Home / iPhone / Apple says your device may now be vintage or obsolete – here’s why and what that means

Apple says your device may now be vintage or obsolete – here’s why and what that means


Kayla Solino/ZDNET

That six-year-old iPhone or eight-year-old iPad you own may still be running, but if you need any replacement parts or servicing, you’re likely to bump into trouble. That’s because Apple deems products vintage or obsolete after a certain number of years, limiting your repair options.

In a support page updated on Monday as spotted by 9to5Mac, Apple explains how support and servicing work when a product is no longer under warranty and reveals which unlucky devices are now considered vintage or obsolete. In a nutshell, devices become vintage when Apple has stopped selling them more than five years but less than seven years ago. They become obsolete when Apple halted sales more than seven years ago.

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As a few examples, the iPhone X, the fifth-generation iPad, the Apple Watch Series 2, the first-generation AirPods, and the early 2015 MacBook Air are all now considered vintage by Apple. The iPhone 6 Plus, the fourth-generation iPad, the first-generation Apple Watch, the first three generations of the Apple TV, and the 2013 MacBook Air are all labeled obsolete by Apple.

Apple and independent repair providers will provide parts and service for Apple and Beats products for up to five years after sales ended. OK, no problem there.

If a product is considered vintage, however, you may still be able to request parts and service, depending on the availability of the parts. So if your local Apple Store or independent shop doesn’t have the parts in stock, you may have to wait until they’re found, or you may be out of luck entirely. In that case, you might have to turn to eBay or another third-party reseller to try to dig up the parts yourself.

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The news is worse for a product considered obsolete. In those cases, Apple discontinues all hardware service for such devices, and service providers can’t even order parts for them. The only exception is a MacBook, which may be able to score a battery-only repair for as long as 10 years after Apple curtailed sales, but only if parts are available.

The cynical take on all of this is that Apple purposely renders products vintage or obsolete to force people to buy the latest models. That’s certainly true. Still, as the supply of parts for older devices dwindles, repair options do become more limited, and sooner or later, you’ll have to replace your trusty but defective iPhone or iPad if surgery is no longer an option.

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