Your essential iOS 10 upgrade guide

How to upgrade the easy way

Apple, iOS, iOS 10, upgrade, how to, tips, iPhone, iPad, iPad Pro, iPod touch, Apple

Apple will ship iOS 10 at 10am PDT today and millions of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users will want to download and install the update. What follows is a fairly complete guide of what to do.

Why upgrade?

The new release is packed with improvements: A much smarter Siri, better QuickType suggestions, brilliant new image analysis tools, the HomeKit tools we need for a connected home, an all-new iMessages platform designed to transform what we do; improvements in Maps, Apple Pay, Safari and so much more. Take a look at these 11 iOS tips and this list of less well-known iOS 10 features to get an idea. If you use a 3D Touch iPhone then the upgrade looks even more compelling.

Check compatibility

The following devices are compatible with iOS 10:

  • iPhone 6s,
  • iPhone 6s Plus,
  • iPhone 6,
  • iPhone 6 Plus,
  • iPhone SE,
  • iPhone 5s,
  • iPhone 5c,
  • iPhone 5,
  • iPad Pro 12.9” and 9.7”,
  • iPad Air 2,
  • iPad Air,
  • iPad 4th gen,
  • iPad mini 4, mini 3, mini 2
  • iPod touch 6th gen.

Do you need to upgrade now?

Each year I see the same thing: millions try to upgrade their iOS at once, Apple’s servers struggle to cope with the demand. Ask yourself if you absolutely need to upgrade immediately and if you don’t then wait a day or so, and the process should be much smoother.

Wait for the point update

Each year it’s the same – once the iOS is in the wild Apple will identify new flaws that haven’t emerged during extensive beta testing. The company usually manages to fix these problems with a subsequent point upgrade to the iOS. In some cases, and particularly for those running older devices, it may make sense to delay upgrade until the release of that version.

Backup before you begin

Once you decide to upgrade do take a moment to backup your device first, either over the air to iCloud or to your Mac/PC using iTunes. You may also want to backup your device using an external storage solution, if you have one.

Manage storage

If you intend upgrading the software today then please go through the apps and other data stored on your iPhone, deleting apps you don’t use, music you don’t play and so on. To remove unwanted apps, tap Settings>General>Storage & iCloud usage>Manage Storage. Use this short guide to freeing up storage to help you. Don’t worry about deleting apps as you will still have access to them through the App Store, though be sure to preserve any app data you might want to use in future. You may want to create a fresh backup after this task is complete.

Get the passwords

You should make sure you take a note of all your Apple ID, iCloud, Wi-Fi, VPN and application-related passwords (Twitter, for example) before you upgrade. You may need to enter these again once the upgrade completes.

Upgrade iTunes

Even if you intend upgrading wirelessly, do take a moment to upgrade to the latest version of iTunes on your Mac/PC (if you use it).

The latest version of the software will let you upgrade through iTunes, which has been advantageous in previous years. It also lets you backup your device to the computer if you lack iCloud drive space.

Time to upgrade

There are two ways to download and install iOS 10:

Wirelessly: In Settings>General>Software Update you will be able to see if the OS is available in your region. Once it is you will be able to download and install the update here, though you will need to connect the device to power first.

With iTunes: Connect your iOS device to your computer, open up its Summary page in iTunes and click “Check for Update”.

Both methods will request that you agree new terms and conditions.


If the update fails to complete or device performance seems sluggish forcing it to restart may help: Press and hold both the sleep/wake button and Home button for at least 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo.

NB: iOS often reindexes its Spotlight search information after a major upgrade – the process can take time and can impact system performance while it takes place, so be patient.


If you encounter unexpected problems then this guide may help. Alternatively use Apple’s official support pages here:

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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