To Upgrade or Not Upgrade, That Is The question (iOS 11)


Apple has released iOS 11.0, the newest version of the operating system for iPhones and iPads.

That means it is time for my annual advice about when to upgrade.

IOS 11.0 brings a lot of changes under the hood. Two of my favorites are the new consolidated control center and the lane indicators for turns in Apple Maps directions.

Many of the exciting “tent pole” features are designed specifically for the iPad: The “Files” app, split-screen multitasking, the icon dock on the screen bottom, cut-and-paste between apps, and much more.

My advice remains the same as last year - If you like having the “latest and greatest” of everything and you don’t mind the occasional glitch, go ahead and upgrade immediately. Then have fun exploring all the new capabilities!

On the other hand, if you are annoyed by having to adjust to even slight changes (“Darn, where did they move the settings for xyz”) or you can’t tolerate the least bit of instability (“I had to reboot my phone again just to make a phone call)”, heed my advice and wait.

I’ve been running the developer beta test versions ( all 10 of them!) since they first started trickling out in mid-June and from my own experience, the early software has been buggy and less reliable than at the same point last year.

No matter how much testing is done, there will always be a few problems that crop up once millions and millions of people start using the new version and all the new IPhones start shipping too.

There will certainly be a quick fix release of iOS 11.0.x within the first few weeks so I strongly encourage most people to wait until then. At that point, the first wave of last-minute glitches will be fixed and the software update will be even more stable.

How To Upgrade

When you are ready to upgrade, either right away or when you feel comfortable, by following a few simple steps you can maximize your chances of preventing any problems that may arise from the upgrade process itself.

For the sake of brevity, I won’t explain all the reasons for each step in detail - if you need more information please contact me directly.

Step 1: Plug in your AC charger. You phone should be as close to fully charged as possible.

Step 2: Backup your device to iCloud.

Step 3: Backup your device to your computer (Mac or PC) using iTunes. Be sure and select the encrypted option to save all your passwords and health data.

Step 4: Close all your open apps. I still like to “force close” everything. There is some controversy over whether this is still necessary, but “no harm no foul” to do it anyway.

Step 5: Power off your phone. Again, you may choose to do a graceful power down, or use the “hard reboot” option - your choice.

Step 6: Perform an Over-the-Air (OTA) upgrade by making sure your device is connected to AC power and Wi-Fi, but not connected to your computer.

An OTA upgrade on your home Wi-Fi network (not cellular) is the fastest and most reliable way to upgrade. By using OTA, your existing apps will be preserved and will not have to be downloaded again. (Downloading all your apps can take hours and hours otherwise.)

What To Do If The Upgrade Fails

If the upgrade fails or does not go smoothly, there are several different ways you can try to solve the problem.

If possible, I prefer to choose “setup as a new phone/device” to get everything working again without worrying about my data or apps. Once I have it working, I then restore from the backup I just made to re-load all my data and apps back into the device.

If you do have a problem, I recommend consulting reliable guides online and taking your time going through the correct recovery procedures to minimize your time & effort and to avoid any data loss.

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What do you think about the new iOS software? Are you going to install it right away or wait?