EOL

Stands for "End Of Life." EOL, pronounced "E-O-L," is commonly used in information technology to describe a product that is no longer maintained or supported. It may refer to either hardware or software.

Hardware

Hardware companies often label products as EOL several years after production has ended. When a device reaches EOL status, the company ends official support, no longer providing technical help or hardware repairs.

Even if a company labels a product as EOL (or marks it "obsolete"), it may be possible to have the product repaired by a third-party service center.

Hardware products typically reach EOL status 5 to 10 years after they are produced. The length of time depends on both the product and the manufacturer. Well-established companies typically provide longer support periods. Products that are frequently refreshed, such as smartphones and laptops, may be "EOLed" more quickly than other products. Devices that are only updated every few years may be supported for more than a decade.

Software

EOL status also applies to software, such as operating systems and software applications. When software is marked as EOL, it will still function. However, the developer no longer provides updates or technical support. In most cases, the development team will not fix additional bugs and the software may be incompatible with new hardware devices. Software products may be EOLed based on time (such as three years after the last update) or based on major version releases. For example, a developer may only support the two most recent versions of a software program and mark older versions as EOL.

Both hardware and software companies use EOL as a means of clarifying which products they currently support. It allows hardware manufacturers to stop producing replacement parts for old products and focus on supporting new models. For software developers, it enables them to focus on new and future versions of their programs, rather than supporting apps released several years ago.

NOTE: EOL also stands for "End Of Line," a computer science term that marks the end of a line of text.

Updated March 27, 2020

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