Four new versions of Apple’s operating systems are available this fall—iOS 12, macOS 10.14 Mojave, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12. This handy FAQ will help you figure out what to do about these free upgrades.
What’s a good rule of thumb about when to upgrade?
Although details vary by operating system, it’s best to upgrade within a few weeks or months after an upgrade comes out, but at a time that works for you. Delaying an upgrade unnecessarily prevents you from enjoying new features and puts you at risk for security vulnerabilities. Waiting can also cause trouble if you have to replace a device quickly, since you’ll have to deal with the changes then, regardless of whether or not it’s convenient.
Will iOS 12 slow down my iPhone or iPad?
Nope! iOS 12 actually enhances performance, particularly for older devices like the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air. You can expect a faster response to actions like launching an app, calling up the camera, and displaying the onscreen keyboard.
When should I install iOS 12?
Thanks to zippier behavior and useful new capabilities, we recommend installing iOS 12 relatively soon after it becomes available. To be safe, wait a week or two to give Apple a chance to iron out any unanticipated wrinkles.
What should I try right away in iOS 12?
The most interesting new feature may be the one that helps you use your device less: Screen Time. Screen Time helps you track and control when you use your device—and for what. Check it out in Settings > Screen Time. For a child, you can set up parental controls directly within Screen Time on your child’s device, but if you use Family Sharing, you can do setup and management remotely from your iOS 12 device.
Anything else to know about iOS 12?
The FaceTime app works as usual for one-on-one video and audio chats, but you’ll be able to chat with up to 32 people at once when the multi-person feature appears later in 2018.
For a deeper look at iOS 12, read our article Why We are Excited about iOS 12 and Think You Will Be Too.
What’s interesting in macOS 10.14 Mojave?
Mojave brings an optional new Dark mode that displays windows with gray text on a black background, plus gorgeous new Desktop wallpaper images that coordinate with Dark mode. Other wallpapers even change dynamically throughout the day. A Stacks feature organizes Desktop icons into sensible groups, and a new Finder window view, called Gallery, replaces Cover Flow view.
Plus, Quick Actions, found in the Finder window preview pane and in Quick Look, let you edit files in common ways without opening them, so, for example, you can easily rotate a photo or mark up a PDF.
iPhone users will also appreciate Continuity Camera, a feature that lets you take a photo or scan a document on your iOS 12 iPhone and insert it instantly into a Mac document or email message.
Finally, new privacy features make it harder for a rogue app to make trouble on your Mac.
When should I install Mojave?
Although Mojave has some interesting new features, it’s a major upgrade that could cause problems with your workflow. We recommend waiting until Apple has squashed early bugs with updates to 10.14.1 or 10.14.2. Also, don’t upgrade until you’ve confirmed that your essential apps are fully compatible with Mojave. If you’re concerned, come in and ask us!
What’s timely in watchOS 5?
watchOS 5 brings automatic workout detection to your wrist, so if you forget to start your workout, the Workouts app notifies you and can even record your activity so far. In addition, you’ll find new workouts and activity competitions. watchOS 5 also now features a Walkie-Talkie app, improved notifications, and a smarter Siri watch face. Plus Apple’s Podcasts app finally makes its Apple Watch debut.
Should I wait to install watchOS 5?
There’s no reason to wait. Once you’ve installed iOS 12, which is a prerequisite for watchOS 5, go ahead and install watchOS 5.
What’s new in tvOS 12 on my Apple TV?
tvOS 12 moves the Apple TV’s capabilities forward by adding compatibility with Dolby Atmos soundscapes to the Apple TV 4K. The Aerial screensaver picks up Earth, a gorgeous new view filmed from the International Space Station. And, you can now tap the Siri Remote touchpad to see where an Aerial view was taken. iPhone users will appreciate a new feature where you start typing a password on the Apple TV and autofill it from a notification on a nearby iPhone.
Your Apple TV may be set to upgrade automatically. If it’s not, we recommend upgrading whenever you want—there’s no reason to wait.