So, as of Wednesday, there is an operating system update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It is called iOS 6. You may be on top of things and are already using the new features, but I’ve already talked to quite a few friends that didn’t know it was coming and/or how to get it.
Can I upgrade?
First off, it only works on some devices. On the iPhone, if you have a 3Gs, a 4 or a 4S, you are able to upgrade. It will work on the iPad 2 and The New iPad (aka iPad 3). iPod touch users on either the 4th or 5th generation can upgrade as well. If you have an earlier device, Apple has determined that the hardware isn’t adequate to handle the updated OS.
As of iOS 5, updates are available over the air. If you have iOS 5 and have updated in this way before, this upgrade will feel no different. If you are still syncing with your Mac or PC, or have an operating system previous to iOS 5, you will need to plug into your computer to upgrade. Once plugged in, you’ll be prompted to upgrade.
Wait, before you upgrade…
One other feature of iOS 5 was the addition of over-the-air backups using iCloud. You should backup before updating the operating system.Even though the process is easy and safe, things can go wrong and it's nice to have a backup.
If you haven’t turned this on yet, I recommend it because it eliminates the hassle of needing to remember to sync on a regular basis. It does a full backup of all your data each night when it is plugged into a power source and connected to a Wi-fi network. If you were to drop your device into a lake and needed to replace it, you just type in your appleid on the startup screen and the new phone downloads everything from your last backup.
One good thing to know is that it doesn’t actually create clones of your apps and music, it just keeps a list of what you had on the phone. You can then download them again over the air from iTunes or the App store. You can also plug into your computer to get these which may be faster if you keep a lot of apps or music on your device.
So, What’s New?
Apple has a list on the upgrade screen if you want all the details, but I’ll give you a few highlights.
- Brand New Maps app
- Siri is expanded with sports, Restaurant and Movie info and is now available on the New iPad and the 5th generation iPod touch
- Facebook Integration system-wide
- Phone updates-updated options when you need to decline a call.
- Mail now has pull-down to refresh
- Safari now has synced tabs with Safari on your desktop or laptop Mac
- Camera now has a Panorama feature
- New iTunes and Appstore designs that are way easier to use.
- Updated privacy controls
- Do Not Disturb feature for keeping things quiet when you're trying to sleep.
Should you Upgrade?
Yes. The simple answer is that you should always upgrade when Apple rolls out a new OS.
I have yet to really dig in and spend tons of time with the new OS, but it seems really nice, and is more of an incremental upgrade to what was already a very stable and full-featured predecessor.
If you want an in-depth review with tons of photos, I recommend Rene Ritchie's over at iMore.com