9 years ago

      So what you’re saying is that the iOS 7 release should have released a slow-mo camera and 64 bit processor to the iPhone 4S? That’s a hardware problem, not a support problem, buddy. The features not released for older devices are partly because of speed capabilities on the older hardware, but also to help sell the newer devices. I’m still running an iPhone from 2011 and it works great. No complaints here.

  5. 9to5comments - 9 years ago

    A little deceiving … yes Apple does give you the latest OS … but you may not get all the features that the latest hardware version of the phone may have. For example, the iPhone 4 / 4S with regards to Maps, may not get the 3D or fly by stuff … same with SIRI (not having it). iPad 2 never got SIRI with its OS update for example.

    With that being said, I have a second generation iPod touch … on iOS 4.something … still going strong.

    Still though, all the features or not from the OS … that fact that the device is still supported … getting updates, years later … that is awesome.

  6. Too bad Apple isn’t as generous with the iPod Touch support.

    Overall anyone can run iPhone or Android phone with an older software release and it will perfectly usable device. Phones don’t die if a new OS release is announced.

  7. catatoniccube - 9 years ago

    I would like to add to the previous FACTS that not only do older devices not receive “full” version of the OS, they struggle to function with the watered-down versions. I would challenge you to run “iOS 7” on either 8GB version of the 4 or 4s and tell me you wouldn’t trade anything to go back to your watered-down version of iOS 6! Fragmentation maybe, but at least the phone you got 6 months ago still functions albeit on a older version of Android. Side note… Android also updates more than once a year

    • mechanic50 - 9 years ago

      I ran iOS7 on my 4s and it ran it very well stop spreading fud.

    • levanid - 9 years ago

      I’m on 4s with latest iOS and everything works perfectly

  8. phokus1911 - 9 years ago

    The article is misleading, android phones actually get supported FAR longer than iOS. Android versions 2.2 and up still get updates:


    Most of the android OS has moved off of android and onto both android play services and android play store (and more and more of the OS is moving there), bypassing BOTH carriers and handset makers. That’s why newer updates like android 4.4 aren’t really interesting anymore because the big updates are coming through to play services/play store. It’s even rumored that the pure android UI is going to move to the google play store as well which will allow users to override custom handset skins like touchwiz and sense with pure android.

  9. Andropov (@_Andropov_) - 9 years ago

    The important thing is not receiving a funny set of filters or a crappy mail feature with an iOS, or Android, or whatever update. The important thing is to be able to use the new API included with the new version so you can still run new apps. You can’t stitch together panoramas? There’s an app for that. Can’t use live filters with your apps? There are a zillion apps for that. Fragmentation doesn’t mean that you have different features in different phones, but that you have different APIs for different models. With iOS, developers can develop apps with the latest API and most products released in the last 4 years will be able to run them. THAT is the problem in Android.

  10. jlword - 9 years ago

    Android is a Fragmented Mess. There are dome great devices, but the fragmentation and lack of support is a real negative.


  11. Seb Palacio - 9 years ago

    Yes iOS is good for this, one of the advantages of a closed OS ecosystem designed for only 4 devices. However have you tried using a 3GS with iOS6?? It grinds to a halt most of the time… The trouble with Android is the manufacturers are letting their users down with their versions of the OS. Not to mention the carier versions of the OS which is even slower to update. You will notice that the Nexus devices have a lot better consistency as this is released pretty quick by Google. At least this will be the case for the 4 and 5, the S and the galaxy were early devices which have outdated hardware now, definitely not flag ship devices in their day either. I would put good money on the Nexus 4 being supported long into the future. Also the differences between 4.4 and 4.1 are minimal and there are four major versions there so it’s not something I’d be worried about if I was using a device on 4.1. And there’s always the wealth of custom roms which use the latest versions for those with some know how and want the latest. I don’t really think it’s fair to compare iOs releases on Apple devices with Android on other devices that aren’t Nexus as the manufacturers and software developers of said manufacturers aren’t directly related to the OS development like they are at Apple. And there are 13 devices there which aren’t Nexus and will have their own customised versions of Android on them.

    Also with 4.4 Google has streamlined the OS allowing for it to be applied to much lesser hardware specs than the current flagships so in theory things will get a lot better as far OS updating goes for other manufacturers. However there will be delays and I’m sure a lot of feet dragging with them as they will want people to buy the latest hardware and make no guarantees to support the devices for any set amount of time. So yes it’s questionable if they’re value for money in that respect. However the Nexus 5 is unquestionably better vfm being half the price of similar handsets and will receive the latest OS updates long into the future.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & Electrek.co. He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.