Apple’s iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices all run the iOS operating system. 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 12

The latest major version of Apple’s iOS operating system is iOS 12, which Apple first released on September 17, 2018. Apple releases new major versions of iOS roughly once every twelve months.

iOS 12 features Screen Time to help you keep track of how much you use your iPhone or iPad, grouped notifications, improved performance, a Measure app, and more.

RELATED: What’s New in iOS 12, Arriving Today, September 17

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 12?

If your device tells you your software is up to date, but you aren’t running iOS 12 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 12 operating system:

  • iPhone: 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 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, and iPhone 5s
  • iPad: 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation), 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st generation), 10.5-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad (6th generation), iPad (5th generation), iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, and iPad mini 2
  • iPod touch: iPod touch (6th generation)

These are the same devices that were compatible with iOS 11, too. If you have iOS 11, you can upgrade to iOS 12.

If you have an older iPhone, iPad, or iPod that isn’t on this list, you won’t be offered iOS 12 on the Software Update screen. You can still install the latest version that is compatible with your device. But, to get iOS 12, you’ll need a new device.

Image Credit: Denys Prykhodov/

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 been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6 and Chicago's WGN-TV, and his work has been covered by news outlets like The New York Times and 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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