Saturday, October 29, 2011

So you’re thinking about upgrading your iPhone, iPad or iTouch to iOS 5. Here are a few features that you may be interested in.

Reminders lets you organize your life in to-do lists — complete with due dates and locations. Say you need to remember to pick up milk during your next grocery trip. Since Reminders can be location based, you’ll get an alert as soon as you pull into the supermarket parking lot. Changes you make update automatically on all your devices and calendars.

Everyone that has an iOS device can send txt messages to each other via WIFI instead of using your phone company’s network. It has group messaging and read receipts. You can even see when the other person is typing you back. The cool thing? Its built right into the Messages app.

A fantastic Twitter app is included in iOS 5. Sign in once in Settings, and suddenly you can tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube, or Maps. Contacts applies your friends’ Twitter so just start typing a name and iOS 5 does the rest.

You can open the Camera app right from the Lock screen. Use grid lines, pinch-to-zoom gestures, and single-tap focus and exposure locks to compose a picture on the fly. Then press the volume-up button to snap your photo in the nick of time.

Wirelessly sync your iOS device to your Mac or PC over a shared Wi-Fi connection. Every time you connect your iOS device to a power source (say, overnight for charging), it automatically syncs and backs up any new content to iTunes.

So, if you want some of these and the other 200+ features the new IOS 5 has to offer, here are some steps to upgrade your iPhone, iPad or iTouch.

(if you are not running iOS4 on your device, you cannot perform this upgrade)

1. Update your software - Before you begin, run software update on either your Mac or Windows PC. You'll need iTunes version 10.5 to make the latest iOS magic happen, and the upgrade won't work without it. While you're at it, feel free to update your apps as well. While you can certainly do so post-upgrade, you'll avoid any unforeseen compatibility problems by doing it before.

2. Make a backup - To start, you'll want to perform a manual backup of your current iOS device. Should something go wrong during the upgrade process, you'll have a backup of settings and files to fall back on in a pinch.

Of course, the backup process is a long one to begin with, but there are ways to decrease the amount of time it takes. Pictures and videos stored in your camera roll are often the biggest culprits, so feel free to transfer these yourself. Removing particularly large files or unneeded apps beforehand is another smart practice. But keep in mind there's only so much you can do. iTunes simply has a lot of data to back up. Best let this process complete while you're out to lunch.

To prevent upgrade issues and untimely snags, try placing your device in Airplane mode before you begin. Or better yet, remove your SIM card (if you have one) completely, if possible. Once you've plugged your device in and iTunes recognizes it, right click the device icon on the left side of the iTunes screen and select Back Up.

3. Encrypt your backup - You'll also have the ability to encrypt your iOS backup at this time. This option is visible under the "Backup" header when your device is plugged into iTunes. While an encrypted backup does take longer, you get the added benefit of having your various account and app passwords backed up as well. This might be useful for some, as you won't have to re-enter your passwords after your device has been restored.

Also, it's worth pointing out that backups can build up over time — and they do take up a considerable amount of space. If you want to remove past archives of your old iOS devices, and free up a couple gigabytes of space, you can find them in the following folder:

Mac: /Users/Tested/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/

Windows: C:\Users\Tested\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

4. Upgrade to iOS 5 - Finally, there is the iOS 5 upgrade process itself. In most cases, the actual install should be as simple as connecting your device and allowing iTunes to do its thing. This will perform what's called an in-place upgrade to iOS 5 — in other words, preserving all your file, settings and content as is. However, you also have the option of performing a restore upgrade. This route will wipe your device clean, allowing you to start your iOS 5 experience from scratch.

If iTunes does’nt tell you a update is available, just click on Check for Update under the summary screen when your device is plugged in.

If all goes well, your iOS device should find itself running iOS 5. And if you'd like to take advantage of Apple's new wireless sync feature, you can activate this from iTunes before restoring all the content to your device.

Let me know how it goes. If you have any problems, feel free to email me at