Apple’s iPhones run the iOS operating system, while iPads run iPadOS—based on iOS. You can find the installed software version and upgrade to the latest iOS right from your Settings app if Apple still supports your device.

The Latest Major Version is iOS 13

The latest major version of Apple’s iOS operating system is iOS 13, which Apple first released on September 19, 2019. iPads got iPadOS 13.1—based on iOS 13.1—on September 24, 2019. Apple releases new major versions of iOS and iPadOS roughly once every twelve months.

iOS 13 features a system-wide dark mode, a “Silence Unknown Callers” option for blocking robocalls, new text-editing gestures, improved location permissions, Bluetooth privacy controls, and more.

RELATED: The Best New Features in iOS 13, Available Now

Dark Mode toggle in Control Center shown on an iPhone running iOS 13
Khamosh Pathak

How to Check if You Have the Latest Version

You can check which version of iOS you have on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch via the Settings app.

To do so, navigate to Settings > General > About. You’ll see the version number to the right of the “Version” entry on the About page. In the screenshot below, we have iOS 12 installed on our iPhone.

 

How to Update to the Latest Version

You can upgrade iOS to the latest version available for your device from the Software Update screen. Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch may occasionally show a notification telling you a new version of iOS is available, too.

To start an update, head to Settings > General > Software Update. Your device will immediately check for an updated operating system. If an update is available, you can download and install it whenever you want. Just tap the “Download and Install” option at the bottom of the screen to install it.

If no updates are available for your device, you’ll see a “Your software is up to date” message instead.

You can also use iTunes to update an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

 

Why Can’t I Update to iOS 13?

If your device tells you your software is up to date, but you aren’t running iOS 13 or iPadOS 13.1 yet, you’re probably using an older iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch that Apple is no longer supporting with operating system updates.

According to Apple, the following devices are compatible with the iOS 13 operating system:

  • iPhone: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE
  • iPad: 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 11-inch iPad Pro, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad (7th generation), iPad (6th generation), iPad (5th generation), iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 4
  • iPod touch: iPod touch (7th generation)

If you have an older iPhone, iPad, or iPod that isn’t on this list, you won’t be offered iOS 13 on the Software Update screen. You can still install the latest version that is compatible with your device. But, to get iOS 13, you’ll need a new device.

Image Credit: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock.com.

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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