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iOS 8 Is Here! Should You Upgrade Right Now Or Later?

The eagerly awaited iOS 8 is finally out and available for download to all Apple iPhone users.

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iOS 8 screenshot image. [Photo credit: Forbes] play

iOS 8 screenshot image. [Photo credit: Forbes]

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? Odds are the answer is yes. Every iPad will work with the upgrade except the first generation model. All iPhones from the iPhone 4S on will, too. That means all iPhone 5 variants, but not the plain old iPhone 4 (which is now a 4-year-old model) or anything before it. If you have a 5th-generation iPod Touch, that's the only series that will work (the Touch hasn't been upgraded in some time, so many out there will qualify). Apple doesn't do this to obsolete devices on purpose, but rather because of performance issues. Older iPhones have slower processors and sometimes less memory, too. iOS 8 should run well on most older devices.
  • Step 2: Backup (and maybe upgrade your iCloud storage) Though these upgrades tend to be reliable, you're going to want to make a current iCloud (or iTunes) backup before you begin — just in case. Go to Settings –> iCloud –> Storage & Backup. Before you hit the Back Up Now button, though, take a look at that screen. You'll see a line called "Total Storage" and one right below that called "Available". If the total on the available line is in the megabytes, i.e. it ends up MB, you definitely need a new plan. Even if you have a gigabyte or two, you still might.
  • Step 3: Upgrade Most of you have done this before. How do we know? Because more than 90% of devices have iOS 7 even though many were sold with earlier versions. Plug in somewhere, get on WiFi and hit General –> Software Update –> Install Now. You'll need your passcode (if you have one) and then you'll wait.

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.

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