iOS 12 already at 50% adoption... and that's before the Emoji update

Yeah, you laugh, but emoji are one of the biggest update drivers, because people are people, and those aren't coming until iOS 12.1, a little later this fall. Meanwhile, iOS 12 has hit 50% in less than a month in public release. iOS 11 is down to 39%, all other previous versions a combined 7%. And that's counting any 32-bit devices that simply can't run iOS 12.

iOS release dates shift very slightly, Apple doesn't update the numbers at regular intervals, and different amounts of devices become incompatible with the latest updates, all of which conspire to make year-over-year comparisons problematic, but here are the figures for roughly the same periods over the last few years:

  • iOS 12: 50% as of October 11, 2018.
  • iOS 11: 52% as of November 11, 2017.
  • iOS 10: 54% as of October 11, 2016.
  • iOS 9: 61% as of October 19, 2015.
  • iOS 8: 56% as of November 11, 2014.

Although it's an Apple's to Google's comparison at best, and the numbers haven't been updated to include the latest version, Pie, Android is currently sitting at almost 20% for last year's Oreo, almost 30% for the previous year's Nougat, almost 22% for the year before that's Marshmallow, and around 20% for the year before that's Kit Kat.

And yeah, the models are completely different, but the availability of updates, for all devices, in all regions, on all carriers, is absolutely something everyone should factor into every purchase decision they make. "It's the same bits I bought!" is rationalization and excuse-making that'll serve you not at all when a critical bug fix or sought-after feature just never comes your way.

Read our complete iOS 12 review

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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • iOS 12 is a really great update, whilst it doesn't have as many new features as you'd usually expect, the performance increases are worth updating for, especially if you have an older device. It will be interesting to see how this figure changes with the "auto-update" feature.
  • Lol. Leave it to Rene to champion a skewed statistic from Apple. When iOS harasses you DAILY to update, sneakily installs without prompting on your part and doesn't allow you to downgrade once you find the newest version is plagued with bugs, I'm not surprised at the adoption rate. In fact I'm surprised it's not higher.
  • You're not forced to upgrade, the most you'll get is one upgrade prompt a day, there's no sneaky installing without your permission
  • You come forward with some great comments sometimes. Not today.
    They do it through the back door at best a blatantly at worst.
    So, I can have an old Mac that I can restore from a disc/app/download/USB/etc. My iPhone regardless of age can only be restored to probably the latest iOS version. Apple are forcing you to upgrade by this methodology.
    One prompt a day is as annoying as ****.
    I know so many people that have read that prompt wrong and installed inadvertently. (Wondering if that happened to me as I'm sure I cancelled it but the next morning it had installed). Get out of my devices Apple, I need them for work and don't want you messing up something that works just fine, and DON'T eat my data by downloading in the background. Come on man, admit this is Apple being a ******.
  • The prompts are annoying I agree, and I do wish you could revert back to older iOS versions in case something does go wrong. As far as I'm aware, the updates shouldn't download over data, but I could be wrong
  • This year, I’m touring North America in an RV and data usage is one thing I monitor often.
    Never has an iOS update been downloaded, let alone installed, through 3G/LTE.
    The prompt may appear but it only downloads on WiFi network and only when I tell it.
  • EEK. that was me being a little ambiguous. Not everybody on a home wifi connection is on unlimited. The number of times that thing has downloaded and been deleted annoys the bejesus out of me.
    In addition the latest version of iTunes has no AppStore which means that everybody needs to download apps more than once if you have more than one iDevice. Yeah I'm sure you could download some enterprise management app to do it but what happened to the simplicity?
  • Still iOS updates should never download as long as you dismiss the prompt, even though I know that's a nuisance to repeatedly do. To be fair the amount of people who have limited data on home Wi-Fi gets smaller and smaller each day, and seems to mainly be an issue in America, whereas most places in Europe it's just standard to have unlimited data in your home. I can see why the iTunes App Store doesn't exist anymore, many people didn't use it, I only used it once or twice, and for Apple they essentially had two types of "App Store" to manage, the iTunes version and the iOS version, it makes it a lot simpler for them to only have to manage 1 version. I think it's still simple for the consumer, I've never had a problem getting apps from the App Store on my phone, if you struggle with the App Store's search engine you can try on your phone, and the links will lead you directly to the App Store.