iOS 13.1.1 or iPhone 11?

iOS 13.1 or iPhone 11? A reader asks…

I have an iPhone 7 that’s been acting really wonky for quite a while, dropping calls and having bad wi-fi, plus the battery doesn’t hold much of a charge anymore. Do you think I should replace the battery and update to the latest iOS that just came out, or replace my old iPhone with a new iPhone 11?

My general advice is to always update your iPhone to the latest iOS version whenever possible (with some exceptions). That said, it’s been pretty well documented that the iPhone 7 model was plagued by hardware defects that affected the cellular and Wi-fi connections. Apple claimed that this only affected a small number of customers, but I’ve personally seen more than a half-dozen. I have no confidence that upgrading your iPhone to the latest iOS (13.1.1) will resolve the issues you mentioned, although replacing the battery ($49 at Apple) will certainly resolve your battery life issue.

If you are able to afford to upgrade your iPhone, then I’d suggest you do so. If you need to save money, you needn’t upgrade to the absolute latest model (iPhone 11 or 11 Pro), you can certainly upgrade to older models. Apple still sells the iPhone 8 if you prefer continuing to use your finger or thumb to unlock the iPhone (later models only have FaceID). Visit Apple.com to see all the models and prices.

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With your iPhone 7 trade-in (in good condition), you can get an iPhone 8 for as little as $299. Or an iPhone Xr for $449, or an iPhone 11 for $549, or an iPhone 11 Pro for $849 (these prices are for the minimum amount of internal memory, 64gb). These are the only new models you can currently buy new from Apple.

You can also shop the Apple Certified Refurbished shop and buy other models, such as the iPhone X. Their stock varies daily so you’ll have to check back to find one you want. I personally have no problem buying an Apple Certified product, they are essentially as good as a new Apple product of their vintage (in my experience). Meaning if you bought last year’s iPhone Xs, you would have the same usage experience as if you bought it new last year.

I should mention that iOS 13.1 has a number of improvements in the operating system and some new features that extend the usefulness of older models of iPhone. But the most important reason to always use the current version of iOS is for security. No software is completely bug-free, but the potential downside of using outdated software is much worse than the annoyances of working around bugs. Plus, Apple is pretty good about releasing updates often as they quash bugs.

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