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

VECTOR | Rene Ritchie