A little more than a week after it announced new iPhones, Apple is launching the latest version of iOS tomorrow, and that means it’s time to get ready for the most radical design update Apple’s mobile operating system has seen. While Apple hasn’t announced a specific time for iOS 7′s launch, it seems likely that iOS 7 will go live by 9 a.m. tomorrow, given past updates. To make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running with iOS 7, here are my three keys to making sure your update runs smoothly.
Sweep out the cobwebs
It’s been a year since Apple’s last update, which means it’s a good time to clean out all of the cruft that has accumulated since you updated to iOS 6. I know I had a few gigabytes worth of audiobooks I had finished and apps that I wasn’t using taking up unnecessary space on my iPhone. While you’re at it, make sure you’ve updated all of your apps to their latest versions in order to take advantage of all the changes developers are pushing out to be ready for iOS 7.
If you’re planning to update over the air, it’s especially critical that you make sure you have enough space to download the update onto your device. While Apple hasn’t released the total size of the iOS 7 update yet, I usually aim for having about a gigabyte of space free.
Back it all up
Before you run the update, make sure you have a current backup of your phone either saved to iCloud or your computer. In theory, iOS 7 shouldn’t require you to restore from a backup, but in the event something goes wrong, you don’t want to be left with an old backup as your only restore point.
To check your iCloud backup status, go to the Settings apps, and then navigate to iCloud > Storage & Backup, and your phone will tell you when your last iCloud backup took place. There’s also a big Back Up Now button, if you want to make sure you have the latest data synced to the cloud.
Pack your patience
While Apple continues to improve when it comes to update server performance, it’s entirely possible that downloading iOS 7 will take a long time tomorrow morning. The good news is, Apple’s update systems are fairly good at being unobtrusive while you wait, but I wouldn’t bet on being able to get everything done in a half hour before running out the door to work.
Also, remember that a new OS means that there’s a potential for new bugs to rear their ugly heads in your favorite apps. While I’m sure Apple has done its best to try not to disturb anything, you might run into a few bumps as everyone tries to stabilize their apps.
So, there you have it: my three tips for upgrading to iOS 7. Now that you’re all ready to go, here’s how to grab the iOS 7 update.
Stay tuned to GeekWire this week for more coverage of iOS 7 and the launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C.
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.