Eventually, you’re going to need to upgrade your iPhone. If you upgrade too early, you might end up spending money unnecessarily without getting access to many new features. You’ll also need to buy a new iPhone case and potentially new accessories like charging cables and earbuds. If you upgrade too late, you could end up frustrated by a slow-performing and obsolete phone.

So when is the “right” time to upgrade your iPhone?

The Main Factors to Consider

These are the main factors you’ll need to consider when evaluating whether an upgrade is worth it:

  •       Price/budget. Upgrading your phone is going to cost money, no matter what. But how much are you willing to spend? What can you afford? And does it make more sense to try and keep what you have now for a little bit longer?
  •       Available features. You’ll also need to think about available features. If the newest model of iPhone doesn’t offer much that’s new or interesting to you, there’s no reason to upgrade. But if you’re desperate to get access to the latest features, an upgrade might make sense.
  •       Performance. Over time, you’ll likely see a decline in the performance of your iPhone. That’s mostly because operating systems and apps keep getting more sophisticated, making your obsolete processors less capable of performing optimally. At a certain point, an upgrade becomes a necessity.
  •       Security updates. New updates are necessary to keep your phone and personal data secure; when Apple stops supporting your phone, you’ll need to upgrade.

How Long Does a Typical iPhone Last?

Depending on many factors, a typical iPhone should “last” between four and seven years. Even if you’re not the most careful iPhone owner, you should be able to milk at least a few years out of the latest phone you’ve purchased. If you take exceptionally good care of that phone, it could last you the better part of a decade.

Signs Your iPhone Is Due for an Upgrade

These are some of the best signs that your iPhone is due for an upgrade:

  •       Apple no longer supports your phone. Eventually, Apple will stop supporting your model of iPhone. This usually happens about seven years after the company stops selling the phone. By the time you reach this point, you’ll probably see many of the other signs that follow.
  •       You’re almost out of space. Apps, photos, videos, and other data can gradually eat up your storage space, leaving you without room for the things you need. Upgrading could be the right move, especially if you’re looking for a phone with greater storage capacity.
  •       Your battery doesn’t last long. Your rechargeable battery degrades over time, suffering from less capacity and slower charging. If it takes forever to charge up your phone, and the battery doesn’t last long, your best bet is investing in a new phone (or at least a new battery).
  •       Performance is spotty. How well does your phone perform? With the latest operating system and latest versions of your apps, if you suffer from frequent stuttering or buffering, you may need an upgrade.
  •       New accessories don’t work. Some people buy a new phone when they notice that new accessories aren’t compatible. Sooner or later, you’ll be practically forced to upgrade if you want to enjoy the latest accessories and peripheral items.
  •       You’re not happy with the core features. Does this phone do everything that you need it to do? If you’re not happy with the core features, and the newest iPhones have what you need, an upgrade makes sense.
  •       The physical condition has severely declined. It’s reasonable to upgrade if the physical condition of your phone is unsatisfactory. If there’s a big crack in the screen, if the charging port is finicky, or if there are other physical problems that aren’t worth fixing, it’s time to upgrade.
  •       The costs of repairs are too high. You should also consider upgrading if the cost of a new phone is comparable to the cost of repairs; you might as well get something new.

Prolonging the Lifespan of Your Phone

If and when you do decide to upgrade your phone, these are some ways that you can maximize its lifespan and avoid upgrading until absolutely necessary:

  •       Invest in a better case. If you have a solid case and screen protector to protect your phone, it’s less likely to suffer from physical wear and tear. Even if you drop the phone or mishandle it regularly, it can last many years.
  •       Take care of your battery. There are several strategies that can help you maximize the lifespan of your battery, such as updating to the latest software and taking advantage of settings to optimize battery performance.
  •       Keep it lean. Don’t overload your phone with high-performing apps or unnecessary stored data. Keep it lean if you want to keep using this phone as long as possible.

Some people like the idea of buying the new iPhone the day it comes out. Others want to use their current iPhone for a decade before they resort to upgrading. If you’re like most people, you fall somewhere in between these polar opposites. As long as you’re willing to entertain the notion of an upgrade when necessary, and you’re not too obsessed with new tech for the sake of new tech, you’re in a reasonable position.