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Hands on with iOS 6: Installation

Dan Frakes and Serenity Caldwell | Sept. 20, 2012
iOS 6 arrives today, and eager users everywhere are getting ready to upgrade their devices. If you’re concerned about the upgrade process, or simply want to know all your setup options before making the big switch, let us help you upgrade your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to iOS 6 with this step-by-step guide.

In theory, the first time you open iTunes with an iOS 6compatible device connected to your computer, iTunes will prompt you to download iOS 6. In practice, this may not happen automaticallyfor example, your computer may not have been notified of the updates availability, because Apple rolls out updates gradually. You can force iTunes to check for an update: Just click the Check For Update button in the Summary screen for your device. Assuming that everything is working properly, iTunes should begin downloading iOS 6 from Apples server.

You can do other tasks while waiting for the download to finish; once it does, your device restarts and begins installing the software. When the update is complete, youll see a message that your device has been updated and is restarting. The process should preserve all your data and appsyoull simply have a shiny new version of iOS once your device restarts.

Restore vs update

If youd like to restore your devicethat is, do a fresh install of iOS 6 and then, optionally, restore your apps, settings, and other datayou can do so from iTunes. Click the Restore button instead of Check For Update in the Summary screen for your device. This makes iTunes download iOS 6, as described above, but instead of performing an in-place update, iTunes erases your entire device and installs the new OS with factory-default settings. At the end of the process, you can set it up as a new device, restore it from an iTunes backup, or restore it from an iCloud backup.

Restore your device using your computer: If you dont have much time to restore your device, its best to do it directly in iTunes, as its much faster to restore via USB than it is over the air via iCloud. So, if you keep your iOS device connected to iTunes after restoring, youll see a screen asking if you want to set it up as a new device or restore it from a local backup. (You cant restore from an iCloud backup within iTunes, unfortunately.)

If you want to restore from a backup, choose Restore From The Backup Of, and then use the pop-up menu to choose the desired backup. Click Continue, and iTunes restores that data and syncs with your device. If you truly want to start from scratch, instead choose Set Up As A New typeofdevice. Youll be asked to give your device a name and then choose whether to automatically sync songs and videos, photos, and/or apps to your device. Make your selections and click Done, and then iTunes performs its first sync. Once its complete, the setup process continueson your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touchjust as if youd performed an update without restoring.


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