Apple has discontinued many iPhone models over the years as it continues to innovate and release new versions. Determining the last iPhone model to be officially discontinued by Apple provides insight into the company’s product strategy and how long different models tend to remain available.
When Do iPhones Get Discontinued?
There is no set timeframe for when Apple stops selling an iPhone model. Typically, when a new iPhone is released, the model from two years prior is discontinued. However, some models remain available for 3-4 years if they are still popular. The pace of innovation and introduction of new features impacts how quickly older models become obsolete.
Discontinuation happens silently – Apple removes the model from their website and stops restocking it through carriers and retailers. They rarely make formal announcements about discontinuing devices. Instead, the availability slowly dwindles until the phone is no longer sold.
The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were released in September 2015. The phones introduced features like 3D Touch and Live Photos. At release, the 6s and 6s Plus started at $649 and $749 respectively.
Apple continued selling the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus for over 3 years. The phones were finally discontinued in September 2018 following the announcement of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
The iPhone 6s generation lasted so long for a few key reasons:
- They continued to perform well thanks to receiving software updates from Apple.
- Many customers still preferred the Touch ID fingerprint sensor over Face ID.
- Their price points filled an important gap in Apple’s lineup after they discontinued the iPhone SE.
Overall, the iPhone 6s series struck an excellent balance of features, performance, and price which allowed it to remain relevant well beyond the norm for iPhones.
Why the iPhone 6s Outlasted Other Models
Most iPhone generations only remain current for two years after their initial release. Here is a look at some of the recent iPhones that were discontinued much faster than the iPhone 6s:
|iPhone Model||Release Date||Discontinued||Time Period|
|iPhone X||November 2017||September 2018||11 months|
|iPhone 8||September 2017||September 2018||12 months|
|iPhone 7||September 2016||September 2018||24 months|
By comparison, the iPhone 6s generation was available for over 36 months. What allowed it to have such an unusually long lifespan?
Lack of Groundbreaking Changes
The iPhones released after the 6s did not introduce major new features until Face ID arrived with the iPhone X. The iPhone 7 was similar to the 6s, while the iPhone 8 updated the design but lacked big changes.
Without compelling reasons to upgrade, many customers held onto their 6s models longer.
Popularity of Touch ID
Touch ID fingerprint authentication remained popular after its introduction on the iPhone 5s. Some customers still preferred Touch ID over the facial recognition unlock feature introduced with Face ID.
Since the iPhone 6s was the newest model with Touch ID, it remained appealing to these users even as Apple pushed new technology.
Affordable Price Point
The iPhone 6s provided a more affordable option than the newer iPhones. After Apple discontinued the iPhone SE, the iPhone 6s helped fill the void of a lower priced offering.
Its $449 starting price provided strong value, which extended its lifespan.
Here are the key specs for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus:
|Feature||iPhone 6s||iPhone 6s Plus|
|Display||4.7-inch 1334 x 750 LCD||5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 LCD|
|Processor||Apple A9 chip|
|Storage||16, 64, 128GB|
|Battery Life||Up to 14 hours (talk time)||Up to 24 hours (talk time)|
The iPhone 6s generation was the last set of iPhones to be discontinued by Apple. Released in September 2015, the phones remained available for over 3 years until being phased out in September 2018.
Their impressive lifespan was thanks to a combination of strong performance, continued popularity of Touch ID, and filling an affordable price tier in Apple’s lineup after discontinuing the iPhone SE.
New iPhones now get discontinued much quicker, generally within 12-24 months. But the longevity of the iPhone 6s demonstrated Apple is willing to keep selling older models as long as there is sufficient demand.