iOS 7: Coming Soon, and Why You Should Wait to Install It

Yes, iOS 7 is coming soon. Very soon. Tomorrow, in fact. Assuming your iPad/iPhone/iPod can handle it (more on that later), you can download and install iOS 7 through the air— for free! The question is, should you install iOS 7? The answer is “probably.” But not right away.

My advice: wait. Wait for others to find the bugs. Wait for ME to find the bugs. Wait for me to write up my first-hand experience (I of course will NOT wait as research does not wait here at the Christian Boyce Center for Advanced iPhone and Macintosh Studies). Upgrading an operating system is a very big deal and if something goes wrong you will be in for a very long day of restoring from backups. Assuming you have backups. If you have an extra iPhone that you can afford to play around with go ahead and play. But if you are thinking of installing iOS 7 onto the iPhone or iPad that you depend on every day– wait a little.

For those of you who simply must have the very latest thing I will remind you that the first version of any major software project will very likely have some issues. It is impossible to test everything and it is also impossible to fix every problem that testing reveals. There comes a point where the product is deemed “good enough to ship” and out it goes– even as the programming team is working on fixing bugs.

(Or even as the programming team is working on including features that couldn’t be finished in time to meet the shipping date. In iOS 7’s case, at least one major features– the iCloud Keychain– will miss the cut. We might not see the iCloud Keychain until iOS 7.1.)

The best thing to do is to wait until Apple puts out its second iOS 7 update. You’re probably thinking that one update should be enough, but the first update is what Apple’s working on now– meaning they are working on fixing bugs that they already know about (which means that the version that they ship Wednesday will go out with known bugs. After iOS 7 is installed on millions of devices it is likely that problems that Apple DOESN’T yet know about will surface… and Apple will fix those bugs in the second update. The first update fixes the bugs that they know about already, and the second update fixes the bugs that they find out about after the software ships.

Of course you don’t want to hear any of this. What you want to know is, will iOS 7 run on my device, and how can I get it?

Here are the devices that Apple says will work with iOS 7.

compatibilityfooter_iphoneiPhone 4
iPhone 4S
iPhone 5
iPhone 5c (iOS 7 pre-installed)
iPhone 5s (iOS 7 pre-installed)

compatibilityfooter_ipodtouchiPod touch 5th generation (16 GB)
iPod touch 5th Generation (32 GB/64GB)

compatibilityfooter_ipadiPad 2 (yay– that’s mine!)
iPad with Retina display
iPad mini

How to get iOS 7? That’s about as easy as it gets: go to Settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, then to General, then to Software Update. But not until Wednesday the 18th, and hopefully a little later than that. The servers will be under a heavy load Wednesday so it might be hard to get iOS 7 on the first day anyway.

If I Were You

I would back up my iPhone, iPad, or iPod using iCloud, and I would also back it up to my Mac using iTunes and the cable (USB or Lightning). Here’s a link to my article about how to back up using iCloud. Regarding backing up to iTunes, connect your device to your Mac, the control-click on the device’s icon in iTunes (go to View/Show Sidebar if you don’t see it), then choose “Back Up Now.” Here’s how it looks in iTunes.
Backing up to iCloud is easy, but backing up to iTunes is better since you can encrypt the iTunes backup, saving you some trouble with passwords if you do have to restore. Do both and you’ll be all set.

Once you’re backed up you can feel good about moving ahead with the iOS 7 install (sometime down the road, right?). If you do it by going to Settings, then General, the Software Update you will be installing iOS 7 “in place” which means it leaves your stuff alone while swapping in a new system. You can install iOS 7 by connecting your device to your Mac with the charging/syncing cable, and then downloading iOS 7 to your Mac, and then applying it to your iPhone/iPad/iPod, but when you do it that way it can take quite a bit longer as the initial installation will completely wipe out your device, which will then be restored from backups. Not the fastest thing in the world. Do it the far-simpler “in place” method by tapping Settings, then General, then Software Update.

Here’s the official iOS 7 video so you can see what Apple has in store for you. Lots of fun stuff in there but remember– if you can stand to wait, wait.


2 thoughts on “iOS 7: Coming Soon, and Why You Should Wait to Install It

  1. Don't wait THAT long. Just wait long enough for a couple of updates. Even now, with 7.0.4, there are issues. I am looking forward to 7.1 (I made my move at 7.0 but it's my job to test.)

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