With each year that we anxiously await Apple's next big version of iOS, there comes the sad reality that the eldest iPhones will not continue to receive support. That's not the case with iOS 12, however, as the software is compatible with all iPhones currently running iOS 11, going back as far as the iPhone 5S.
This was rumored to be the case back in April 2018 when Reddit user JBeylovesyou posted a run-api-tests script for WebKit online, which specifically named the iPhone 5S as running iOS 12. Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, confirmed this on June 4 at Apple's WWDC 2018 event.
This release marks the sixth major version of iOS to be supported on the 5S, breaking records for Apple's update cycle. Previously, the tally stood at five versions for iPhones; The iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 both lasted a total of five major OS versions, from iOS 5 to iOS 9 and iOS 6 to iOS 10, respectively.
The iPhone 5S was previously tied with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, launching with iOS 7, and since it goes all the way to iOS 12, that's six major OS versions versus the iPhone 4S and 5's five versions.
Supporting iPhone 5S users through iOS 12 continues to fuel Apple's excellent reputation for software support. Customers who bought the smartphone in 2013 will see their purchase sustained by Apple until the fall of 2019. Even Apple's harshest critics give the company credit for its devotion to support longevity, something Android has not been able to do.
Six years of updates, however, is something else entirely.
In Apple's "Gather Round" event on Sept. 12, Apple's vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson, spoke about Apple's desire to prevent unnecessary mining of earth materials for smartphone manufacturing. One aspect of this is to "design and build durable products that last as long as possible," she said. "That means long-lasting hardware coupled with our amazing software." So we can expect that the iPhone 5S won't be the last iPhone to break records.
To those mindful of their security, discontinued software support is the kiss of death for any smartphone. Once a company stops issuing updates for a device, any security breaches discovered will, unfortunately, stay that way forever. Those who continue to use an iPhone like this, such as a 5 or older, are vulnerable to these issues should they arise.
That's why an extra year of support is groundbreaking for iPhone 5S users. It marks another year free from worry about security bugs — if any were to be discovered between the release of iOS 12 and iOS 13, Apple would have your back.
While Apple may certainly not be perfect, they do look out for their aging products, as well as their environmental impact on the earth. However, it should still be noted that some features, such as Apple Pay, that require specific hardware, are still not supported on the iPhone 5S.