How to Prepare for the iOS 8 Update the Right Way
iOS 8 will be released to the public very soon with its myriad of new features and enhancements, and that makes now a great time to prepare your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch for the major system update. We’ll break it down into several easy steps so that you’ll have your iOS device ready to install the latest version when it arrives in the near future.
1: Check iOS 8 Hardware Compatibility
Before anything else, you’ll want to be sure your iDevice is able to run iOS 8. Apple has provided a hardware compatibility list for iOS 8, which includes the following devices or newer:
- iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C
- iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Mini Retina
- iPod Touch 5th generation
If your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch isn’t on the list, you won’t be able to run iOS 8… yes you’ll miss out on some of the latest and greatest features, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in some ways, as we’ll address in a moment. It can also be a good excuse to update to the newest hardware, the iPhone 6 looks pretty awesome anyway, doesn’t it?
2: Old Hardware? Consider Skipping the Update Completely
Some devices can’t run iOS 8 because they’re too old. But just because a device can technically run the latest version of iOS, that doesn’t mean it should.
There are so many examples in iOS history of older hardware slowing down dramatically once it has been updated to the latest version of iOS, and that should serve as a meaningful consideration that for some older devices, it may be best to just skip the update completely. We gave this advice for some hardware with iOS 7, and we’ll offer it again here.
This is entirely a matter of opinion, but it’s my recommendation that old hardware should think twice about updating to iOS 8 (and iOS 7 too if you happen to be on iOS 5 or iOS 6 still with that old iPad 2 or iPad 3). This is particularly true for iPad 2 and iPad 3, the latter of which really crawls with iOS 7 as is, and while it’s possible that the final version of iOS 8 will offer some performance improvement over iOS 7, thus far it hasn’t surfaced. We’ll certainly update if that changes, and if the GM version really flies on even the oldest devices, that’ll be fantastic.
If you want the latest and greatest features, go ahead and update that dusty old hardware to iOS 8 anyway, but be aware that performance could be hit as a result. And once you update to the latest version of iOS, you have a very small window before downgrading becomes impossible.
3: Delete Unused Apps
Before major iOS updates is a good time to clean house and uninstall those apps which you don’t use regularly. Opened HyperLapse once and never touched it again? How often do you really play Flappy Birds anymore? Is Garageband going unused for months on your iPhone? If the answer to how often an app gets used “never” or “rarely”, just delete it and free up some space on your device as a result.
4: Update Apps
Now that you’ve deleted the apps you don’t use anymore, fire up the App Store and update what you have left. It’s a good idea to keep apps updated in general, but it’s all the more important with new iOS releases, since major updates are necessary for compatibility but also to add new features that derive from the new iOS version. Yes you’ll have to update some again once iOS 8 actually ships, because many apps that are updated for iOS 8 will include extensions and widgets that are not compatible with prior versions.
5: Back Up Your Important Stuff
It’s a good idea to back up all of your stuff – no not just your standard iCloud or iTunes backup, though we’ll get to that in a moment – but your actual stuff that really matters. Usually that means photos and videos. Take the time to transfer pictures from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a computer, a process which typically will copy your personal movies too. You can always download an app again, but can you take the same picture and capture the same moment again? Probably not. Back this stuff up, it’s important.
6: Back Up Your iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch
Finally, back up your iOS device and all of it’s settings and customizations. This is easy, and you can do it through iTunes or iCloud, or ideally, back up to both. Backing up should really be part of your regular routine by now, but even if it’s not, always – always – back up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch before installing any major new iOS update. This insures that if something goes wrong, you can easily get everything back to normal again. Backing up is arguably the single most important thing you can do to prepare for any iOS upgrade, so do not skip this.
All done? Congratulations, you’re ready to update to iOS 8!