Lost amid talk of Apple’s new iPhone at the company’s press event last week was iOS 10. But Apple did say it’s coming—and soon.
At its press event, Apple said that iOS 10, which was announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, will be available to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users starting on Tuesday. Like its predecessors, the app will be a free download, and available over the air, so users won’t need to plug their devices into a computer to get the software on their hardware.
Apple’s (AAPL) iOS 10 comes with several improvements, including a slew of bug fixes and security enhancements, as well as a revamped Apple Music that makes it easier to find music, a new Home app to control smart home products like a smart thermostat or light bulb, and improvements to Apple’s News application. Users will also find several new features in Apple’s iMessage, including the ability to append stickers to messages, and accessing more information about a notification will be easier. Apple has even opened up its virtual personal assistant Siri to third-party developers, so users can interact with non-Apple apps with the voice assistant.
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Suffice it to say, iOS 10 is one of the biggest updates to Apple’s mobile operating system in quite some time. So, for those who want to download it, here’s a quick guide on how and when:
When: Apple hasn’t said exactly when iOS 10 will be available on Tuesday, though its major software updates usually start hitting its devices around midday or so. Apple, which has its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., typically likes to release updates around that time so its engineers are ready for any problems that might surface.
What devices are supported? Apple’s iOS can run on a range of devices. On the iPhone side, users can run it without trouble on iPhone 5 through iPhone 7. The iPad will also get support for iOS 10, with the iPad Mini 2 through 4 all supporting the software. The fourth-generation iPad, the iPad Air and iPad Air 2, and the iPad Pro will also run iOS 10. Apple’s sixth-generation iPod Touch is also supported.
How: Before you download iOS 10, be sure that your device’s data is fully backed up via iCloud. Having data backed up means you reduce the risk of losing data if the update process goes awry and something on the device’s storage becomes corrupted. Apple’s iCloud typically backs up data on its own, but you can always check to see when you last backed up in your iCloud settings and choose to manually back up before you download the update.
Once you’re sure your data is properly backed up, it’s time to find the download. Depending on your settings, you might get a notification to download iOS 10, from which you can choose to either install it at that time or at some point in the future. You can also go to iOS Settings, choose General, then Software Update to access the software. If it’s available at that time, your device will alert you and you can start downloading. However, be aware that Apple will only install the update if the iOS device is connected to a power source or has enough battery life left to get through the lengthy update process. If there isn’t enough battery life left, Apple will wait for the device to be connected to a power source before installing the software.
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Once the update commences, there isn’t much left to do but wait for it to be installed. While you can keep using your device while the operating system is being downloaded, once it’s time to install it, your hardware will be useless until the operating system comes back up in all of its iOS 10 glory. From there, you need only to follow the prompt, input your Apple ID information, decide whether you want the operating system to track your device, and you’ll be good to go.