Out with the old, in with the new. That was the theme of last year's iOS update, known as iOS 7, which ushered in a flat new design.

Although Apple threw in some new functionality as well, it was clear the company was mainly focused on giving its mobile OS a face-lift and setting the stage for future updates -- the first of which is coming out tomorrow.

iOS 8 builds on last year's software with a plethora of new features, including third-party keyboards, camera controls, widgets, home automation, health and fitness tools and the ability to interact with other apps.

Most apps will need upgrades to exploit the most powerful features of iOS 8. In short, after running the new OS for months, experts believe it's mostly safe to upgrade today but if you choose to wait, you won't necessarily feel left out.

If you do go ahead, here are some upgrade pitfalls to consider:

  • Step 1: Can you even get iOS 8?
  • Step 2: Backup (and maybe upgrade your iCloud storage)
  • Step 3: Upgrade

Once you complete the upgrade, you can expect a lot of apps to receive upgrades, too. If you haven't turned on automatic app updates (Settings –> iTunes and App Store –> Updates), now is a good time.

iOS 8 is sprinkled with a lot of improvements. You should feel free to upgrade today if you must. But you shouldn't worry if you get an error message from Apple's servers being overloaded. This upgrade has a lot to offer; it'll just take some time to realize its potential.