by Christopher Tippins for the Software Synergy Group
As I mentioned in my article, “iOS 5 Features Review” the upgrade process to iOS5 is something you should set aside a couple of hours to complete.
Depending on the data set you have on your iPhone, the process could take less time but possibly more. (Caveat: this article focuses specifically on the iPhone 4, but I suspect it will be similar on an iPad or an iPhone 3GS. You would be wise, however, to search the ‘net for any particular issues you might encounter for these devices).
Because the process basically does the following:
1. Prior to doing the upgrade to iOS 5, you might have to download and install a new revision of iTunes.
2. Your current iPhone will be backed up in it’s entirely.
3. The new operating system will be downloaded.
4. iOS 5 is then installed on your device.
5. Once the new OS is installed on your device, all your data is then written back to the iPhone.
Keep in mind that I personally do a manual backup of my iPhone before ever doing any major upgrade as in the past I’ve run into some issues. Note that I’ve also read accounts of early adopters of iOS 5 running into some problems. I am probably being overly wary, but I’d rather have this backup and not need it then to need it and not have it.
OK, so let’s take a look at what happens once the process completes in iTunes and you turn on your iPhone for the first time since the upgrade.
Here is the opening screen after the first boot:
This is what you’ll hopefully see indicating a successful upgrade and report that your data made it back to the device. Note that nothing is lost during the process – all your text messages, call history, email, etc. is retained. I’ll add a caveat to this to say that some people have lost data or experienced errors during the upgrade and if that’s the case you would have to execute a restore in iTunes and start the process all over.
Next, you’ll have to enable location services (yes, even if you had them enabled prior to the upgrade):
Then you’ll be asked to also reconnect to your Wi-Fi network (this will happen even if you’ve previously connected to a Wi-Fi network before the upgrade):
Next you’ll be asked for your Apple ID:
This screen is a bit strange considering I already have an Apple ID, but I suppose Apple is just following suit with asking me about features I’ve already enabled.
Next, we are asked to confirm this ID and password:
Next we’ll have to confirm the Apple EULA:
Then it takes a minute or two to setup the ID:
Then we get to an important screen – that of being asked to use Apple’s new iCloud service:
What is iCloud?
You can read all about it here, but basically it’s a part of the new feature set that allows users to do two things:
1. Use the “cloud” to store copies of their important data, documents, music, videos, etc.
2. Setup an iOS device without having to be tethered to a PC or a Mac.
The ability to port data to the cloud is one of the biggest new features of iOS 5 and I cover it in more depth in my “iOS 5 iCloud – Review and Considerations” article. I strongly suggest you read it as well other documents and articles so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
There are many ramifications for using this service and you’d be wise to understand them all before you enable this feature. Here are just a couple:
- Your non DRM protected music is going to cost you $25.00 dollars a year to store in the cloud and of this date it’s not available yet.
- If you’ve got a lot of data living on your iPhone (photos, music, videos, etc.) it’s going to take a long time to move that all to the cloud. That data port is going to happen over Wi-Fi, not on the 3G network – which makes sense as it would take a long time over 3G and you’d be eating into your data plan considerably.
That being said, I chose “Don’t Use iCloud” as my primary goal here is to simply get iOS 5 running on my iPhone. Note that this isn’t a onetime option – you can come back and set this up at any time.
Next up is a simple screen prompting to send diagnostic information to Apple as needed:
Some months back Apple came under the gun for sending and storing location information that many people considered a violation of privacy. I’m one of them. I chose “Don’t Send”. Since I have neither the time nor inclination to decipher exactly what Apple sends, I don’t want this data on Apple’s servers or traversing the ‘net.
Next we are asked to create (or recreate in my case) a passcode to access the device:
You’d be wise to setup a passcode for your device if you haven’t done so already. Note that you can also setup security so that your data is wiped after 10 attempts to gain access to it. Why would you want to enable this feature? Answer: it insures that if you’re iPhone is lost or stolen any attempt to gain access to your data will be thwarted. If a person doesn’t guess your passcode after 10 attempts, the OS wipes your iPhone of all data. You can also use an app called “Find My iPhone” with Apple’s iCloud services to remotely lock or wipe your device.
Finally, you get a notification that videos have been moved and now live in their own app:
This completes the upgrade process and you are now good to go with your iOS 5 device.
Note that I had data from one of my apps get completely hosed. It’s the app that pulls data from a site where I store my photography work. About 1800 photos were completely wiped off my phone. I’ve tried to reload them several times to no avail and each time this has taken a couple of hours to do the import. I’m also seeing a couple other apps I use that crash when I load them.
This brings up a critically important issue: there are some apps that simply aren’t going to work on iOS 5 until they get a rewrite by the developers. We’ve seen this in earlier releases of new operating systems by Apple so it’s not a complete surprise. If you’re running any mission critical application on your iPhone make sure it’s been updated to work with iOS 5 before you do the upgrade. Check the reviews in the App Store too, as people are pretty vocal when an app won’t work on a new OS.
Hopefully you’ll have few problems but this isn’t always the case. Click here to read about the adventures of others where things haven’t gone so well.
Be sure to read my article on the new feature set for iOS 5 by clicking here.
Comments are always welcomed. I’d like to hear about your experience with the upgrade and specifically if you had any problems.
Christopher Tippins for the Software Synergy Group