We’re just a few days away from the release of iOS 11, the latest generation of the operating system that powers your iPhone and iPads. Lots of changes are going to show up and lots of cool new features, but before you get excited and tap that “update” button, it’s important to prepare for a major OS update! Let’s look at some of the basics…
The first and most important thing to ensure is that your iOS devices are already updated to the latest version of iOS 10 to ensure that there are no glitches or problems in the process. As of this writing, the latest version of iOS 10 is 10.3.3. If you don’t have that, you’ll want to upgrade to 10.3.3 before you jump up to iOS 11.
It’s also smart to do a complete backup, either to iCloud (what I recommend) or to your Mac or Windows computer. Either way, make sure that your devices are all fully backed up, just in case something fails to work properly.
I’ll have some additional tips about how to recover from a failed upgrade later in this article.
A third smart step: get rid of apps, photos, videos, music and movies you don’t need. All upgrades require extra space for temporary file copies and other miscellany, so if your iPad or iPhone is jammed up, you might not be able to upgrade at all. If you’ve done a backup, of course, you aren’t losing anything, just getting rid of redundant copies of things.
Don’t forget that photos and videos aren’t really deleted either, just moved into the “delete pending" folder. To really delete them, you’ll want to follow this tutorial: How to really delete photos from iOS. Skip that step and you won’t have freed up any space at all, confusingly enough.
Finally, I always like to fully charge my device and leave it plugged in for the entire update process. Know that it’ll restart a few times as things are moved into place and probably take at least 15-20 minutes, all told, even if you have a fast network connection. Wait until it’s done to unplug and try using it too!
WHAT IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?
Apple puts a huge amount of effort into ensuring that iOS updates work seamlessly, but there are errors, problems and hiccups. It’s inevitable. A good backup definitely helps you be protected, but sometimes proceeding is as simple as forcing a restart [tip: how to force a restart might end up very useful reading].
But what if that’s not enough? What if your phone is stuck on the Apple logo, or is completely unresponsive (known in the biz as “bricked")? Then a tool like PhoneRescue can be a lifesaver; it can recover otherwise lost data from your iPhone or iPad even without a backup. But you did that successful backup before you jumped to iOS 11, right?
Don’t give up hope either, because PhoneRescue can often fix problems that cause you to be stuck at the Apple logo or facing a blank screen, and can even help out if you’re stuck in the dreaded recovery mode loop.
Good luck with the iOS 11 update – I’m excited to get all the new features! – and if you do have a problem, I suggest you check out PhoneRescue and see if it can help out. Start with their How to Fix a Stalled iOS 11 Upgrade tutorial.