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Should I update my iPhone to the latest version of iOS?

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The latest version of iOS is available to download now. But in the wake of Apple’s admission that it uses software updates to deliberately slow down older iPhones, many users are thinking twice about downloading it.

So what are the pros and cons to updating your iPhone? Will the latest version of iOS destroy your phone’s battery? And what can you do about it if it does? Read on and we’ll answer all your frequently asked questions about updating your iPhone.

What are the benefits of updating to the latest version of iOS?

iOS 11 hero image

At the time of writing, the latest Apple software update is iOS 11.2.2. Assuming you’re already on a version of iOS 11, this won’t bring you any spectacular new features. But it should to help fix a few of the bugs that blighted iOS 11.

Unfortunately, it won’t restore battery life for those older iPhones hampered by the latest update. But according to Apple, “iOS 11.2.2 provides a security update and is recommended for all users”.

This is because the update is designed to mitigate the effects of Meltdown and Spectre, the security flaws that can cause problems for iPhone users. While it sadly won’t fix the issues completely, it will help to protect your iPhone from malware.

Apple has said that forthcoming iOS 11 updates will do more to address users’ concerns, but as this bug is a developing issue, it will likely take Apple engineers a while to get on top of the problem.

So, if you’ve already downloaded iOS 11, updating to iOS 11.2.2 is a pretty sensible move. However, if you’ve got an older iPhone and you’re still on iOS 10, the update might slow your phone down.

What are the risks of updating my iPhone?

iphone 6 battery charging

That depends how old your phone is and what iOS you’re currently on. Apple has admitted that it deliberately uses iOS updates to slow down older iPhones in an attempt to keep the devices alive for longer.

This has had the unfortunate side effect of causing serious battery issues for users with an iPhone 6, 6s or 7.

Luckily, help is at-hand. In an attempt to appease disgruntled customers, Apple has started a battery replacement programme to replace slow batteries for a fraction of the normal cost.

To avoid this issue altogether though, it might be best to avoid updating to iOS 11 unless you have an iPhone 8 or iPhone X.

How likely is it that the update will affect my battery?

iPhone charger and handset

Again it depends what phone you have and what version of iOS you’re currently using. Generally, the battery issues have been reported on iPhone 7 and models that came out before it. So if you have an iPhone 8 or iPhone X, the update won’t affect your battery life.

But if your iPhone is more than a year old, iOS 11 will most likely cause your battery life to drain much quicker than it did on iOS 10.

What can I do if my iPhone battery is affected by the new iOS update?

Apple store black and white

Apple’s cheap battery replacements are available right now. All you need to do is make an appointment with an Apple Genius for a battery replacement and they’ll do it for you in store.

It’ll cost you £25, which is significantly cheaper than the £79 they normally charge for a new battery.

To find out more, read our guide on the iPhone battery replacement programme.

Will my apps still work if I don’t do the update?

App Store large

As a rule of thumb, your iPhone and your main apps should still work fine, even if you don’t do the update. If you do find your apps slowing, though, try upgrading to the latest version of iOS to see if that sorts the problem.

Conversely, updating your iPhone to the latest iOS could cause your apps to stop working. If that happens, you might have to update your apps too. You’ll be able to check this in Settings.

Should I update my iPhone straight away?

iPhone X gmail update hero

If a new update is ready, there’s no need to rush to download it. In fact, while getting your hands on any shiny new features iOS has to offer seems tempting, it can sometimes pay to hold fire.

Many early adopters find that they experience bugs and other issues when they first download the latest software update. And Apple will often roll out subsequent updates that include fixes to the bugs in the previous software upgrade.

To be on the safe side, it's generally a good idea to wait and see how other users are finding the software before you decide to upgrade.

Can I go back to an older version of iOS if the new update slows down my iPhone?

iphone 6s detail

Unfortunately, not at the moment. But there is talk of Apple providing a way for its customers to revert to an older version of iOS. So there may be a way back in the future for users harking back to the good old days of iOS 10.

For now though, if you have done the update and are now finding that your battery can barely make it through a five-minute phone call without giving up, try the iPhone battery replacement programme.

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