Playing around with the iOS 9 public beta these last few months has been fun, but now it’s time for the real deal. Apple’s latest and greatest mobile operating system arrives today, and the free download is a no-brainer for iPhone and iPad owners. Last year, the infamously huge installer for iOS 8 meant that upgrading was an even slower process than usual. Hopefully iOS 9′s slimmed-down file should make installations much faster and smoother this time around.
With iOS 9′s exciting new features, who wouldn’t want to make the switch? Perks include a battery-saving low-power mode that dynamically turns off system functions, enhanced security, a proactive assistant that intelligently displays music and apps based on your tastes and the time of day, new Apple apps like the Flipboard-like News for aggregating your favorite media, and updates to older apps like Notes and Maps and services like Apple Pay. Meanwhile, iPad owners can expect the improved QuickType keyboard system and the long-awaited split screen viewing options for multitasking.
So here’s what you need to do to get onboard the iOS 9 train.
1. Make Sure Your Device Is Supported
In the past, new versions of iOS would run poorly on older devices, if they even ran at all. Apple wants to change that with iOS 9. Not only will the new OS support every device than ran iOS 8, including devices as old as the iPhone 4s, iOS 9 will adapt to its host hardware to make sure it doesn’t slow things down, even if that means reducing or removing features. So if you think your iPhone or iPad is too old for iOS 9, you should still check to see if it’s compatible. You may be surprised.
2. Update iTunes (If You’re Using It)
If you want to install iOS 9 from iTunes, or use the program to back up your iPhone or iPad beforehand, you should be running the latest version. Go to Help > Check for Updates. If you’re running iTunes version 12.2.2, you’re good to go. If not, install the update and restart.
3. Back Up Your Device
Do you want to lose everything on your device? Didn’t think so. So make sure to back up your data before installing iOS 9. That way, if something goes wrong you’ll be able to recover your precious contacts, cat pictures, and ICP tracks. Backing up your iOS device is quick and easy with iTunes or Apple’s iCloud. And while you’re going through that data, why not take some time to delete unwanted files and free up space? Use iOS 9 as your excuse for some fall digital cleaning.
4. Update to iOS 9
This is what you’ve been waiting for. You can start downloading iOS 9 through your Wi-Fi connection or manually via iTunes. The former is easier, but the latter is faster.
Over the Air (via Wi-Fi)
On your device, go to: Settings > General > Software Update. The request system from last year returns, meaning you won’t have to keep checking over and over again for the update’s availability, while stressing the servers even more. Agree to the terms and conditions and the download will soon start. Be sure to plug your device in as well. You don’t want a dead battery to ruin the fun.
To download iOS 9 via iTunes simply plug your device into your computer and launch the program. Click on your device (“Jordan’s iPhone”) on the left side of the screen, then look for a “Check for Update” button in the center and click that, too. From there you’ll see options for “Download and Update” and “Download.” Click “Download and Update.” If that doesn’t work, try just “Download.” Click one more button the middle and iOS 9 will be on its way to your iPhone or iPad.
iOS updates are free and popular, so with everyone trying to score them at once, have some patience while trying to upgrade. Follow any and all instructions that show up onscreen. Depending on what download method you are using, make sure your device stays connected to Wi-Fi or your computer. If you did everything correctly, your device should eventually reboot and be all shiny and new again thanks to iOS 9.
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