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Apple ‘s iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates for the iPhone and iPad are brimming with important and useful new features, from a new app library and widgets on your home screen to tighter privacy features and iMessage improvements. But before you install iOS 14 and iPad 14, there’s a bit of basic housekeeping you should do to make the update to your iPhone and iPad go as smoothly as possible. We lay out everything you need to know, including a checklist of how to get your phone or tablet ready.
Which devices will support iOS 14 and iPadOS?
iOS 14 has plenty of goodies for iPhone users.
If you have a compatible device, you should be able to see you have an update available by going to Settings > General > Software Update. But, don’t tap Install Now quite yet.
Don’t skip this step: Clear out the clutter
When it comes time to update software or upgrade your phone, take a few minutes to go through and delete what photos and apps you don’t want or need from your camera roll and installed apps.
Our phones are a digital junk drawer of sorts, collecting random screenshots, photos, videos and single-use apps. Taking a few minutes to clear it out helps free up storage, shortens the amount of time you’ll spend waiting for it to backup, and even saves you some cash if you’re paying for extra iCloud storage just to keep it backed up.
Create a fresh backup, it’s important
If you can help it, you should never update your iPhone or iPad without a current backup. Updates aren’t a perfect process, and sometimes things go wrong. The last thing you want to happen is an update to fail, then you’re left setting up your phone as brand new. Nobody wants that.
It’s best to do this step right before you start the update process, that way the information stored in your backup is as current as possible.
You can backup your devices using iCloud, using Finder on Mac, or iTunes on a PC. iCloud is by far the easiest method, simply because it’s built into your device and only requires a Wi-Fi connection. That said, if you’re out of iCloud storage space or prefer to have more control over your device backup, then you can use your computer.
Option 1: Use iCloud backup
If you have iCloud backup turned on, your device should be backing up each night while it’s charging and connected to Wi-Fi. However, you can force a backup at any time by going to Settings > tap on your name > iCloud > iCloud Backup > Back up now.
Speed up the process by plugging your phone or tablet in to a charger and connecting it to a Wi-Fi network to prevent mobile data use and killing your battery in the process.
Option 2: Backup on a Mac
If it’s been awhile since you’ve backed up your device using a Mac, the process has changed. With the death of iTunes last year, you’ll now have to use Finder to create a backup.
I have a guide detailing the entire process, which truly isn’t all that different than the old iTunes-based method.
It distills down to connecting your device to your Mac, opening it in Finder and then clicking a couple of boxes to start a backup.
Option 3: Backup on a PC
Use Windows? You can still use iTunes, just like you always have, to back up your mobile Apple devices.
Before you start, make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed. The easiest way to do that is just to open it, and if you see a prompt to update it, then do follow the steps.
With that done, connect your device to iTunes using a Lightning or USB-C cable. The rest of the process consists of selecting your device in the iTunes interface and starting a backup. We have outlined all of the steps in this post, but let me make one more recommendation: Click the box that says you want to Encrypt your local backup. Doing so will backup all of your email accounts and app passwords, saving you from having to enter those whenever you have to restore your phone.
Now that you have your phone backed up and all of the random junk and clutter removed, install iOS 14 or iPadOS 14. Once it’s installed, check out some of our favorite features, including the new homescreen that includes widgets — that you can customize.