Apple updated its iOS 15 adoption figures last week, noting that the version is already installed on more than 63% of devices and 72% of all iPhones that have been introduced in the past four years. If you compare it with the adoption of Android versions, these are very good numbers, but it is a lower adoption rate than iOS 14 and earlier versions.

The most likely reason for this slowdown is a change that Apple decided to implement with the arrival of iOS 15: the possibility of continuing to use iOS 14 without the system insisting on updating. The presence of iOS 15 has been reduced to a label at the bottom of the update panel that could easily go unnoticed.

The transition from iOS 14 to iOS 15 on an experimental basis

At the time, we wondered if all iOS or iPadOS updates were going to be like this from now on. We still don’t know, but a recent interview with Ars Technica revealed that it was always Apple’s intention to end this option and encourage everyone to upgrade to iOS 15 at some point. It was a temporary measure.

It happened last week. All users who were still using iOS 14 and just let iPhone update to iOS 15 will upgrade these days. This can lead to an increase in that adoption rate, and Cupertino may have learned a few lessons.

Giving this option allowed Apple to roll out urgent iOS 15 updates (there is always something wrong with the version that needs to be fixed soon) without affecting many people in the early days. The company must also have collected some interesting stats, such as the percentage of people who decided to upgrade to iOS 15 on day one by intentionally pressing the button to do so.

The fact that iOS 15 is already on more than 6 out of 10 devices, despite the fact that the update has been optional for four months, is still very good numbers, and therefore it would not surprise me if this way of offering updates was also extended to macOS or even watchOS. It gives the possibility to keep the previous version for those who need it and to update those who want to enjoy the new features as soon as possible.

This can also have a downside: it’s also a way to stack updates to release more in less time. And if Apple needs anything now, it’s knowing how to space out its software improvements.