Why is this important: When Apple released iOS 15 last fall, it promised users who didn’t want to upgrade from iOS 14 would still receive critical security updates. This option seems to have disappeared recently, as Apple confirmed this week that it still intends to bring all iOS 14 users to iOS 15.
The latest security update for iOS 14 — iOS 14.8.1 (along with iPadOS 14.8.1) — rolled out in October, but this week 9to5Mac reported that iOS 14 users could no longer update to this version. The only option that now appears is 15.2.1. Apple then confirmed to Ars Technica that this is intentional and that the ongoing security updates for iOS 14 were only intended as a temporary grace period.
Apple never mentioned this when announcing and launching iOS 15. In fact, the feature list for iOS 15 as of today, it still states (down) that iOS 14 users can still get security updates without mentioning a limited period.
Conversely, Apple offers the latest macOS security updates for the most recent version of the operating system, Monterey, as well as the two previous ones, Big Sur and Catalina. Catalina is a year older than iOS 14.
The only difference with these last two iOS versions is that iOS 15 is compatible with all iOS 14 devices, so there are no hardware conflicts. Still, Apple could have been a little less opaque about its security update policy.
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