How endoflife.date Can Help You Find Out When Your Tech Support Will End

Tech isn’t like other products. If you buy an old car and change the oil regularly, keep it under cover and out of accidents, there’s no reason it shouldn’t last forever.


Computer hardware and software are different. From the moment it rolls off the production line or appears as a download in your favorite store, the clock is ticking.

But how do you know when your product will stop receiving support?

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endoflife.date is an open-source project that tracks end-of-life dates and support lifecycles and collates this data in an easily accessible format. Here’s how it works and how to use it.


Why Do Tech Products Become Obsolete?

CRT Television Screen

Tech relies on code, and code is never perfect. It’s buggy at the best of times, contains insecurities, and requires constant work from developers to keep it from becoming a liability.

If, like most people, you use Microsoft Windows on your desktop PC, you’ll be familiar with “Patch Tuesday.” On the second Tuesday of every month, Microsoft releases a huge raft of patches for its current operating system, office products, and some third-party software. These patches can address anything from small bug fixes to major security flaws, which could see a criminal take complete control of your machine.

Every piece of software or connected hardware you own needs to be patched when these bugs and vulnerabilities appear, and it takes a dedicated team of developers and engineers to keep on top of them all.

As technology advances, fewer and fewer people use older hardware, and it isn’t worth a company’s money to spend money and resources updating and patching software that is only used by a comparative handful of people. At this point, they will announce that the product has reached its end-of-life and that no more updates will be released or support given.

Sometimes companies end support for products even when they have a solid and sizable user base and there’s no obvious pressing need to do so. Often a new, costly version of the same hardware or software is due to be released, and it makes good financial sense to force users into a costly upgrade in a process known as planned obsolescence.

This might also make you wonder if it is safe to continue using a phone that no longer receives security updates.

Why Is It Hard to Guess When Support Will End for a Product?

A woman holds her head between her hands and looks bewildered

The amount of notice a company will give that their product is reaching end-of-life varies wildly.

Some companies will tell you when support ends before a product is released. Canonical, for instance, gives a five-year support and updates guarantee for Ubuntu LTS releases, although this can be extended by another ten years with an Ubuntu Pro subscription.

Whereas RSS fans were left bewildered when Google shut down their incredibly popular Reader service with only three months notice and no real reason.

And if you bought a Windows phone thinking that the mobile platform would receive a similar level of support as the desktop OS, its official death on January 14, 2020, may have left you thinking that you had wasted money.

Worse, when in 2019, Amazon discontinued its Dash Buttons, which allowed users to order common household items with the push of a physical button, they gave customers less than a month’s notice, and many customers were left confused when their buttons simply stopped working.

The company behind a product ultimately decides when to end support, and they don’t always give the reasoning behind their decisions.

endoflife.date Helps You Keep Track of Product Support Dates

chart showing support status for ipad 4 and first gen ipad air

Given how difficult it is to predict the end-of-life date for a single product or service, it’s almost incalculably difficult to know when your entire array of software and hardware will stop working or become insecure.

endoflife.date is a project that tracks the lifecycle of hundreds of products and currently lists over 220 products. The information is collated from websites, press releases, official announcements, Twitter, and some degree of guesswork.

If you’re wondering what computer, e-reader, Operating system, or smartwatch to buy, you can visit endoflife.date and see the current version, previous versions, security update status, and more at a glance. You’ll also get a human-readable explanation of the release cycle and an understanding of how the researchers arrived at their conclusion. This information can be valuable—especially if you’re buying second-hand.

For example, if you’re arranging to pick up a lightly used example of Amazon’s seventh generation Kindle Voyage e-reader from a Walmart car park, it’s useful to know that support ended on April 1, 2021, and that the latest software version is 5.13.6.

Likewise, you should be aware that buying a 4th generation iPad is simply pouring money down the drain.

In addition to providing product lifespan information to users, endoflife.date is also attempting to work with companies to create a set of standards and common sense recommendations, making it easier for you to find the right information.

These recommendations include sensible measures such as documenting all relevant information together, publishing it at a stable URL, documenting the release cadence, and explaining all levels of support.

Invest in Tech With a Long Lifespan

By examining the length of support for a product, you can make informed purchasing decisions to ensure your tech stays relevant for longer. Choose products that are going to last, and take good care of them so you get the maximum benefit.

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