iOS 6 is the sixth major release of the iOSmobile operating system designed by Apple Inc., initially released on September 19, 2012. The final version of iOS 6 is 6.1.6. It was preceded by iOS 5 (final version was 5.1.1) and was succeeded by iOS 7 on September 18, 2013. Until now, iOS 6 is still running on about 8% of devices (the percentage including non-supported devices)  The current version, besides iOS 7's is 90% (the percentage including non-supported devices) 
On September 12, 2012 at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, among other items unveiled, Apple announced three iOS-related items; the release of the next generation of iPhone, called iPhone 5, the fifth-generation iPod Touch, and the expected final release of iOS 6.0. The September 19 release date of iOS 6 was announced at this event.
While the iPhone 5 came installed with iOS 6 starting September 21, other units will require an over-the-air update or an install through iTunes. An update to iTunes version 10.7, which was released on September 12, 2012 is necessary to install the iOS 6 update on a device.
The release of iOS 6 is Apple’s fastest beta-to-product development for its mobile OS.
Unlike previous iOS versions, two notable apps that iOS 6 removed by default are Google Maps and YouTube. However, they can be downloaded for free in the iTunes App Store.
The built-in Maps app uses Apple's new vector-based engine that eliminates the lag present while downloading bitmaps from Google's servers, making for smoother zooming. New to Maps is turn-by-turn navigation spoken directions in certain countries, 3D views in some major cities and real-time traffic. Turn-by-turn navigation is only available for iPhone 4S or later and iPad 2 or later with cellular capability, while 3D views are only available for iPhone 4S or later, fifth-generation iPod Touch, and iPad 2 and later.
Another change includes the inability to download Podcasts through the regular iTunes application. Instead, users are prompted to download the official Podcasts App in order to continue.
iOS 6 brings the retrieval of documents such as boarding passes, admission tickets, coupons and loyalty cards through its new Passbook app. An iOS device with Passbook can be scanned under a reader to process a mobile payment at participating locations. The app has context-aware features such as notifications for relevant coupons when in the immediate vicinity of a given store.
Facebook comes integrated through Apple’s native apps with iOS 6. Facebook features can be directly accessed from within native apps such as Calendar which can sync Facebook events, or use Facebook’s like button from within the Apple App Store and Game Center.
New privacy settings are available to the user. In addition to location services, the following have been added in iOS 6: photos (already partially restricted in iOS 5), contacts (address book), calendars, reminders, Bluetooth sharing, Twitter, Facebook, and Sina Weibo. iOS 6 also comes with a "Limit ad tracking" user control in the general settings menu to allow users the option to prevent targeted advertising. Apple's Advertising Identifier replaces the company’s existing UDID standard. Advertising networks not yet using Apple's Advertising Identifier device identifier standard would not be affected although Apple will require the standard in the future.
Later on, some apps like Google and Twitter had redesigned their interfaces since the release of iOS 7. The software was dropped for the iPhone 3GS and the iPod Touch (4th Generation) but Apple still continues to develop apps for most of the new features while still running the iOS 6 base software. This also gives users a slight preview what the apps will look like when running the iOS 7 software despite the fact that the operating systems run differently.
In iOS 6, Apple replaced the previous Google Maps-based application with its own Maps, and was faced with poor reception from critics and users, with inaccurate or incomplete data, no support for transit maps, and low-quality satellite imagery. Apple was also faced with criticism from Ireland's Minister for Justice and EqualityAlan Shatter when a map incorrectly marked Airfield, a farming area in Dundrum, Dublin, with an icon indicating that it was an airport. Apple CEO Tim Cook later issued a letter on Apple's website apologizing for the "frustration caused by the Maps application".
In September 2012, a privacy expert with the software company Abine expressed her concern that in spite of new targeted ad opt-outs, advertisers could still identify users based on other data and Apple could curate user databases for marketing or to sell to others. Also that month, several users have reported a higher-than-normal data usage after iOS 6 upgrade, causing some to be heavily billed for data largely exceeding their data plan.
The iOS 6.1 update released on January 28, 2013 has generated reports of decreased battery life and issues with signal strength.
On September 12, 2012 at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, amongst other items unveiled, Apple announced three iOS related items; the release of the next generation of iPhone, called iPhone 5, the fifth-generation iPod Touch, along with the final release of iOS 6.0.
iOS 6 was released to the public through iTunes and over-the-air updates on September 19, 2012.
Siri now available on iPad (3rd, 4th generation and Mini) and iPod Touch (5th generation).
