Apple Mac fans are holding onto their computers for longer – here’s why

MacBook Pro 13-inch M2 model in an office on a desk
(Image credit: Future)

Have you found yourself reluctant to upgrade your Mac because it’s still happily chugging away? You might not be alone, as a new survey indicates that people are keeping their Macs longer than ever, with users more hesitant to upgrade or replace their Apple computers compared to the past.

But why is this happening? And is it good news or bad news for Apple fans?

The survey was conducted by research firm CIRP and was published on the company’s Substack blog. According to CIRP, the study was motivated in part by Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman’s claims that Apple devices are lasting longer, and are being kept for longer by customers.

In the survey, CIRP found that over the past year, the percentage of Mac users “whose previous device was older than two years” increased to 68% compared to 59% in 2020. The numbers were similar for iPhone owners, going from 63% to 71%. It suggests that a greater proportion of Mac and iPhone users are now keeping hold of their devices for two years or more before upgrading.

Why is this happening?

A person fixes a MacBook using one of Apple's Self Service Repair kits on a blue desk mat.

(Image credit: Apple)

Gurman’s report states that Apple devices have seen a shortage of breakthrough features in recent years, giving users fewer reasons to fork out for a new product. Even Apple Intelligence, a brand-new feature that should get users’ hearts racing, will work with M1 Macs released back in 2020, meaning that owners of older Macs may not need not worry about upgrading if they want to use Apple’s AI platform.

Gurman believes that improved reliability of Apple’s products has helped them last  longer than ever, something CIRP agrees with. In particular, CIRP states that “for most laptop owners, improvement in battery longevity may be the most important factor, and that may have also reached a satisfactory threshold.”

Apple devices have long had a reputation for impressive longevity, with past studies (such as from Consumer Reports in 2015 and Alta Technologies in 2022) showing that Macs tend to last a lot longer than rival devices. It suggests that nefarious claims of planned obsolescence on Apple’s part – so often cited yet with very little actual evidence – are wide of the mark. Instead, Apple says it's focused on improving durability, as outlined in a detailed report the company recently released on the subject.

Ultimately, devices that last longer can only be good news for consumers; but if exciting new features aren’t coming as regularly as they used to, there might not be as much to get Apple users’ blood pumping. Perhaps Apple Intelligence will change all that when it launches later this year.

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Alex Blake
Freelance Contributor

Alex Blake has been fooling around with computers since the early 1990s, and since that time he's learned a thing or two about tech. No more than two things, though. That's all his brain can hold. As well as TechRadar, Alex writes for iMore, Digital Trends and Creative Bloq, among others. He was previously commissioning editor at MacFormat magazine. That means he mostly covers the world of Apple and its latest products, but also Windows, computer peripherals, mobile apps, and much more beyond. When not writing, you can find him hiking the English countryside and gaming on his PC.