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Apple held its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 4th, with announcements that included advances in Augmented Reality, upgrades to device operating systems, and brand-wide commitments to ideals like consumer privacy.

Some of the more compelling announcements related to iOS (the iPhone/iPad operating system), which is getting its twelfth release this fall. There are some great new iOS 12 features, such as letting up to 32 people join in a FaceTime call, creating your own sequence of Siri commands using Shortcuts, and ease of use improvements to notifications and do not disturb. But to our team, one of the most exciting iOS features was the most straightforward: This update is for everyone currently on iOS 11, and it’s going to drastically improve the performance of your iPhone.

Every fall, usually in September or October, Apple releases a new iOS version, and makes a decision about which iPhones can run the updated operating system. Often when a new iOS is released, the oldest generation of iPhones are dropped from the list of supported devices. When iOS 10 was released, it supported the iPhone 5 (released in 2012), but the iPhone 5 was dropped from the list of supported devices for iOS 11. This has to do with Apple’s constant hardware improvements to the iPhone, which means as newer and more demanding features are added to the operating system, an older phone’s hardware either cannot handle the new features, or it would not perform at a level in keeping with Apple’s standards.

This year, the same devices that work with the current iOS 11 software will also work with iOS 12, which means anyone running the latest version of iOS will be able to take advantage of iOS 12’s new features. Does that mean the older iPhones have the proper hardware to make iOS 12 a good user experience? The improvements that were reported during the keynote sounded very promising.

In the keynote demo, an iPhone 6 Plus (released in 2014) was used as an example of an older iPhone that could take advantage of performance improvements in iOS 12. Because the iPhone 6 Plus is no longer sold by Apple, it provides a good example of functionality for customers who haven’t recently upgraded their phone. The iPhone 6 Plus reported apps launching 40% faster, the onscreen keyboard launching 50% faster, sliding to take a photo opening 70% faster, and applications launching twice as fast while the phone is under heavy utilization. This is the kind of optimization that can make an older device feel brand new, and makes iOS 12 a worthwhile upgrade.

If you’re happy with your current phone but have been wondering if you’ll need to upgrade when the new iPhones are out this fall, you may want to wait a moment. Between the new optimization and performance increases outlined in the keynote for iOS 12, and Apple’s $29 battery replacement program, which runs through the end of 2018, a fairly small expenditure could make your iPhone feel as good as new.

If you have questions about the new iOS releasing this fall, or whether to extend the life of your current device or upgrade to a new one, please contact us and we’d be happy to advise you.