Additional country and language support for Canada (English and Canadian French), China (Mandarin), Hong Kong (Cantonese), Italy (Italian), Korea (Korean), Mexico (Spanish), Spain (Spanish), Switzerland (Italian, French, German), Taiwan (Mandarin), US (Spanish).
Message previews can now be toggled on/off for alerts.
Calendar now shows the current date in the title bar.
Shows ending times for Calendar events.
Added "Do Not Disturb" for Notifications. (See Settings, below, for more information)
Shared Photo Streams. Photos can be shared with other contacts. Photos shared can be commented on and liked. Notifications are enabled for when a contact shares a photo with the user.
New sharing menu, using new icons.
Constantly shows a button to create new Albums.
Sharing menu has options for Twitter, Facebook, Weibo (when Chinese keyboard is enabled), as well as Copy, Slideshow, AirPlay, Use as Wallpaper, & Print.
Videos can be uploaded to Youku and Tudou when the Chinese keyboard is enabled.
New streamlined UI with white and black themes.
Late Night Mode equaliser.
Redesigned rewind, play/pause, and fast forward controls (videos kept the same touch controls from previous iOS software.)
"Bluetooth" moved to top of Settings list.
Added "Do Not Disturb" mode, allowing users to avoid calls and notifications unless calling parties are on the user's Favorites group. A crescent moon icon will appear in the status bar when enabled. Has no effect when the screen is on.
Fullscreen landscape mode (for iPhone and iPod Touch).
iCloud tab syncing across iOS devices and Macs.
Offline Reading List caches the user's Reading List for later use, even when not connected to the Internet (not available for iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch (4th generation)).
Smart App Banners: Banners on mobile webpages prompt users to download the website's native App Store counterpart in the App Store.
Apps in search results.
Support for photo upload via Camera Roll to web forms with <input type="file"> elements.
Support for up to 24 open tabs on iPad (up from previous limit of 9).
Bookmarks window now displays tabs along the bottom of the window for switching between viewing "Bookmarks", "History" and "Reading List"; previously was just listed all in one source list (iPad 2 and later only).
Bookmarks button changes to Reading List icon with a progress bar when updating the Reading List for offline use (iPad 2 and later only).
Long press the "Back" or "Forward" button to reveal the browsing history (for iPhone 3GS and later, iPod Touch (4th generation) and later. Previously only available for iPad since iOS 5.x).
New music controls on lock screen when you double-press home button.
Siri can now purchase movie tickets via Fandango (USA only).
LTE now works with several European, African, Asian and American carriers.
Individual songs can once again be downloaded or deleted when using iTunes Match.
An empty Passbook will automatically add a sample pass explaining passbook functionality. The pass text changes slightly for users in British English speaking countries, changing “movie tickets” to “cinema tickets” in the first sentence, and “theaters” to “cinemas” in the last sentence.
Reset Advertising Identifier button now works.
New cellular data option for iTunes (it is available from iOS 6.0).
When setting up an iOS device for the first time with iCloud, it will now ask you to confirm your Apple ID password for FaceTime and iMessages. It will also ask you to confirm how you'd like people to reach you, and tells you that you can change these settings at any time later on.
Fixed an iPhone 5 bug that prevented the phone from reconnecting to the cellular network when it lost connection for an extended amount of time.
"Accessory attached" splashscreen removed. Bi-directional control now possible.
Fixed a Bluetooth A2DP trigger delay - the beginning of the audio stream cut off (e.g. when navigating turn-by-turn, you heard "HT in .5 miles" instead of "TURN RIGHT in .5 miles" in your A2DP headset/speakers)
On September 24, 2012, Apple TV (2nd generation) onwards received the iOS 6.0 software update, with version 5.1's main features being Shared Photo Streams, iTunes account switching, better AirPlay functionality, and Trailers searching, among other smaller improvements.
Table of versions: iOS 6.x – Apple TV (2nd generation) onwards
Shared Photo Streams: Accept invitations for Shared Photo Streams, browse photos and comments, and receive notifications of new content.
AirPlay: Send audio content from Apple TV to AirPlay-enabled speakers/devices (including AirPort Express and other Apple TVs). Also includes the ability to require an onscreen code to use AirPlay with your Apple TV.
iTunes account switching: Save multiple iTunes accounts and switch quickly between them.
Trailers: Search for movie trailers. In the United States, see show times for local theaters.
Screen savers: New Cascade, Shrinking Tiles, and Sliding Panels screen savers.
Main menu: Reorder icons on the second page by holding down the select button on the remote.
Subtitles: SDH support for the deaf and hard-of-hearing as well as improvements to viewing and selecting subtitles.
Network configuration: Support for setting up advanced network options using configuration profiles.
Stability and performance: Includes general performance and stability improvements.