5 Things to Consider Before Upgrading to iOS 6

iOS 6 is the latest iteration of Apple’s operating system designed for their iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad devices. As each new version of iOS brings hundreds of new features to device owners, it can be natural to feel excited about its impending release in the fall of 2012. There are a few things, however, that you should consider before plugging your iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad into your computer on that fateful day and selecting the “Upgrade” option in iTunes.

iOS 6 is almost certainly going to slow down your device, unless you’re planning on also upgrading to a new iPhone or iPad. Each new version of iOS requires more of your device’s resources than previous versions, just as every new version of a computer operating system requires more RAM and processor speed than the last. What this means is that your apps may slow down a bit if you own a newer device like an iPad 2, or they may slow down a lot if you own an older device like an iPhone 4.

iOS 6 may also cause you to experience issues with older applications. Most app developers are quick to release updates for their software that take advantage of the newer features of a new iOS version. What people may not realize is that until those apps are updated, some of them may experience incompatibility issues with the newer operating system. If your app is no longer supported by its developer this issue gets worse as any incompatibility issues will likely go uncorrected, causing you to lose the ability to use a particular application.

 You might not be able to use all of the features. Just because iOS 6 supports over 200 new features doesn’t mean that your device actually supports them all. iOS 6 is designed to bring Siri support to the iPad 3 (also called the iPad HD), for example, but that same feature will be unavailable on the iPhone 4 and fourth generation iPod Touch due to hardware incompatibility. iPad 1 owners can’t even upgrade to iOS 6 at all and will be permanently tied to iOS 5 for the rest of the device’s lifecycle.

You shouldn’t try to upgrade to iOS 6 on the first day of its release. The iOS 5 upgrade, for example, caused a massive traffic buildup on Apple’s webservers for two full days after its initial release. This made it difficult for even the fastest connections to download the large installation file. As the operating system needs to be authenticated by those same servers before it can finish its installation, even people who downloaded the file couldn’t actually install it for another few days. Wait a few days before trying to upgrade to iOS 6 once it becomes available.

Do not forget to create a backup of your settings prior to an iOS 6 upgrade. In order to upgrade your device to the newest version of iOS, all of the content on that device must essentially be “wiped” or erased. The new operating system is then installed, at which point you can restore all of your personal data and settings from the backup. iTunes is supposed to perform this function automatically, but it’s imperative that you create a manual backup just to be safe. You wouldn’t want to use years of information because you forgot to do something or because iTunes malfunctioned in the most inconvenient way possible.

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