Apple unveiled four new iPhone 13 models Tuesday with some prices that top $1,500.
The least expensive is an iPhone 13 Mini with a 5.4-inch display and 128 gigabytes of storage for $699. A 13 Pro Max with a 6.7-inch screen and 1 terabyte of storage — more than 1 trillion bytes — is $1,599. Several premium Android devices, including Samsung’s S21 series phones that have been in the market for months, are priced in a similar high-rent district.
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If that's too rich for your budget, even with trade-ins that can reduce the tab, or you’re going to take a pass because the phone you bought a few years ago is still functioning just fine, you nevertheless can emerge with a more capable handset. And you won’t have to spend any money.
IPhone owners can add new features to aging phones via the free iOS 15 software update that was made available Sept. 20, the latest iteration of Apple’s mobile operating system. To get it, on your iPhone, tap on Settings | General | Software Update. You should see the available update listed. Installation times can vary significantly. It took one AARP writer nearly an hour and a half to download and install iOS 15 on an iPhone 11 Pro Max; a colleague needed just 20 minutes on an iPhone 12 Pro.
Owners of Google Pixels and other select Android phones will be able to get their own fresh coat of paint in a matter of weeks through the free Android 12 software update that is in the latter stages of beta testing. Samsung even jumped the gun a bit over the summer by rolling out a public version of the Android 12 beta to some S21 owners. But the availability of the Android update will vary by device.
While installing any new software update is not quite the same thing as splurging on a shiny new device — the iPhone 13s, for example, improve the cameras and bump up other specs — several iOS 15 enhancements should appeal to older adults and make what you already have feel fresh.
Easier ways to share data
For starters, iOS 15 makes it more simple to share some of the data collected and stored in the phone’s Health app with family and caregivers. You’ll be able to assign “Legacy Contacts” who will be issued the digital key to download the pictures and documents you store in Apple’s online iCloud repository after you pass away. And the software update has a general emphasis on helping you focus better on the tasks in front of you, or, for that matter, help you chill when you want to avoid work or other distractions.