Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 6, is now available for download. As long as you have an iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, you can take advantage of the more than 200 new features – for free.
What can you expect from the new OS? A number of cool additions, including Apple’s new Maps app with 3D cityscapes and turn-by-turn directions; deep Facebook integration; better Siri support (including directions and business search in Canada); and a Passbook app to organize your boarding passes, movie tickets, coupons and gift cards. (Note: not all of these features will work with the older versions of the iPhone.)
You can update your iPhone to iOS 6 without a computer – simply tap Settings, General and Software Update when on a Wi-Fi network. But we recommend doing it with a computer, so you can first make a back-up of your important data, media and apps. Here’s how to do it:
1. Launch iTunes
Connect your iPhone 3Gs, 4 or 4S to your computer via the USB cable and launch iTunes if it doesn’t launch automatically. You may be asked to download a new version of iTunes, so follow the on-screen prompts to update the software on your PC or Mac. This shouldn’t take more than five or 10 minutes once the file is downloaded.
2. Back up your iPhone
Connecting your iPhone should automatically back up your phone’s contents for you, which is always a good idea when you install a new operating system — just in case you need to revert back to this state. If the backup doesn’t initiate on its own, you can right-click on the device name on the left side of iTunes and choose “Back Up.”
3. Select your device
On the left-hand side of iTunes, click on your device’s name (such as “Tom’s iPhone”); this will open up the Summary page in the main iTunes window. Under the Version header, click “Check for Update” to upgrade to iOS 6. iTunes will now download and upgrade your iPhone for you. Sit back and relax.
4. Don’t touch that dial
You don’t need to do anything while iTunes downloads and installs the new operating system on your iPhone — but it’s critical you do not disconnect the phone from your computer or quit iTunes until it’s done. When the update is completed, your phone will restart and you will be prompted to sign in with your Apple ID. Now sync to iTunes to bring back your apps and data, if desired.