Here’s how to download iOS 12 on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

iOS 12
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Apple has released iOS 12, the latest version of its mobile and tablet operating system. While the update mainly focuses on delivering a faster and more responsive OS across a range of older iPhones and iPads, it also packs a host of new apps and features

The new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR ship with it pre-installed, but here we’ll take a look at how to install iOS 12 on older iPhones and iPads.

Compatible devices

First, make sure your device is capable of running iOS 12. Like iOS 11, iOS 12 is only compatible with 64-bit devices — which means 32-bit devices like the iPhone 5 won’t be able to run the update.

Here are the supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices:

  • iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X
  • iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 4 iPad 9.7 inch, iPad Pro 9.7 inch, iPad Pro 12.9 inch, iPad Pro 10.5 inch
  • iPod Touch (sixth generation)

Back up your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Before you update to the iOS 12, you should make sure to back up your device’s data. That way, if you lose anything while downloading the new OS, it will be easy to restore things back to the way they were.

You can choose to back up data on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch via iCloud — or via iTunes on a PC or Mac.

Here’s how to back up an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch using iCloud:

  • Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Open Settings, select your name, and tap iCloud. (If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier, you’ll have to scroll down and tap iCloud).
  • Tap iCloud Backup. (For those on iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap Backup). Also, make sure that iCloud Backup is turned on.
  • Tap Back Up Now.
  • You should also make sure to check the backup is completed. You can do this by opening Settings, tapping on your name, going to iCloud > iCloud Storage > Manage Storage and tapping on your device from the list.

If you choose to back up your device using a computer, you can use the built-in backup function via iTunes.

Here’s how to back up an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch using iTunes:

  • Make sure your iTunes is updated to the latest version, open it up, and plug your iOS device in.
  • Follow the onscreen steps if a message asks for your device password or to Trust This Computer.
  • Select your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch when it appears in iTunes.
  • You can save Health and Activity data from your iOS device or Apple Watch by selecting Encrypt and creating a pass code. If you don’t want to save your Health and Activity data, you can just click Back Up Now.
  • After the process is done, you can check to see if the backup finished successfully by clicking iTunes Preferences > Devices (on a Mac) or Edit > Preferences > Devices (on a PC).

How to download and install iOS 12 on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

The easiest way to get iOS 12 is to install it right on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch you want to update.

  • Go to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • A notification about iOS 12 should appear and you can tap Download and Install.
  • It can take a while, during which time you won’t be able to use your device, so tap Install Tonight or Remind Me Later if you want to postpone for a more convenient time.

How to download and install iOS 12 from iTunes on your PC and Mac

If you prefer, you can download and install iOS 12 from your computer using iTunes. Here’s how:

  • Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed.
  • Connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your computer.
  • Open iTunes and select your device. In iTunes 12, you click the device’s icon in the upper-right corner of the iTunes window.
  • Click Summary > Check for Update.
  • Click Download and Update.
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