TL;DR

  • Get your Apple devices serviced and any necessary parts replaced before they’re 8 years old and deemed obsolete

Apple maintains an 8 year product cycle. Let’s look at what that means for owners of Apple devices.

Apple’s Approach

Once an Apple device is 8 years old, that product has reached the end of its line. Apple sees it as obsolete, and therefore no longer feels obligated to provide any type of support for the device. This is bad news for customers, because to Apple, “support” includes manufacturing replacement parts.

This mostly applies to laptop owners

As laptops age, the battery is typically the first thing to deteriorate. It’s not uncommon to have it replaced at some point in the device’s lifetime. When Apple ends support of a given laptop, however, they will no longer manufacture replacement batteries. Even if you manage to purchase an authentic Apple battery, they will not install it for you. Worse yet, Apple prohibits all of its service providers from selling or replacing parts for any obsolete device. Cracked screen, weak battery, sticky keyboard – whatever the issue, you will find no help at the Genius Bar.

I learned this the hard way

When macOS 11 Big Sur was unveiled, Apple released the official list of supported devices that will be able to run the new OS. As a tech enthusiast, I was looking forward to installing the beta to poke around and see what’s new. As it’s never wise to install a beta OS on your main computer, I dusted off my old MacBook Pro and sat down to begin the install. It was then that I realized my mid-2012 model is now obsolete and no longer supported. I’m mostly bummed out because the laptop has a weak battery and I always planned on replacing it to then sell the computer.

macOS 11 compatible devices, taken from the Big Sur Preview page

If you’re wondering if your aging device has become obsolete yet, here is the latest official list from Apple.

So what’s the deciding factor in the support cut-off?

Apple’s 8-year obsolete label. We’re in late 2020, so any Apple device released in (mid) 2012 or earlier is no longer supported.

A Word to the Wise

If you have an aging Apple product, stay mindful of its release date and when its 8 years will be coming up. Be sure to get any desired replacements done before it’s deemed obsolete!

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