Our Guide to Apple's iOS: Which Phone Has Which Version?

iOS (iPhone Operating System) is the operating system that Apple’s iPhone runs on, and it’s at the core of the iPhone user experience. A system that’s as old as the iPhone itself it has gone through a number of changes over the years, with the latest version, the iOS 17, rolled out in 2023. Apple’s iOS operating system is one of the world’s most popular operating systems. Sleek, streamlined and convenient, Apple iOS’s main features include strong security, high-resolution displays and graphics, and an exclusive app store with more than two million choices.

Why is it important to know which version of iOS your Apple iPhone is running? There are a few reasons. Apple regularly releases iOS security updates to patch up vulnerabilities and protect your iPhone from the latest malware and bugs. Certain apps require the most up-to-date version of Apple’s iOS operating system in order to run properly. When you need support for your iPhone, knowing the iOS version makes it easier for the technicians to work out a solution.

If you’ve just bought a refurbished or second-hand iPhone, you might be wondering which version of iOS it’s running and whether the security and features are up to date. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to check and update your iOS when you need to. Here’s our brief guide to the history of iOS and which iPhones the various versions are compatible with.  

The Different iOS Versions

iOS has a long and detailed history with a variety of milestones. Here’s our rundown of the history of the Apple iOS operating system, starting at the beginning:

iOS 1

The earliest version of the operating system, released in 2007, came pre-installed on the very first iPhone. Originally called the iPhone OS, it lacked what would become some of Apple iOS’s main features, like third-party apps. But with exciting developments like Visual Voicemail and a multi-touch screen, it was revolutionary for its time.

iOS 2

After the roaring success of the debut iPhone model, Apple released the iOS 2.0 to go with the iPhone 3G. The most exciting new feature was the App Store and its support for third-party apps.

iOS 3

Released in 2010, this version of iOS was notable for being the first to support the iPad.

iOS 4

The iOS 4 introduced a number of new developments that would become Apple iOS's main features, including FaceTime and Multitasking.

iOS 5

With the iOS 5, Apple embraced the growing wireless trend by introducing iCloud and iMessage features. This was the last version of the iOS that Steve Jobs would see before he passed away in 2011.

iOS 6

Unravelled in 2012, this is the update that brought the world Siri, Apple Maps and Passbook (now called Wallet).

iOS 7

With the release of the iOS 7, Apple overhauled the entire user interface to make it more modern and introduced Touch ID, AirDrop and CarPlay.

iOS 8

2014’s iOS 8 was a huge update as far as new features go. It saw the introduction of the contactless Apple Pay payment system, Apple Music and iCloud Drive, among other features.

iOS 9

Released in 2015, the iOS 9 saw Apple focus heavily on speed, responsiveness, stability and performance, with new features including Night Shift and Low Power Mode.

iOS 10

Apple’s focus for the iOS 10 was customisation and connection. It allowed apps to communicate with and even borrow features from one another without the need to open a second app.

iOS 11

While iOS 11 was still an update for the iPhone, its focus was on the iPad—specifically, turning iPad Pro tablets into serious laptop replacements. The changes Apple introduced to make this happen included multiple workspaces, split-screen apps, and drop-and-drag support.

A black iPhone facedown on a black surface. The camera focus is on the bottom end of the phone.

iOS 12

Rather than reinventing the wheel, the iOS 12 update focused on making some changes to already popular features, such as improved augmented reality with ARKit 2 and Siri Shortcuts.

iOS 13

With the release of iOS 13, the operating system no longer ran on the iPad—the iPad OS took over that role. New features of iOS 13 included system-wide Dark Mode and new privacy and security options. The update also made it faster to launch apps and unlock your iPhone with Face ID.

iOS 14

Instead of making any major changes, 2020’s iOS 14 update made numerous small and medium-sized upgrades like enhanced privacy features and built-in translation for 11 languages.

iOS 15

2021’s iOS 15 raised the bar for Apple’s iOS system in a number of significant ways. New FaceTime features included SharePlay, Spatial Audio and Portrait Mode, while the Photos app gained Live Text and Visual Search.

iOS 16

The iOS 16 made some much-needed upgrades and additional features, such as Apple Pay Later for Apple Wallet and multi-stop routing in Apple Maps.

iOS 17

Announced in June 2023 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple’s iOS 17 made notable changes to Siri, FaceTime and Messages, as well as introducing a new fullscreen experience called StandBy. While you’re charging the phone, you can put it on the landscape to display the time and other essential information in an easy-to-read way.

Which iPhones have which iOS Version?

It’s easy to find out which Apple iOS operating system your iPhone has. When it comes to having access to new features that only iOS 17 supports, you can access them on any phone from 2018 onwards. This includes iPhones XS and XR to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. The iPhone X and iPhone 8/8 Plus still run on iOS 16, while the iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPhone 6/6 Plus, and iPhone SE Gen 1 run on iOS 15.

For now, Apple still supports iOS 16 and iOS 15 with security updates, but iOS 14 and 13 are considered obsolete by Apple. The phones that run these operating systems can run iOS 15 just as well.  

How To Check Which Version Your iPhone Has

To find out which version of iOS your iPhone is currently running, go to Settings > General > About, and you’ll find the iOS version number. The same steps apply to find out on your iPad.

How to Upgrade To the Latest iOS Version

To see if your iPhone is eligible for the latest iOS upgrade, go to Settings > General > Software Update. Your iPhone will then check for updates. You may also see a ‘Software Update Available’ notification on your settings page.

The Latest Refurbished iPhones at OzMobiles

A side view of a stack of different iPhones and iPads. They are stacked with two iPads at the bottom and then recent iPhones through to older iPhones. The iPhone second from the top has a light blue case on.

If you want a quality refurbished smartphone that’s still supported by iOS, your best option is to check out the refurbished iPhone range right here at OzMobiles.

Our refurbished iPhones and other Apple products are restored to the best possible condition. There are plenty of iPhones to choose from, including recent models, and all of them have been restored to a level of quality that’s as close to new as a second-hand phone can be.

If you have any questions about the OzMobiles refurbished iPhone range, get in touch with the OzMobiles team


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