The 10-step iPhone/iOS upgrade guide

Apple ships iOS 9 and new iPhones soon, here’s what you need to know to upgrade

Just as they do each year around this time, smartphone sales have slowed down while most of us wait to get a new iPhone or install the latest iOS. If you intend upgrading iOS or your iPhone, here’s what you need to know.

Step 1: Check

Unlike previous releases iOS 9 runs on most current iOS devices, though not all features work on all of these. What it means is iOS 9 runs iPhones starting from 4S up to 6 Plus; or iPads from iPad 2 on (including iPad Air and iPad mini). This support implies current models will all hold value well once new models ship.

Step 2: Market

Price comparison site tells me iPhone market values drop between 15-40 percent in the weeks before a new iPhone launch. To get the best price you can on your existing iPhone you have two choices, sell it early and make do with your mum’s old Nokia, or search out a ‘price lock’ deal that agrees a price now which is then frozen so you sell when new models ship (or try T-Mobile). is one place where you can check current second user iPhone prices and search for buyers offering price locks. Now you have a picture of what your phone is worth and may have agreed a sale price so you can quickly upgrade when the new iPhone ships.

Step 3: Edit

Upgrade time is a good time to review your stuff. Do you still use all those apps? Watch all those movies? Have you archived and sorted through your images? No? Digital lives create so much data it’s good practice to delete or archive things from time-to-time. Take a look at Settings > General > Usage > Show All Apps to vet what apps you have and the space they consume.

Step 4: Home

Now you’ve deleted some apps you might need to manage your Home screen. Put the apps you use most on the front page, while putting groups of apps in folders elsewhere.

Step 5: Traces

Unlink your device from Apple Pay, Find My iPhone and iCloud services before you sell it. To delete everything on your device use Settings>General>Reset and choose then ‘Erase All Content and Settings’. If you have Find My iPhone enabled you’ll be asked for your Apple ID.

Step 6: Backup

I hope you backup your regularly, but you should certainly do so before sale of upgrade. You can backup through iTunes on your computer or via iCloud (subject to paying for sufficient space). While iCloud will backup automatically, iTunes needs you to run a manual sync. The big iCloud advantage is it lets you restore your device backup online from anywhere, not just your Mac.

Enable iCloud backup:

Settings>iCloud>Storage & Backup. Enable iCloud Backup. To restore from iCloud go to Settings>General>Reset All Settings and choose Restore from iCloud Backup from the options you find.

Enable iTunes backup:

Launch iTunes and select your device.

Open File>Devices>Backup

First time you’ll be asked to select what content you wish to backup. To restore a device, connect the device and choose ‘Restore from Backup’.

Optional step

To protect my library I like to offload photos and video to additional storage media, such as the reliable SanDisk Connect series of iOS-friendly drives.

Step 7: Account

Please ensure you know all your iCloud account details (email, passwords) and your device passcode as you’ll be asked for these when you upgrade iOS or setup your new iDevice. Users of more advanced services (such as VPNs) may also need to note any relevant passwords/information for these before they upgrade.

Step 8: Patience

Every year millions attempt to install the new OS the moment it becomes available, and downloads are slow. Be patient, wait a day, and you’ll have a better upgrade experience.

Step 9: Verify

When you upgrade iOS or set up a new iPhone, it sometimes makes sense to check through Location and Notifications settings to ensure no apps have cheekily given themselves permissions to use these services if you didn’t want them to.

Step 10: Enjoy

iOS 9 has lots of interesting new features to explore, take a look around – and these new iPhones are swell!

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