The Joys of Upgrading Late

Being late to the party can be pretty awesome

  • Going from hardware that’s almost 10 years old to something brand new is such a big jump it almost feels like magic.
  • Such a significant leap in hardware makes it easy to appreciate upgrades, as they aren’t as incremental.
  • It can be tough to adjust to a new system and interface, but the improved performance and features are well worth it.
Small girl enjoying being inside of astronaut suit

Stanislaw Pytel / Getty Images

It’s understandable why people will upgrade to the newest smartphone or computer every year or two, but I find there’s a certain magic to waiting much longer than that.

I’m terrible with replacing my stuff before it either stops functioning or disintegrates entirely. It’s just how I’ve always been. The more essential an item, the more likely I am to avoid replacing it with something that isn’t falling apart.

Both of my work-essential devices, my iPhone and MacBook, were seven and eight years old, respectively. They got things done, but I needed to get newer hardware to open up more opportunities. So I traded in my (comparably) ancient iPhone 6S for an iPhone 12 Pro, and swapped my even more ancient 2014 MacBook Air for a MacBook Pro. The sudden jump in hardware quality and OS features felt like getting slapped in the face with an ice cold Starship Enterprise.

That Hardware, Though

Technology falls behind quickly after only a year or two, so this was a massive change for me. My old workhorses got me from A to B without much fuss, but the difference in performance after almost a decade went far beyond "an improvement."

Games weren’t a focus for my old MacBook, but I did use it quite often for video editing and graphic design. It wasn’t until I switched over to the Pro that I realized a computer doesn’t have to sound like an airplane taking off while I’m working. It was just the norm for so long it had become what I expected. Now I can edit and export a video in 1080p in just a few minutes without a peep from the laptop.

Cell phone variety from old obsolete to modern equipment

EduLeite / Getty Images

The move from an iPhone 6S to a 12 Pro has been even more significant. Apps load faster, the touch screen looks way more vibrant, and the lack of a Home button feels weird, but I’m adjusting. Really though, that new screen. It’s huge compared to what I knew, and everything is so crisp I sometimes find myself absently staring at my home screen.

Battery life has been another game changer. The 6S needed multiple charges throughout the day, or at least one even if I barely touched it. The MacBook was even worse and only lasted a few hours at most, if I used it for basic tasks. Now, I’ve got a phone I can actually use all day on, at most, one charge. Meanwhile, the new MacBook renders a 30 minute video and only loses 3% of its power.

OS OMG

Anyone who’s held onto a piece of tech for more than a couple years knows what it’s like to avoid updating the OS. Eventually, that extra decimal point has a less-than-zero percent chance of bogging down or even bricking an older device. Imagine how bad it gets when said device is seven or eight years old.

Now I don’t have to worry about app compatibility or having the proper specs to run anything I’d typically want to run. I can download a game to my iPhone without a single glance at the system requirements. Heck, I can actually bother with browsing the App Store again!

Features that I used to struggle to get working properly (looking at you, AirDrop) actually work well. I can check the local temperature on my phone without the Weather app. I’ve added a Magnifier to my Control Center for my old man eyes, instead of awkwardly using the camera app. I can see today’s date on my laptop screen without clicking anything.

There’s a trade-off to going from "old and busted" to "new hotness" overnight, though. Dealing with years of lackluster performance, argumentative functions, and system update avoidance wasn’t exactly a joy. But experiencing a significant jump in technology that other people may take for granted feels, well, magical. 

I can’t wait to do it all again in 2029!

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