Apple officially released its latest mobile operating system iOS 8 today for all compatible devices. The new OS was originally revealed a few months ago and its release date was finally announced just last week during Apple’s big event where the company also unveiled its next generation smartphones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as its own smartwatch, the Apple Watch, and a slew of new services including Apple Pay, the company’s own NFC-based payment system.
iOS 8 is compatible with many of the company’s devices including the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display. Older devices will sadly have to stick with iOS 7 or whichever version of Apple’s mobile operating system is still compatible with them.
While the new OS generally keeps the same design style of its predecessor with a few slight tweaks, iOS 8 brings with it a slew of new features including ones that support Apple’s new “Continuity” plan that seeks to seamlessly integrate the company’s mobile and desktop devices. The new OS also features a new QuickType predictive keyboard along with the ability for users to use third-party keyboards, a feature that’s long been unavailable to Apple mobile devices but available on competing ones. There’s also a new Health app, a new Notification Center, a new Messages app, and a new Family Sharing feature.
“We’re excited for hundreds of millions of users to begin experiencing iOS 8, with incredible features that offer new ways to use your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “iOS 8 also creates an extraordinary environment for developers, providing them the ability to create amazing new apps like never before.”
The update can be downloaded in either of two ways – either through an over-the-air (OTA) update directly to the device or downloaded and installed via iTunes through USB cable. Not everyone will be able to download the update right away though as Apple usually rolls out the update to users in stages to avoid over straining the company’s update servers but everyone should be able to gain access to the update within the day.
Additionally, iOS 8 will come pre-installed on both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, both of which will begin rolling out later this week on Friday, September 19.