Should I install iOS 12 on my old iPhone or iPad?

iOS 12 supports devise going all the way back to the iPhone 5S and iPad Air, both released at the end of 2013. But does iOS 12 put a spring in the step of these old devices, or will it just slow them down to the point of making them essentially obsolete?

Not all of you buy a new iPhone or iPad every year. I don't think that many of you do, and to be honest it isn't something that I recommend. In fact, I recommend that you plan for a new device offering you a good three years of service before it makes technical sense to upgrade (that said, it's your cash, and if you want new devices every year, go for it).

While installing iOS 12 is a no-brainer for those running newer devices, what about those who have older devices? In the past, major releases of iOS did little more than kludge up older devices, making them essentially obsolete.

Does iOS 12 change this?

Also: iOS 12 features you should try today

While I can't speak for every iOS device out there, based on my testing of iOS 12 on older iPhones and iPads, this release seems to be worth installing.

Take, for example, my old iPhone 6 Plus. Under iOS 11 this device felt old and kludgy, and that was my primary motivation for buying an iPhone 8 Plus. And under the early betas of iOS 12, that older iPhone felt slower and kludgier.

But then things started to change. I started to notice that my test devices felt snappier as the betas progressed.

According to Apple, iOS 12 is up to 70 percent faster when swiping to the camera, up to 50 percent faster at displaying the keyboard, and apps load up to twice as fast under heavy workload compared to iOS 11. Based on my testing, Apple has accomplished all this.

But this stuff is hard to benchmark, and some of the improvements feel subjective. For example, apps feel like they fire up faster when the system is under load, but I'm not sure how much quicker they are to get to a usable state.

But even benchmark tests I've carried out suggest a small uptick in performance.

I've seen similar results on other devices, going back to the iPhone 5S and iPad Air. Overall, the iOS 12 experience on older devices is noticeably better than the iOS 11 experience. The keyboard and camera responsiveness is clearly there, and there's a snappiness to using the devices that hadn't been there for years.

Also: Apple iOS 12: Cheat sheet TechRepublic

Credit where it's due, Apple has done a good job with iOS 12 of making it work well on older devices.

If you've got an older iPhone or iPad that's been consigned to the 'Tech Drawer of Doom," it might be worth recharging it and seeing if this update gives it a new lease of life.

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