iOS 12: What You Need To Know

Can you run iOS 12 on your iPhone or iPad?

While iOS 12 isn't revolutionary in terms of what it adds, it's another solid improvement to the world's best mobile operating system and delivers many useful new features. From better notification management to group FaceTime (coming after the initial iOS 12 rollout), from stronger online privacy tools to faster performance, iOS 12 makes Apple devices more enjoyable to use. Learn all about iOS 12 — whether you can run it, what features it brings, and much more — in this article.

iOS 12 Compatible Apple Devices

iPhone iPod touch iPad
iPhone XR 6th gen. iPod touch iPad Pro series
iPhone XS series   iPad Air series
iPhone X   6th gen. iPad
iPhone 8 series   5th gen. iPad
iPhone 7 series   iPad mini 4
iPhone 6S series    
iPhone 6 series    
iPhone SE   iPad mini 3
iPhone 5S   iPad mini 2

If your device isn't listed in this chart, you can't run iOS 12. 

For more on upgrading to a new, iOS 12-compatible device, check out "What To Do If Your Device Isn't Compatible" later in this article.

Getting iOS 12

In order to get iOS 12, just go to Settings > General > Software Update. If your device can run iOS 12, it will let you know it's available. Make sure to back up your device before installing iOS 12.

For more in-depth instructions on how to upgrade your device's operating system, read How to Update iOS Wirelessly on the iPhone.

Key iOS 12 Features

Some of the most important and exciting features of iOS 12 include: 

  • Improvements to Notifications:
    • Grouped notifications now display all notifications from a single app in a "stack" on top of each other, rather than covering the whole screen.
    • Quiet notifications appear in Notification Center, but not the lockscreen, so you are not interrupted by lower-priority items.
  • Multi-step Siri: Siri can now perform multi-step tasks from a single command, either by learning a set of actions or by the user creating the tasks using the new Shortcuts app.
  • ARKit 2: New Augmented Reality features include better object detection, image rendering and, most importantly, the ability for multiple users to "see" same AR object in the same location.
  • Measure: A new AR app for measuring things comes pre-installed.
  • Group FaceTime: FaceTime now supports video chats with up to 32 people.
  • Screen Time: A new feature designed to help users and parents track time spent using their devices, on the web, and in apps. Provides reports of usage and lets you set timers. Parents can set limits on kids' devices.
  • New Privacy Features: By default, Safari will block Facebook Share and Comment buttons to limit how Facebook tracks users around the web and advertises to them. Users will have to click on Share and Comment buttons to load them. Safari will also start providing less-useful device information to ad networks to make it harder for advertisers to follow you around the web and target ads to you.
  • Faster performance: Common tasks will now be faster, including 70% faster launching the Camera app from the lockscreen, 50% faster appearance of the keyboard, and an overall 40% boost in app-launching speed if you are running older devices.
  • Do Not Disturb: A handful of new features, including Do Not Disturb at bedtime and new, shorter settings enabled with just a couple of taps, like a 1-hour setting for meetings.
  • Memoji: Users can now create custom Animoji that looks like them and use them anywhere Animoji can be used.
  • New Animoji: A koala, tiger, ghost, and T. rex are new Animoji characters in iOS 12. 
  • Apple Books: iBooks is renamed Apple Books and gets a new design.
  • CarPlay: Third-party navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze are now supported in CarPlay.

What To Do If Your Device Isn't Compatible

As mentioned earlier, if your device isn't in the table at the top of this page, it can't run iOS 12. That may be disappointing, but you couldn't run iOS 11, either, so nothing has changed in that regard.

One could argue that if you can't run iOS 12, your device is fairly old. But if it's working fine for you, maybe that's all you need. It certainly doesn't cost any money to not upgrade.

iOS 12 Release Dates

  • iOS 12.1.3 release: Jan. 22, 2019
  • iOS 12.1.2 release: Dec. 17, 2018
  • iOS 12.1.1 release: Dec. 5, 2018
  • iOS 12.1 release: Oct. 30, 2018
  • iOS 12.0.1 release: Oct. 8, 2018
  • iOS 12 release: September 17, 2018.
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