AbilityNet Factsheet - March 2024

Tips for updating your digital device

Technology moves on at a really quick rate. There is always a lot of pressure from producers of technology to update your device. But do you need to do this? And when you do, what are the key things to remember?

Last updated: March 2024

1. Why should you update your device?

For many people who use technology daily there is no requirement to be running the latest software, such as Windows 11. A lot of people do have older operating systems on their machines. 

Every operating system has a life span, however. For example, although a lot of people use Windows 10, Microsoft will stop providing security updates in October 2025. 

You will still be able to use your Windows 10 machine after this date, but you will be at risk of malicious attacks and if you use assistive technology you might be missing out on the latest updates. 

The same is true for mobile phones. They will still work, but they might be too old to run the latest operating system, so you might not be able to get the best from your device. There are lots of advantages and disadvantages to getting a new device, including cost.

2. Microsoft Windows

The current operating system for Windows is Windows 11. This particular operating system was released in 2021. 

Lots of computers are still running older versions of Windows. Users will understandably be concerned when Windows 10 support ends. However, many users will be able to update fairly easily to Windows 11 with support from Microsoft. 

If, however, you have a device running an earlier version of Windows you will not be able to upgrade to the latest operating system. If you need to connect to the internet when using your device we'd recommend upgrading to a newer device. This article on PC World outlines the advantages and disadvantages of upgrading to Windows 11.

3. Apple devices

The latest version of the Apple operating system is iOS 17 (correct as of January 2024).

Apple always suggests that you run the latest iOS on your device. You can download the latest version of iOS from your device. You will then be able to take advantage of lots of useful Apple accessibility functionality.

If you have an older iPhone you can continue using it, but you will not get the best experience from it. You won't be getting the latest security updates, which could be an issue.

Apple also suggests that you make sure your Mac desktop or laptop are running the latest IOS. 

4. Android devices

The latest version of the Android operating system is Android 14.

Gadget Advisor has a comprehensive list of phones that can run the latest operating system.

You can still use your older phone even though it isn't running the latest software, but you do need to be aware that there could be security issues as you won't be getting the latest updates on an older operating system.

If your phone is unable to get any more updates you can look at this Life Hacker information on making some changes to ensure it continues to work. 

5. Chrome devices

If your Chromebook is older than five years, you may be unable to download the latest version of Chrome onto it.

6. Cost of upgrading to a newer device

We understand that upgrading to a new or newer device might be difficult for some people because of cost issues.

For great value options, you may wish to consider a refurbished device instead of a new one.

Our factsheet shares information about how to get funding for a device and also contains some information relating to refurbished devices.

You might also benefit from our Cost of Living factsheet which gives you some money-saving tips.


8. How AbilityNet can help you

My Computer My Way

My Computer My Way is an AbilityNet run website packed with articles explaining how to use the accessibility features built into your computer, tablet or smartphone. The site is routinely updated as new features and changes are made to the Windows, MacOS, iOS, Chrome OS and Android operating systems. The site is broken down into the following sections:

  • Vision – computer adjustments to do with vision and colour
  • Hearing – computer adjustments to do with hearing, communication and speech
  • Motor – computer adjustments to do mobility, stamina and dexterity
  • Cognitive – computer adjustments to do with attention, learning and memory
Use it for free at My Computer My Way - mcmw.abilitynet.org.uk

Advice and information

If you have any questions please contact us at AbilityNet and we will do all we can to help.

  • Call: 0300 180 0028
    Please note: calls to our helpline number cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and count towards any inclusive minutes in the same way as 01 and 02 calls, and AbilityNet does not receive any money from these calls.
  • Email: enquiries@abilitynet.org.uk

IT support at Home

If you are looking for in-person support, you can book a free visit from one of our disclosure-checked volunteers. Many of our volunteers are former IT professionals who give their time to help older people and people with disabilities to use technology to achieve their goals. Our friendly volunteers can help with most major computer systems, laptops, tablet devices and smartphones.

Contact AbilityNet via our website www.abilitynet.org.uk/at-home

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