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How to install iOS 8, upgrade tips for iPhone and iPad

David Ludlow
22 Sep 2014
Apple iOS 8
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iOS 8 is now available, here's how to prep your iPhone and iPad for the update and install it

One of the great things about having an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch is that everybody gets the next OS update at the same time. While this encourages people to upgrade and means there are few out-of-date versions of iOS, it still pays to be prepared. With iOS 8 available now you can get your phone ready for the update and install it.

Supported devices - check that you can install iOS 8

Although Apple supports as many devices as it can, some older devices will not be able to run iOS 8. Apple has a list of iOS 8 supported devices on its website, but for ease we've listed them here. Phone wise, you can install it on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S (the iPhone 6 will ship with iOS 8). Only the iPod touch 5th generation is supported. For iPads, the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPad Mini with Retina Display are supported.

Even if you have one of the supported devices, you may not want to upgrade immediately. Some of the older devices, such as the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 may be a little slow; it can pay to wait for the reviews of the OS, so you can see how it runs on some of the older devices.

Update apps

A new version of iOS 8 often means that developers have to release a new version of their apps. While you can update your apps after you've upgraded to iOS 8, there's no harm in doing an initial update session. Chances are that you'll have to update some apps after the upgrade, but you should be able to get a good few iOS 8 ready now.

Back up your device

With everything up-to-date, you should now take the time to backup your iPhone or iPad. If you've got iCloud enabled (and enough storage space), charging your device while it's connected to Wi-Fi is all you need to do. You can also force a backup, by going to Settings, iCloud, Storage & Backup and tapping Back Up Now. Alternatively, plug your device into your computer and open up iTunes. Select your device from the menu and choose Back Up Now to save a local backup to your computer's hard disk.

Backup iPhone or iPad to iTunes for iOS 8 upgrade

Free up storage space

You'll need to download the update to your phone before you can install it. With iOS 8 the download is just over 1GB, but you need 4.6GB of free space. This is because the file you downloaded is heavily compressed and needs to be extracted. In addition, the system needs some spare space for temporary files while it's doing the installation. Once you've upgrade, you'll find that the downloaded update will be deleted automatically, so you can restore anything you deleted while you were downloading the system.

To see what's eating up space, go to Settings, General, Usage. It will take your iPhone or iPad a while to go through your phone, but you'll get a list, ordered by size, showing you what's taking up space. Typically, this will be photos, videos and music on most phones. You can use this as a guide to work out what you need to delete from your device. Remember, that all of your data has been backed up, so there's no harm in deleting everything. For additional security, you may want to follow the Apple guide to saving photos and videos to a computer.

iOS 7 Storage usage

Get two-factor authentication backup codes

If you're using, and you should be, two-factor authentication via an app on your phone, now's a good time to get backup codes. Two-factor authentication requires you to enter a unique security code, generated by your phone or sent your mobile phone, as well as your password to access online services. It means that if someone manages to get hold of your password, they can't access your private information.

One of the most common apps for generating secure codes is Google Authenticator, which can be used with Facebook, Google and Microsoft accounts, and has an iOS app, so you can always generate codes when you need them. Twitter can verify new sign-ins via the mobile app, while Apple IDs can be protected by two-step verification, where a code is sent to your mobile.

When you back up your phone to iCloud, all security and two-factor authentication should be backed up automatically to the cloud; however, it's best to be safe rather than sorry. For that reason, it makes sense to download backup codes for every service that you've enabled two-factor on. These backup codes can be used in place of the auto-generated codes, but they can only be used once. So, if something went wrong and you list your Google Authenticator app on your iPhone, for example, you can log in to your Google account using a backup service and re-set Authenticator on your handset that's now running iOS 8. For Google you can generate backup codes using the 2-step verification settings, Facebook lets you do it through the Security settings. Twitter has a setting in the web client. Apple lets you manage your Apple ID and generate a backup code. It's important to keep these codes somewhere safe so that you can access them when you need them.

As we said before, there's no reason why the upgrade will cause you any problems and it should go smoothly, but if you don't have these settings you may find that you're completely locked out of your important accounts.

 

Google Authenticator App

Install iOS 7.1.2

Apple typically requires you to have the latest version of the current OS before you can upgrade to the new one. In this case, you'll need to upgrade to iOS 7.1.2. Go to Settings, General, Software update. Install any updates that are available; if you're running the latest version, your phone will say if your software is up to date. If you have to perform an upgrade, don't worry about backing up again at this point if you had to delete items to free up enough space. If you do, your most recent backup won't have all of the files that you deleted.

Apple iOS 7 your software is up to date

Download and install iOS 8

Go to Settings, General, Software Update and your iPad or iPhone will check for a new update. If you get an error message, try tapping the Retry button until you get the iOS 8 message. If you don't, you can skip to the iTunes method below. Once you've got the message, hit the Download and Install button, tap Agree on the software licence and enter your passcode. The software will now start to download, and will install automatically.

iOS 8 is ready to install

If you're having problems and the download won't start or keeps timing out, you can use iTunes instead. Plug your iPad or iPhone into your computer and iTunes should start automatically (launch it if it doesn't), and you'll get a message telling you that iOS 8 is ready. Click the Download and Install button to save the update. Once it's downloaded, it will be copied to your device.

For both methods, your iPhone or iPad will verify the update (you might have to hit Retry if you're having troubles connecting to the Apple server) and restart to install the software. Leave your device on charge while the installation progresses, which will take a few minutes. When your device has rebooted, you'll need to follow the setup wizard through, including entering your iCloud password and choosing if you want to enable Location services. Tap Continue when you reach the Update Completed screen and you're ready to use iOS 8. You may find that you need to update some more Apps at this point.

iOS 8 has completed its install

Restoring a backup (optional)

If you had to delete items to free up space on your iPhone or iPad, you can now copy it back across. Music and videos in iTunes are not backed up to iCloud, so if you deleted these to free up the space, hook your device up to iTunes and copy across the files that you want. If you deleted photos and apps to make room, you've got a few choices. First, if you copied all of your photos off of your device, you may be happy that they're stored safely on your computer. If you want them back, and they're not in iCloud, then you can restore your phone from a backup, but you have to completely reset it. Go to Settings, Reset and select Erase All Content and Settings, and enter your iCloud password when prompted. When your device restarts, follow the instructions to go through and restore your phone from a backup, selecting iCloud or iTunes as appropriate - make sure you pick the right backup from the point at which you still had the photos on your device. If you deleted some apps to save space, your best option is simply to re-download them from the App store. 

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