Person holding an Apple iPhone in their hand
DenPhotos/Shutterstock.com

Apple’s iPhone runs the iOS operating system, while iPad 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 15 and iPadOS 15

The latest major versions of Apple’s mobile operating systems are iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, which Apple released on September 20, 2021. Apple releases new major versions of iOS and iPadOS roughly once every twelve months.

iOS 15 on iPhones adds the ability to FaceTime with others on Android and Windows, a new Do Not Disturb feature called Focus, the ability to scan, identify objects, and copy text from pictures, and more. Additional performance improvements were also added to both iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.

The Best iPhones for Holiday 2021: On Every Apple Fan's Wish List

Best iPhone Overall
iPhone 13
Get the Smaller Version
iPhone 13 mini
Best Budget iPhone
iPhone SE
Budget iPhone with Face ID
iPhone 11
Best Premium iPhone
iPhone 13 Pro
Best iPhone Camera
iPhone 13 Pro Max
Best Battery Life
iPhone 13 Pro Max
Battery Case for iPhone 13
LVFAN 4800mAh Battery Case for iPhone 13/13 Pro

How to Check if You Have the Latest Version

You can check which version of iOS or iPadOS 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 15.0 installed on our iPhone.

Check for an iPhone update by opening the "Settings" app, selecting "General," and tapping "About"

How to Update to the Latest Version

You can upgrade iOS or iPadOS 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 or iPadOS is available, too.

Advertisement

To start an update, open the Settings app and then head to 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.

iOS 15 update available on iPhone

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 15?

If your device tells you your software is up to date, but you aren’t running iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 yet, you’re probably using an older iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch that Apple is no longer supporting with operating system updates.

RELATED: Will iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 Run on my iPhone or iPad?

According to Apple, the following devices are compatible with the iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 operating system:

  • iPhone: iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, 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, iPhone SE (2nd generation), and iPhone SE (1st generation)
  • iPad: iPad (9th generation, iPad Mini (6th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation), iPad Pro 10.5-inch, iPad Pro 9.7-inch, iPad (8th generation), iPad (7th generation), iPad (6th generation), iPad (5th generation), iPad mini (5th generation), iPad mini 4, iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Air (3rd generation), and iPad Air 2
  • iPod touch: iPod touch (7th generation)
Advertisement

If you have an older iPhone, iPad, or iPod that isn’t on this list, you won’t be offered iOS 15 on the Software Update screen. You can still install the latest version that is compatible with your device. But, to get iOS 15 or iPadOS 15, you’ll need a new device.

The Best iPads for Holiday 2021 for Drawing, Travel, and More

Best Overall iPad
2020 Apple iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gra...
Best Budget iPad
2021 Apple 10.2-inch iPad (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray
Best iPad for Drawing
2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi‑Fi, 128GB) - Space Gray
Need a Stylus?
Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)
Best iPad for Kids
2021 Apple 10.2-inch iPad (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray
Protect Your iPad with a Tough Kids Case
HDE iPad Case for Kids with Handle/Stand
Best iPad for Travel
2021 Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray
8.3-inch Screen Too Small?
iPad (9th Gen)
Best Laptop Replacement
2021 Apple 11-inch iPad Pro (Wi‑Fi, 128GB) - Silver
Apple's Best Keyboard Accessory
Apple Magic Keyboard (for iPad Pro 11-inch - 3rd Generati...
Best Large iPad
2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi‑Fi, 128GB) - Space Gray
Best Small iPad
2021 Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray
Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over 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 nearly one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.