Let’s cut to the chase: Do iPhones last longer than Androids?
iPhones last longer than Androids. That’s the definitive answer.
The reason for this is the sheer fact that Apple has exceptionally tight control over iPhone’s hardware and software, and maintains notoriously high standards for – well – everything.
Nevertheless, the most premium Android phones do pack a decent punch and can last as long as the iPhone. Therefore, it comes down to addressing a few things individually in determining what impacts longevity the most!
Why iPhones Last Longer Than Androids: 7 Areas of Superiority
The level of hardware is the first thing that makes iPhones last longer than Androids, in general.
Firstly, only Apple manufactures iPhones, while many smartphone makers utilize Google’s Android (such as Samsung, Motorola, and HTC).
Because of this, iPhones are consistent in quality, size, weight, and features, while Android phones tend to come in all shapes, sizes, and quality levels.
Most importantly, Apple offers long-term value on individual parts. For example, the Ceramic Shield of the iPhone 12 and above is the toughest smartphone screen when it comes to drop resistance, according to both Apple and third-party drop tests.
Meanwhile, the premium Samsung Galaxy S21 uses the Gorilla Glass Victus, the best available for Android phones and better at withstanding drops than previous generations.
In comparison, while both screens are pretty durable, the Gorilla Glass Victus glass is not used in many Android smartphones and is reserved only for flagships – making the quality of iPhones consistently higher in this aspect.
Another area where Apple has the edge over Android is water resistance. The iPhone 13 Pro Max can withstand submersion to a depth of six meters for 30 minutes.
And as we all know, water resistance with iPhones did not just start with the iPhone 13; for example, the iPhone 7 has an IP67 water resistance rating, and the iPhone 11 series has an iP68 rating.
Samsung and Google also offer models with an iP68 rating in their newest models, while Nokia, Motorola, and OnePlus sidestep true water resistance and instead provide water repellence by using nano-coating.
As you can see, if you have an iPhone 7 and later, chances are it has survived someone spilling a drink on it or the occasional drop into a sink (or bathtub!).
Operating System Support
Apple updates its OS system regularly to resolve newly discovered errors and maintain compatibility with new apps.
Equally important is that its OS updates occur more frequently than Android’s when it comes to protecting the owner’s privacy and phone security.
Most Android companies like Samsung offer operating system updates for three years. While this is pretty standard across the industry, Apple goes beyond that offering on with its iOS security updates, continuing support for iPhone models as old as the iPhone 6S, launched in 2015.
This means that the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus have the same security patches and software as the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max! As a result, your old iPhone is just as good as newer releases when it comes to the operating system.
Flagship Android smartphones like Sony Xperia 1 III and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra will receive updates for three years before their software becomes obsolete.
Only Google’s own Pixel 6 is touted as a longer-lasting smartphone for Android users since it has the benefit of receiving updates for five years.
With constant updates, apps will work better for longer, and the user is protected for a decent amount of time too since the software updates will come with security patches.
With this in mind, if you have an outdated Android phone, it won’t have security patches that are vital for security and privacy. As such, it will likely slow down significantly within one to three years, depending on the brand.
Despite the fact that flagship Android phones can cost just as much as iPhones, your Android phone could stop feeling as sharp in one to three years while the iPhone will preserve the new-phone feel for up to five years!
The battery in every smartphone will degrade over time, and you may need to replace it at some point.
Apple has never made big claims about the iPhone’s battery life. In fact, Samsung wins the battery life battle because Samsung smartphones have massive batteries!
However, when it comes to charge cycles, all iPhones operating on iOS 13 and higher have an Optimized Battery Charging function which prevents the battery from degrading as quickly.
Since Androids do not have this feature, they will degrade when they reach between 300 and 500 charge cycles or 16 months, depending on usage.
As such, the battery will need replacing upon reaching this threshold because it will no longer be able to hold a charge.
The iPhone will display that the battery is no longer performing at its peak, such as with long app launching times or lower speaker volume.
In addition, all iOS 16 and iPhone 6 and later have a battery health feature that will notify you when it’s time to replace the battery.
The iPhone battery will degrade over time. With that said, the iPhone is not plagued by unexpected shutdowns on older phones from iPhone 6 and later.
This is because Apple has a performance management feature that prevents the phone from shutting down unexpectedly.
On the other hand, Androids experience extreme, frequent shutdowns when the battery degrades – making the device unreliable or unusable.
Both iPhones and Androids have a one-year warranty. In saying that, Apple again has the upper hand since it’s easy for you to walk into an Apple store, explain the problem, and walk away with a new phone in a couple of minutes!
Suppose you experience problems with an Android, even a good one like Samsung or Sony.
In that case, you’ll have to contact the manufacturer, fill out online forms, wait to get repair authorization, ship the phone, and wait for a minimum of four weeks to get a replacement!
While faster replacement times do not mean that iPhones last longer, it means that you are less likely to replace an iPhone before the end of its lifespan.
Additionally, if you encounter a problem that needs repair like the screen or the back of the phone cracking, you don’t have to worry about receiving lower-grade parts when you take the iPhone to an Apple Authorized Service Provider.
If you encounter similar problems with an Android – say, the screen cracks – you have to ship the phone to get a similar screen or go to an authorized brand repair shop.
Because of the lengthy waiting times involved with this, most people opt to go to third-party repair shops that don’t offer OEM parts. However, as a result, it’s quietly likely that the phone encounter the same problem again in a couple of weeks or months!
iPhones are not affordable, that’s for sure.
