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Why you shouldn’t upgrade your iPhone again

In the past few months, Apple has released frequent updates to iOS 11. Should you upgrade? For most people, it’s a personal preference, but there are some people who should definitely steer clear.

I’ve owned an iPhone 6 for the past two years. When Apple released iOS 11 in early September, I was still using iOS 9, and my phone was still running like new.

I held off on upgrading to iOS 11 for as long as I could, worried about rumors I’d heard that it would decrease my outdated phone’s performance. Eventually, however, I gave in to pressure from friends and colleagues, plugged my phone in, and upgraded.

My phone’s performance and battery life were immediately reduced to shells of their former selves. I now need to charge my phone about three times a day, it shuts down without warning, and it crashes when I have too many apps running.

So it goes without saying that it might not be the best decision to upgrade to the newest version of iOS for everyone, security risks be damned. The first group who shouldn’t upgrade: Jailbreakers.

I’ve never jailbroken my phone, mostly because it sounds like a lot of work, but a number of my friends are incredibly loyal to the procedure. It’s not yet possible to jailbreak a device running iOS 11, though that’s in the works.

The second and much larger group is people like me who have an older device (two more more models behind the current flagship) who are happy with its current performance.

Updating your phone is a gamble, and the odds aren’t even. Decreased battery life, keyboard bugs, and general performance glitches are always a risk. But the reward stays the same, while the risk gets higher, the older your phone is. If you’re happy with the way your phone is running, there’s little need to take that risk.

It is worth noting one major point here: iOS updates do carry important security features, and fix vulnerabilities that could compromise your device. It’s worth reading up on these fixes, and factoring them into your decision. In some cases, it will be worth the risk of avoiding the update.

For example, iOS 11 fixed the KRACK vulnerability, but that was already very difficult for hackers to exploit. And given the speed at which Apple has been rolling out iOS updates lately, and then more rushed updates to fix the bugs in those updates, it’s not unthinkable that an update could bring new vulnerabilities too, as we saw with macOS High Sierra.

If you’re happy with your older iPhone, it’s fine to leave it be. Forbes reports that the happiest users of older phones still use some variation of iOS 10, or even iOS 9.

At the very least, don’t update immediately after the rollout. Sit back for a few weeks, keep an eye on the news, and see what vulnerabilities and bugs arise. Once you have all the facts, you can decide whether to take the leap.

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