Apple released iOS 12 to the public this Monday, where it immediately became available for download on a sizable list of supported devices. As announced at WWDC this year, iOS 12 is a conservative release intended to prioritize performance improvements and bug fixes over shiny new features.
As it turns out, iOS 12 delivers on those promises.
New Life for Old Hardware
Apple’s continued support for the iPhone 5S and iPad Air directly contradicts the idea that the company intentionally sabotages older hardware.
Ever since the release of iOS 7 for the iPhone 4 and the release of iOS 8 for the iPhone 4S, it’s been clear that new iOS releases have the potential to cripple old hardware. However, this isn’t 2014 anymore, and Apple is supporting a much more capable lineup of devices. It’s also clear that Apple is trying to provide a more consistent and usable experience across all supported devices.
iOS 12 is remarkably fast on an original iPad Air, a device that was sold so long ago that it originally shipped with iOS 7. There’s no fooling anyone into thinking that an Air with iOS 12 is a brand-new iPad, but it turns an almost-obsolete tablet into a very usable device.
On my iPhone 7, iOS 12 feels just as fast as it did with iOS 10, which is what it originally shipped with back in 2016. There’s less dropped frames than in iOS 11, and this is the first time I can remember an iOS update making my phone feel faster instead of making it feel slightly out of date. It doesn’t hurt that almost all the new features in iOS 12 are supported across Apple’s entire lineup as well, with the exception of ARKit which requires an A9 processor or later (iPhone 6S or newer).
In the end, it’s great to see Apple committing to a better user experience for new and old iOS customers. There’s never been a better time to own an older iPhone.