We're hearing reports that Apple has finally released iOS 6. Here we tell you how to update to iOS 6.

If your phone is running iOS 5 you should have received an alert on your iPhone or iPad letting you know that there is a Software Update available.

You will be able to update over the air (via Wi-Fi) or by plugging your device into your Mac (or PC) and starting up iTunes. If you aren’t running iOS 5 you will have to update via iTunes (version 10.7) as over the air updates came with iOS 5.

That’s as long as your iPhone or iPad is iOS 6 compatible.

iPhones: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 (ships with iOS 6)

iPads: iPad 2, new iPad (third-generation)

iPod touch: iPod touch (4th-generation), iPod touch (5th-generation, ships with iOS 6)

You are our of luck if you have an original iPhone, iPhone 3G, original iPod touch, iPod touch 2nd-gen, iPod touch 3rd-gen, or an original iPad.

If you didn’t see the update pop up on your iPhone or iPad, tap Settings, General, Software Update. You should see that there is an update available for your device.

Just tap Download to download the iOS 6 update and tap Install to upgrade iOS.

Our advice: make sure you back up your iPad or iPhone first. Inevitably some people will loose data, or find that all their icons change position. Make sure you are fully charged too – you don’t want to run out of battery mid update (your device will tell you it needs to be plugged in before you update for that very reason).

You might even want to wait a few days to see just how bad the reception for Apple’s new Maps app is, or read our review to check what you are getting in to before updating to iOS 6.  

READ OUR iOS 6 REVIEW: Apple iOS 6 review: all the new features - Maps, Flyover, Siri, Facebook, Do Not Disturb, Passbook for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

New iOS 6 features

Maps: Apple’s new operating system comes with a brand new Maps system, featuring vector-based maps, satellite imagery, free turn-by-turn directions, points of interest displayed inline on the map, and new 3D Flyover locations including San Francisco, London, Boston, and Sydney.

Notification Center: With iOS 6, you’ll be able to send a tweet or Facebook status directly from Notification Center. Facebook has also been built into iOS system-wide, so you can use Siri to send a status message, share images and websites through Facebook, and more.

Safari: Safari sports a fullscreen landscape mode in iOS 6 in addition to iCloud Tabs, which lets you sync your open webpages across any other iOS devices (running iOS 6) and Macs (running OS X Mountain Lion) that are connected to your iCloud account.

Mail: You can designate Very Important Persons both within Mail on iOS 6 and on a Mac running Mountain Lion; messages from those VIPs will show up in a special folder in Mail on iOS 6. In addition, you can create special notifications for those VIPs in Notification Center. Flagged messages also now appear in a new Flagged mailbox.

Passbook: Apple’s sole new app in iOS 6, Passbook lets you store and collect all your passes and tickets digitally, whether they be movie tickets, boarding passes, coupons, concert passes, or store cards. You can shred tickets when you’re done with them; certain store cards and passes will automatically appear on your lock screen when you’re nearby the location indicated on the pass.

Shared Photo Streams: A new addition to the Photos app, Shared Photo Streams lets you collect images to share with family and friends via iCloud or via the web. You can comment on images shared to you, and like them as well.

Siri: If it’s sports or movie queries you have, Siri’s your man—hypothetically speaking. Apple’s virtual voice-driven assistant can also launch apps, make reservations for dinner, and post to your social networks.

... And even more: Though not demonstrated on-stage, Forstall also briefly mentioned iOS 6’s updates to the Phone app, FaceTime over cellular data, and the accessibility feature Guided Access, which limits users to a single app and can disable buttons.

Related:

UK misses out on some iOS 6 features, but gets Siri local search at last

iPhone owners wait for what's in the cards with iOS 6's Passbook

Apple's iPhone 5 review round-up: What the critics say

iOS 6 Apple's most secure iOS yet but still poses some privacy concerns - report

Developers prep for iPhone 5's screen, iOS 6 launch

iPhone 5 review