With iOS 8 now available as a free upgrade for many iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch owners, here are a few tips to keep in mind before you take the plunge. First, make sure your device is eligible for the update. Here's of the list of devices covered: iPhone 4s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod Touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display.
Second, back up your data, preferably using iTunes. After plugging your device into your PC or Mac, open iTunes, click the name of your device when it appears on the top right corner, and under Manually Back Up and Restore, click Back Up Now. If it's the first time you've backed up the device, prepare to spend at least half an hour on the process. If you're not near a computer, you can use iCloud Backup.
Download and Setup
Now you should be ready to download and install iOS 8. You can do this via Wi-Fi or via iTunes if you're connected to a computer. If you're connected to Wi-Fi, go to Settings > General > Software Update. By the time iOS 8 is available, a message will tell you so. Tap Download and Install. You'll be prompted to install once the download is done, then your device will reboot.
If you're using iTunes, make sure you have the latest version, connect, select your device from the bar on the top right of the display, click Summary, then click Check for Update. You'll then click Download and Update, then follow the on-screen instructions to set up your device.
Once you've rebooted, you should get a message saying that the update was completed. You then will want to enable location services to enable Apple's anti-theft service. If you're using iCloud, you'll be asked to enter your Apple ID password. After you've done so, Apple's Terms and Conditions screen will appear. Once you've agreed, you'll be given the option to upgrade to iCloud Drive.
If you use iCloud Keychain and you want to have all your passwords on your device, pick Use iCloud Security Code and Apple will send you an SMS with the code.
Once all that's done, you'll see a touch screen with a welcome message. Once you tap Get Started, you'll be ready to use your iOS 8 device.
More Secure, But Secure Enough?
Of course, with any upgrade comes concerns over security, and Apple seems to be aware of that. More than 50 previous security vulnerabilities have been fixed in iOS 8, the most serious of which would allow an attacker to execute code on the device with root privileges.
One thing to keep in mind is that despite the fixes, many significant security issues remain in earlier versions of iOS. When we reached Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, he pointed out that Apple only supports fixes on new versions of the OS and expects most owners to upgrade.
"The problem is that as more and more enterprise software is built for iOS, it's impossible to upgrade at the pace Apple wants," Dulaney told us. "So does an enterprise potentially break one of the old installed applications that are mission-critical in return for mitigating potential security threats?"
While the security issues might not be critical for individual consumers, companies using iOS 8 devices will want to proceed with caution.
"I think that Apple has to rethink this process for the enterprise," Dulaney said. "Enterprises cannot move at consumer speed."