How to Keep iOS on the iPhone Up to Date

To keep the iPhone running smoothly, it’s a good idea to update them to the latest versions of iOS soon after Apple releases them. New versions can contain bug fixes, new features, or both. To update the iPod and iPhone, you use iTunes.

CAUTION: As you’ll know from the excitement about iPhone 5 prototypes that escaped into the wild, Apple likes to keep its secrets tightly under wraps. This secrecy extends to software changes, and one result is that updates and fixes sometimes receive less real-world testing than they need. Unless your iPads and iPhone are suffering disastrously from a problem the latest update promises to fix, it’s best to wait a few days–or weeks–before installing an update and let the early adopters discover any problems for you. As you know, folls rush in where angels fear to tread (and I’m guessing you’re nearer the angelic end of the spectrum.

You’ll also likely want to keep the apps on the iPad or iPhone up to date so that users have the most stable versions (in theory, anyway–practice may disagree) and all the latest features. Users can update the apps either on the devices or by using iTunes.

Updating iOS

To update iOS, you use iTunes rather than working on the iPad or iPhone itself.

The first step is to learn that a new version of iOS is available. If you need to find out right this moment, follow these steps:

1. Connect the iPhone to the computer.

2. If iTunes doesn’t launch or activate automatically, launch it or switch to it manually.

3. Click the iPhone’s entry in the Devices category in the Source list to display the device’s control screens.

4. ON the Summary tab, look at the Version box.

A. If the Update button is available, you can update to the new version listed in the readout next to it.

B. If the Check For Update button appears, click it to make iTunes check whether a new version of the software is available.

TIP: You can also force iTunes to check for updates (to itself, QuickTime, and iOS) by choosing Help | Check for Updates (on Windows) or iTunes | Check For Updates (on the Mac).

If you’re in less of a hurry, you may prefer to let iTunes handle the checking. By default, iTunes chekcs automatically for updates to iTunes, QuickTime, and iOS once a week. When iTunes finds an update, it prompts you to download and install the update.

NOTE: To prevent iTunes from checking automatically for updates, choose Edit | Preferences to display the iTunes dialog box (on Windows) or iTunes | Preferences to display the Preferences dialog box on the Mac. On the General tab, clear the Check For Updates Automatically checkbox (on Windows) or the Check For New Software Updates Automatically check box (on the Mac), and then click the OK button.

You can then click the Download And Install button if you want to proceed with the installation as soon as the download completes. Click the Download Only button if you want to download the update now and install the update, connect the iPhone, click its entry in the Devices category in the Source list in iTunes, and then click the Update button on the Summary screen.

When iTunes prompts you t update the iPad or iPhone, click Update button.

The Updater then extracts the software, verifies the update, prepares the device for the update, and then installs the update. This takes a while; you’ll see a progress bar on the iPhone as the update installs, but you may find it more entertaining to go to a meeting or watch paint dry.

If you’re still there when the update finishes, you’ll see iTunes display a dialog box telling you what’s going on. After 15 seconds, iTunes dismisses the dialog box, restarts the iPhone, and then synchronizes it. After this, on the Summary tab of the iPhone’s configuration screens, the Software Version readout shows the new version number and the Version box tells you that the device’s software is up to date.


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