Your old work iPhone could soon be absolutely useless - and it's Apple's fault

Apple iPhone (2007)
(Image credit: Future)

Apple may be about to turn a number of older iPhone models into dumb phones by killing support for key internet-connected features from May 2023.

The move coud create major problems for businesses still issuing older models of the business smartphone to cut costs, or those simply not given to issuing the latest and greatest models as they are released.

Per a leak from reputable source StellaFudge (via 9To5Mac), access to several key online services, such as the App Store, Maps, and Siri, will be disabled on devices running iOS 11. iCloud functionality will remain intact. That could potentially affect devices as old as the iPhone 5s, but it is worth noting that even that device supports an update to iOS 12. However, owners of devices older than that may be out of luck.

Workplace iPhone obsolescence

While Apple has been known to drop support for new iOS releases on older devices, this latest development marks the first time that the tech giant has retroactively killed support for features on devices it has deemed obsolete.

There are, of course, good theoretical reasons for doing this: as any device ages, and manufacturers shift support to newer products, a device’s flaws and vulnerable endpoints, or those of a certain firmware version, become known and more likely to be exploited by threat actors. 

Those problems also become more pressing in the case of internet connections and services that use them.

However, the fact that Apple has waited until now to disable perfectly functional services on devices that are at least nine years old suggests that Apple’s motives are something akin to forced obsolescence instead.

Businesses may now be forced to upgrade their phone fleet and fast-track adjustments to their own security stacks and monitoring solutions. 

Furthermore, anyone with an old work phone looking to extend its life may now be out of luck. It’s that a phone that’s - gasp - just a phone, is such a bad thing, in theory, it’s just that Apple is about to force employers and employees into having one.

Luke Hughes
Staff Writer

 Luke Hughes holds the role of Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro, producing news, features and deals content across topics ranging from computing to cloud services, cybersecurity, data privacy and business software.