Apple’s iOS 8 is almost upon us and we’ll likely see most of the big, new features unveiled at next week’s media event with the software available to download a week later (if history repeats itself), as Apple usually makes the new iOS available to users a few days before the new iPhones ship.
But as we all know, installing a new operating system on our devices can be a royal pain. We’ve put together a list of things you can do to make sure the process goes as smooth as possible.
1) Make sure your device can run iOS 8
A lot of times owners of older iOS devices just assume the newest OS will run on their device because the last one did. But Apple has a habit of dropping support for the lowest-supported device of the previous iOS. And this year is no different. While iOS 7 retained support for the iPhone 4, iOS 8 drops support for the iPhone 4. Here’s the list of all the iOS devices iOS 8 will support. If your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch isn’t here, iOS 8 will not run on it: iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPad 2, 3rd and 4th-generation iPad, iPad Air, 5th-generation iPod Touch, iPad Mini, and iPad Mini with Retina display.
2) Free up storage space
The final size of the iOS 8 download is not yet known. But if iOS 7 is anything to go by it will be around 700MB. Most people hear that and think that means they only need 700MB of free space on their device to install the update. But in actuality users will need at least 3GB of free space. Why the big difference? Because after your device downloads the sub-1GB installer file it needs additional room for it when it opens it up and starts moving all the part into place. If it doesn’t have this space, it can’t install.
Thankfully Apple warns people before the update begins downloading that they don’t have enough space, so you can then go free some up. But as you’ll probably want to get iOS 8 on your device right away, go ahead and free up that space ahead of time.
As for what to delete, look in your Videos app for TV shows and movies that often take up gigabytes of space with just a few files. Delete them and you’re golden (plus you can always easily re-download them for free from iCloud). If you don’t have a lot of large media on your device, but still don’t have enough free space, go to your Settings app and tap General, then Usage. Under STORAGE you’ll find the apps and files that are taking up the most space.
3) Make sure your devices is running the latest version of iOS 7
As weird as it sounds, iOS devices usually require the latest version of the previous OS to update to the newest OS. This means if your iPhone is running iOS 7.0 it might not be upgradable to iOS 8. You’ll need to install the absolute latest iOS 7 (which is currently iOS 7.1.2) on your device. In any case, for transitioning purposes, it’s usually best to have the latest version of the previous OS. To make sure you’re running the latest version of iOS 7 on your device before you upgrade to iOS 8 go to the Settings app and then tap General, then Software Update.
4) Make sure your apps are up to date
Speaking of software updates, it’s also a good time to make sure your apps are all up to date. This is very important as sometimes developers adjust bits of code in the latest version of their app to make sure that app or its data won’t be lost during the upgrade to the latest iOS. Besides this data-loss benefit, the latest versions of apps (if the developer is on the ball) are often optimized for the new iOS right before its launch. This means these apps will run smoothly on your device as soon as iOS 8 is installed.
5) Get rid of useless apps
When getting ready to upgrade to an entirely new OS it's usually a good time to go through all the apps on your device and see if you really need them. We often collect a ton of apps that we use once then never open again. After a while, these can start to take up space. I mean, why keep that game you played once but haven’t opened in eight months? So think of this as spring-cleaning for your iOS device. Check not only each page of your home screens, but also every page of all the folders on your device. If you don’t use it, get rid of it.
6) Back up your device
Or maybe I should have said BACK UP YOUR DEVICE. This is the most crucial step. A new OS upgrade is the most major change you can make to your device and in the process a lot can go wrong (it’s rare, but it can happen). So make sure you’ve backed up the entire contents of your iOS device before starting any upgrade to iOS 8.
Trust me, you don’t want to be halfway through the iOS 8 install process only to experience a glitch and find that every single bit of data on your iPhone has been lost.
The best way to backup your iOS device is by plugging it into iTunes on your Mac or PC. Select your device from the source list in iTunes and then click the Summary tab. Under “Backups” select “This computer” and then click the “Back Up Now” button.
This saves an exact mirror image of your device as it currently is--files, settings, and all--to your Mac or PC. If anything goes wrong during the iOS 8 upgrade process you should be able to simply restore your device to this backup right from your computer.