iOS 8 is available starting September 17th worldwide. But before you start downloading the huge update, here are some things you need to know. Also stated are the steps you need to take to prepare your iPhone or iPad for a smooth iOS 8 upgrade.
1. Is Your Device Compatible?
Before you get all excited, let’s first check if your device is eligible for an update. The good news is, most iOS devices are.
- Everything above iPhone 4S (sorry iPhone 4, your watch has ended)
- iPad 2 and above. This includes iPad Minis and iPad Air
- Only the 5th generation iPod Touch
2. Create Space For iOS 8 Installation
As you no longer need to connect your device to iTunes to update, everything from un-compressing the OS to actually installing it happens on the iPhone.
Depending on your iPhone/iPad model, this means you might need to clear up to 6 GB of data. Apple is asking 5S users for 5.7 GB of space while my non-Retina iPad Mini needs 4.8 GB of free space for the upgrade. Free space that I don’t have. 5 GB can either mean 3-4 Asphalt 8 sized games or a lot of videos and photos. If you’re rocking a 16 GB device with no free memory, 6 GB is around half of user accessible storage! Make sure all your data is backed up (preferably to the cloud) before you start deleting things.
Go to Settings -> General -> Usage to see just how much free space is available. From here you can also delete apps and media to make space for the installation. Get ready to delete a lot of stuff unless you feel like connecting the USB cable to your PC and installing the update that way.
3. How to Back Up Your Data
Before doing an update, it’s always advisable to create a backup. You can either do this by attaching your phone to your PC and using iTunes (or without using iTunes) to back up the entire iPhone storage including apps, app data, media, and system settings.
You can also back up important data to your iCloud. Go to Settings -> iCloud and check all the things you want to back up to iCloud. It’s a good practice to back up contacts, photos and documents.
4. Make Sure You’re Already Running iOS 7
In order to obtain the new version of iOS, Apple typically checks if you’re running the latest version of the current OS. This means under Settings > General > Software Updates you might need to upgrade to the latest version of iOS 7 (which is iOS 7.1.2) to be able to upgrade to iOS 8. So under Software Updates, if you see something lower than iOS 8.0, go ahead and Download and Install that first.
5. Understand the iCloud Drive Situation
With iCloud Drive, Apple’s cloud storage solution is finally going to give us Dropbox-like features. There’s going to be a universal picker that will allow any app to access any file on iCloud. Previously, apps could only look up their own files and nothing more. iCloud Drive will also bring transparent file management like Dropbox.
But the problem is that iCloud Drive is only compatible with iOS 8 and Yosemite. And if you update to iCloud Drive on one device, say your iPhone, you can’t use the iCloud storage on your Mac if it hasn’t gotten the iCloud Drive update yet.
If this sounds too complicated, just make sure you say “No” to the upgrade to iCloud Drive option after you install iOS 8.
6. Continuity And Handoff Won’t Work Just Yet
Because OS X Yosemite is still in beta and won’t officially be released until sometime in October, the awesome continuity and handoff features are disabled for now in iOS 8. You’ll have to wait a little longer to reply to SMS and answer calls from your Mac.