Technology is constantly advancing. At some point, everyone has to upgrade to newer tech. But just when should you upgrade? And is it ever worth downgrading?
In most cases, upgrading to the latest model or version immediately isn’t necessary. In fact, there are often advantages to waiting a few months or even a few years after the release of new tech so that the price can go down and bugs can be fixed. Some people upgrade too soon – in such cases it may even be beneficial to downgrade. Of course, you don’t want to wait too long to upgrade as there could be massive drawbacks to this too. This is why it’s important to know exactly when to time it with technology. The following guide can help you to know exactly when to upgrade (and when to downgrade) tech – whether it’s an operating system on a computer or a smartphone.
When to upgrade…
Your current tech is no longer supported by the vendor
You should always upgrade your tech once it loses support from the vendor. This is particularly the case with software – once developers stop providing support and updates, software can become susceptible to viruses and unfixable bugs. The software could stop performing properly and become a security risk, making an upgrade necessary.
You’ll usually get a warning if software is about to lose support, although this is not always the case, so it’s worth looking into old programs you may have installed on your PC. Operating systems typically have a lifespan of about 10 years – Windows 7 lost support back in 2020 and Windows 10 will lose support in 2025 (if you’re still using 10, you may want to consider upgrading soon!).
Your current tech is too basic for your needs
Once tech becomes too basic for your needs, it’s a sure sign that you need to upgrade. Businesses typically find that they have to upgrade their tech as they grow – software or an internet connection built to support a maximum of 6 employees could come under strain if your team starts to expand. Similarly with home tech, people find that their wi-fi isn’t able to support their needs anymore or that certain applications may not work on their computer.
Make sure to weigh up your wants and needs. There’s a difference between wanting to upgrade your internet connection to improve your work productivity and wanting to upgrade your internet connection to make game downloads a little faster.
Your current tech is broken and too expensive/difficult to repair
If your current tech is broken, it could be the perfect time to upgrade it – especially if repairs are likely to work out too expensive/challenging.
Hard drive failure on a computer as a result of wear and tear is a classic example of an instance when it’s worth upgrading. A new hard drive could be almost as expensive as a new computer in some cases. If you’ve had the computer for a while, there’s also a chance that other parts could be worn and on their way out. Upgrading to a new computer could make more financial sense.
You can comfortably afford to upgrade
If you can comfortably afford to upgrade, then it’s usually worth upgrading. Most people cannot afford the latest tech because they cannot afford subscription fees or finance payments. If you’ve budgeted ahead and you can comfortably afford to pay these fees, then you should upgrade. If there’s a risk you could end up overstretching your budget and falling behind on payments, it may not be worth it – especially if it’s a gadget or software that you don’t physically need.
When to downgrade…
There are teething issues that need to fixed
While most tech is thoroughly tested, some new programs and gadgets can still encounter big problems. It could be worth downgrading your tech if it is having compatibility issues with software or hardware that you need to use. For example, some people have found MacOS Ventura is not yet compatible with programs like DropBox, which could make downgrading your software worthwhile if you rely a lot on DropBox – this page explains more on how you can downgrade your operating system.
Before downgrading tech, make sure that there are no imminent patches or easy repairs that can help you to get around these types of problems. In some cases, it may be worth riding out these teething issues.
The tech is too complex for your needs
Some people adopt new tech only to realise that it’s too complex for their needs. While certain extra features may be handy, there shouldn’t be loads of excess features going unused. You may also want to downgrade technology if it’s too challenging to use. For example, certain video production software may be targeted at everyday users and beginners, whereas other video production software may be targeted at professional video editors – if you’re not savvy with video editing, you may find the latter isn’t very user-friendly.
Make sure that you’re not downgrading tech simply because you don’t have the patience to learn to use it. Technophobes can sometimes be too quick to reject new technology because of the learning curve – unless you’re an amateur and the technology is clearly aimed at pros, you shouldn’t immediately reject it.
You’re paying more than you can afford
New technology can be very expensive. If you find yourself unable to pay subscription fees for software or unable to pay finance payments for machinery, consider whether it’s time to downgrade to something cheaper.
Bear in mind that you may be able to negotiate cheaper subscription fees or finance payments in some cases, allowing you to keep your current tech while paying cheaper rates for it (read this post for more tips on how to do this). Try this out before you downgrade to something that is cheaper and more basic. It’s also important to factor in any exit fees or payment terms before getting rid of your current tech.