Apple launches their biggest iOS upgrade (and headache) yet.

Sep. 24, 2013 @ 09:49 AM

As IT manager for the High Point Enterprise, I have received plenty of questions from friends, family, and co-workers regarding Apple’s latest update to iPhones, iPads & iPods. As an iPad owner myself, I’ve become very familiar with the new changes and its update process. On September 18th, Apple released their biggest and most extensive overhaul to their mobile operating system, iOS, since the release of the first iPhone in 2007.

What does the new upgrade do?
The ambitious iOS 7 brings with it a complete redesign of the homescreens, new features, and a marked departure of where it came from six years ago, when it was originally known as iPhone OS. In six years, the mobile OS became the base for Apple’s other mobile devices including the iPod Touch, the iPad, and even for the company’s “hobby” AppleTV.

iOS 7 brings updates to Maps, Safari, Mail, and nearly every other pre-installed Apple app. One of the most asked for features is the Control Center which can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the device. In the Control Center, a plethora of quick access tools appear including the music player, volume control, screen brightness, flashlight, airplane mode, bluetooth, WiFi, Clock, Camera, and rotation lock. iOS 7 also brings new Instagram-type photo filters to the Camera app. The famous Siri personal assistant app gets an update with more intelligent feedback, a different voice including the option of a Male version. Another enhancement is AirDrop, where photos and videos can be easily shared between iOS devices with just the tap of a button.

Do I need to upgrade?
While most people obviously like to have the latest and greatest technology, updating your phone or iPad may not be right for you. In fact, you might discover that your iPad 2 may not be able to do the same thing as your neighbor’s 4th generation iPad, even with both having iOS 7 installed. Some features such as slow-mo video recording and fingerprint ID scanning are only available to recently released devices like the iPhone 5s. The upgrade, while available to older gadgets like the iPad 2, may slow down their performance because the older hardware wasn’t designed to take advantage of current software.

What do I need to know before updating?
With every (nearly) annual upgrade to the mobile OS, Apple has added features and applications to accommodate emerging trends in technology and to squeeze what life they can out of aging iPhone and iPad models. Even while Apple tries to make the update process seamless and problem-free, there are usual a number of issues arise. iOS 7 has been plagued with non-responsive download servers, installation errors, and setup times that some users reported to be as long as nine hours. In some extreme cases, all user data was completely wiped out. You should always do a backup of the device before running any major upgrade like this. Fortunately, Apple provides an easy and quick method for backing up the device via the free iTunes software and USB cable. So again the advice is: backup, backup, backup.

Can I upgrade my Apple device to iOS 7?
iPhone: 4, 4s, 5 (5c & 5s come pre-installed with iOS 7)
iPad: iPad 2, 3rd generation, 4th generation (both released 2012)
iPod Touch: 5th generation (released 2012)
Apple TV: 2nd, 3rd, & 4th generation (small black box versions)

How large is the upgrade?
Over 750MB (megabytes). It’s strongly advised to upgrade over a WiFi connection.

How long will it take me to upgrade?
Upgrade times vary widely, but the average seems to be about 2 hours. Some launch-day upgrades took nearly 9 hours.

What do I do if something goes wrong?
If something goes awry during your update process, if you made a backup beforehand, no need to worry. Simply plug-in the device to your computer, open iTunes and follow the onscreen prompts to restore your phone back to its pre-update state. If for some reason that doesn’t work, simply visit your local Apple Store for assistance.