However, they perform better than Android phones when you eventually want to switch devices!
To this end, a 2-year old iPhone will cost more than a 2-year old Samsung. For example, the iPhone Pro Max cost $1,099 when it launched in September 2019.
Today, the same used phone in good condition costs $400 to $600 on eBay. As you can see, it’s retained 36% to 55% of its original value.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 also sold for $1,099 when it launched in August 2019. Today, you can get it for $200 to $400 in good condition. Therefore, it has retained only 18% to 36% of its original value – a pretty significant chunk of change!
Other Device Parts
iPhones have gone through several significant design overhauls over the years.
It all started changing with the iPhone 6S, which featured an aerospace-grade aluminum casing on the back. This feature has evolved into a glass back from the iPhone 8 onward.
In addition to this, iPhone 12’s and later now have flat edges where the glass sits flush with the metal frame instead of curved like in the previous iPhone iterations.
According to Apple, the flat edges make the front and back twice as durable as older models.
Although the iPhone was the first smartphone to feature a glass back, flagship Android models from 2018 started featuring a glass front and back too.
Nevertheless, this is a feature on premium phones only, and not all people can or want to spend $1000 for a smartphone!
Other features more likely to fail on Androids than on the iPhone are the audio speaker, volume buttons, and charging ports. When these parts start failing, you’re more likely to have to replace your smartphone earlier than desired.
When Is It Time to Buy a New Smartphone?
Even the best smartphones reach a point where they have to be switched out for a newer device. Here are some of the things that tell you it’s time to invest in a new smartphone:
When the hardware on your phone can no longer run updated versions of modern applications, manufacturers will stop updates for that particular operating system.
Therefore, if your phone no longer gets updates – which is five years for iPhones and three years for Android devices – it’s time to upgrade to a newer release from either party.
Most phones are fast for a minimum of three years, depending on the type and usage.
For example, if your smartphone is used primarily for gaming, your applications may start loading slower than phones used for browsing the web and the occasional watching of movies and playing games.
It will become necessary to purchase a new smartphone if it starts lagging unexpectedly multiple times a day.
Poor Battery Health
When your smartphone’s battery reaches the end of its chemical age, it may no longer function.
This problem is easy to fix if your phone has a replaceable battery. On the other hand, you’ll have to buy a new device entirely if your smartphone’s battery is not replaceable.
How to Make Your Phone Last for (Many More) Years
Uninstall Unnecessary Apps
Your phone will experience lagging when the RAM capabilities are being maxed out.
This may cause you to think that you have to upgrade your phone even before you really need to!
That’s why it’s best to uninstall the apps that you don’t use regularly, while also deleting photos, text messages, and documents you no longer need.
Use a Screen Protector
Even with screen advancements at the level that they are now, it’s quite probable that your phone screen will become damaged at some point and render your phone unusable.
Considering that the cost of replacing a high-end screen is almost the same as buying a new phone, most people opt to buy a new device!
However, if you pair your smartphone with a tempered glass protector, it’s less likely that you’ll end up with a shattered screen before the end of its lifespan.
Replace the Battery
If your phone has a replaceable battery, consider replacing it before spending money on a new phone.
The battery is one of the first parts that can make a phone lag when it becomes less efficient at holding a charge.
Protect the Device
A good phone case offers your smartphone a better chance of surviving a major drop.
The worst case is it requires a repair, instead of rendering the phone completely useless!
In addition, some cases offer better edge protection, so they also keep the screen from edge scuffs and scratches.
Practice Good Charging Practices
The best way to preserve a smartphone’s battery life is to keep it at 50% or more, most of the time.
It’s best to refrain from charging it to 100% or depleting it to 0%, and instead aim for charging from 0% to 100% only once a month.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can a smartphone last ten years?
Multiple factors contribute to how long a smartphone will last.
That being said, iPhones can work after reaching the 10-year mark even if they don’t receive updates.
On the other hand, many Android smartphones cannot last ten years because the hardware and software become obsolete.
2. iPhone 14 Vs. Samsung S23: which one is a better long-term purchase?
Both phones cost $799 and have the best features that the industry offers. The iPhone 14 boasts the A15 Bionic Chip, while the Samsung S23 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 gen 2.
Both of these chips provide lightning-fast speeds that should be able to stand the test of time.
As mentioned, Apple offers OS support for five years while Samsung offers support for three.
Therefore, apps on the iPhone 14 will remain usable for longer than apps on Samsung S23. Nevertheless, both phones have longevity concerns regarding gaming quality, camera capabilities, and more.
3. Are iPhones more reliable than Androids?
The iPhone is a well-rounded phone because its hardware and software are integrated into a single body.
Most Androids are designed in a different place from where they are assembled, bringing about a noticeable difference in quality.
Additionally, Apple keeps iPhones updated for longer than Androids. The iPhone is also more secure than Android devices since it’s not an easy target for malware and viruses like an Android smartphone is (due to the less regulated Google Play Store).
iPhones are superior to Androids in many aspects, contributing to their longer lifespan.
With that said, Android smartphones are still capable devices that can accomplish most tasks, just like the iPhone. Just keep in mind that the general consensus is that you’ll see better value in your smartphone if it’s an iPhone rather than an Android – and that’s not just coming from an Apple fanatic like myself!