Top 5 tips for a painless upgrade to iOS 7

by Derek Walter

September 25 2013

Get your device ready for iOS 7 and its new look.
Get your device ready for iOS 7 and its new look.

Apple’s iOS 7 dominated the tech news cycle this past week. Yet the daily workflow does not always make it easy to carve out time for something as significant as an operating system update.

New  features are cool, but no one wants to get burned with upgrades that take hours or end up requiring more intensive tech support.

Fortunately by following a few key strategies your iOS 7 upgrade should go smoothly. You will be enjoying all that translucence and pastel in no time.

Tip one: Backup your device

This may sound like trite advice, but doing a backup to either iCloud or iTunes before grabbing iOS 7 is a wise way to avoid tragedy. In most cases the new OS should update just fine (I experienced no issues updating it on two different  iPads), yet taking the right precautions can ensure there will not be any regret later.

The easiest way is to go into “settings” on your device and select “iCloud” and then “Storage & Backup.” Then tap “backup now” to send a most recent copy of your device to iCloud.

Those with more substantial storage or who want a secondary backup may also do so through iTunes. Just plug in your device to a PC or Mac, launch iTunes, and then opt for a full backup.  

Tip two: How to download

To get the download, open the settings app and select “General.” Then select “Software Update.” Wait patiently and you will then be prompted to download and install iOS 7. If you want to read about the feature set, select the “Learn More” option. You will then need to agree to Apple’s 34 pages of terms and then ignore the advice to connect your device to a power source (if the battery is low, however, you should certainly do this).

After launching the download, get comfortable. The time required for the file to download will vary on your Internet speed, but it will certainly be ten minutes or more.

(For more great iPad apps and tips, bookmark TabTimes.com/ipad)

Tip three: Installing

After downloading the file, you will see an Install now button. After hitting that your device will restart, not before a long wait with a status bar and the Apple logo. After this finishes you will see a setup screen, with a prompt to “slide to set up.”

There will be several startup screens, asking you to select a WiFi network, enable location services, sign in with your Apple ID, and to use the Find My iPhone service (this works for iPad as well). Also if you would like to delay your device being hacked by a few seconds, create a four-digit passcode.

(Seriously, if you're concerned about anyone using your iPhone or iPad who shouldn't be, add the passcode. You may well find having to enter it each time you want to use the device will get old really fast, but you can set a longer idle time for it to kick in).

After this, you will then be greeted by the new iOS 7 home screen. Prepare for a few changes.

Tip four: Don’t get lost

If you have not been regularly following technology news, iOS 7 can be rather jarring at first appearance. There is a brand new design aesthetic, which emphasizes flatter icons, a pastel color scheme, and more flowing animations.

Along with that, some of the day-to-day tools have moved. Spotlight search is now found by sliding down on the home screen with one finger. Control Center, which launches by swiping up from the bottom, gives quick access to the camera, WiFi, brightness and other often-used features.

Unlike other iOS updates, this one will take a bit of time to learn. Be sure you are ready to tackle the learning curve before hitting the update button.

(Stay on top of the latest iPad news, reviews and analysis by subscribing to the free TabTimes for iPad newsletter)

Tip five: Update madness

Many developers have put in some late nights getting their apps ready for iOS 7. With that comes a deluge of apps that will need an update once your devices goes live with the newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

Fortunately, you can enable automatic updates in the new settings menu so you don’t have to keep checking the App Store. However, be prepared for multiple apps to require new versions once you have made the upgrade. Also, the experience may be jittery for a while as many apps won’t match the new design scheme until they are updated.

Beyond these issues iOS 7 brings many improvements that make it worth taking the time to install. If you are installing on an older device, such as an iPad 2 or iPhone 4, you may be in for a rough go with battery life. Enterprise users also are getting some new features, though you may have to dig deep to find them.

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