Will my iPad, iPhone or iPod support iOS 8? Is it worth getting a new device ahead of the iOS update so that I can take advantage of the new features in iOS 8? Updated, 2 June 2014, with the official details

iOS 8 preview

One of the sad bits of an iOS version update is the hard decisions you have to make with older hardware - an old iPhone, iPad or iPod touch may not be able to harness all the new features, or run the OS at all. Has the time come to upgrade your hardware in order to make a software upgrade?

iOS 8 was unveiled tonight at WWDC 2014, and some Apple fans will be crushed to learn that their devices won't be able to run the new operating system. Here's what made the cut, and will be able to run iOS 8:

  • iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s (...and presumably iPhone 6 when it launches?)
  • iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air (...and iPad 6 and/or iPad Pro when and if they launch)
  • iPad mini 1 and iPad mini 2 with Retina display (...and iPad mini 3 when it launches)
  • iPod touch 5G

Bear in mind, however, that the devices towards the lower ends of those sets will only get a partial share of the features in iOS 8. It's also possible that they will struggle with performance issues - the iPhone 4 was the oldest iPhone that could run iOS 7, and ran noticeably slowly compared to iOS 6.

iOS 8 features wishlist: the changes iPhone and iPad users want in Apple's iOS 8

Which iPads and iPhones ran previous versions of iOS?

If you're interested in iOS history, here's a list of the devices that supported previous versions of iOS. We used these to observe the trends and make our predictions before tonight's official announcements.

  • iPhone OS 3: iPhone 1 and later; iPad 1 and later; iPod touch 1G and later
  • iOS 4: iPhone 3G and later; iPad 1 and later; iPod touch 2G and later
  • iOS 5: iPhone 3GS and later; iPad 1 and later; iPod touch 3G and later
  • iOS 6: iPhone 3GS and later; iPad 2 and later; iPad mini 1 and later; iPod touch 4G and later
  • iOS 7: iPhone 4 and later; iPad 2 and later; iPad mini 1 and later; iPod touch 5G

Which Apple devices will support iOS 8: our original predictions, and how we did

As we can see above, iPod touch support has tended to move up at the rate of one generation of iPod per version of iOS; at this rate we’d expect iOS 8 to only be available on a speculative sixth-generation iPod touch. But such a device doesn’t exist yet. One could conceivably be unveiled alongside iOS 8, but we think it’s more likely that iOS 8 will be supported by the 5th-gen iPod touch only. That’s an easy one to start with. Update: we got this right - but it was quite an easy one!

How to prepare for the iOS 8 launch: Save your blobs, check the small print, read the reviews and join the beta (maybe)

iPad support has dropped off more slowly: the iPad 1 was launched while iPhone OS 3 was still (just) the current software, yet was able to run iOS 5 two versions later.

The iPad 2 has been the bottom rung for both iOS 6 and iOS 7, and may well be removed from the list of iOS 8-compatible hardware (especially as Apple no longer sells this tablet). Our prediction is that iOS 8 will be compatible with the iPad 3 and later. Update: nope - the iPad 2 survives.

It's possible that the iPad mini 1 won’t be able to run iOS 8 but, with the device still on sale and only two possible mini models for buyers to choose from, we think this is unlikely. Update: correct.

iPad Air

iPhones have been moved downwards on the iOS ladder at the rate of one model every one to two versions of iOS. Which suggests that the iPhone 4 might survive, and it might not (it’s only been on the bottom rung for a single version). But given the performance problems that have beset iPhone 4 models running iOS 7 (slightly alleviated, admittedly, by iOS 7.1), we think it will almost certainly be removed from iOS 8 compatibility. Our prediction is iPhone 4s and later. Update: correct

Best free iPhone apps

More coverage of WWDC 2014

What should you expect at Apple's developer conference starting 2 June? Here at Macworld, we've got it covered.

Want to know what happened last year? At WWDC 2013, Apple unveiled OS X 10.9 Mavericks and iOS 7, both of which were released as beta versions after the event, as well as the new Mac Pro, a new MacBook AiriTunes Radio, and iWork for iCloud.

Take a closer look at Apple's WWDC history in our slideshow of Apple's WWDC launches from the past 10 years.

This year, Apple is likely to unveil iOS 8, as we've discussed here, and OS X 10.10, as well as other new products such as a Retina MacBook Air, and maybe even an iPhone 6 and an iWatch.

Finally, we discuss likely developments at WWDC 2014 in a series of videos: