The latest version of the iPhone and iPad operating system, iOS 5, comes out today and is available for third and fourth generation iPod touches, all iPads, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.
There are a ton of great features included in the update, but the feature that will have the most profound impact, especially for people who don’t plug their devices into their computers every day, is free iCloud backup. In addition to copying any new content to the device, iTunes also backs up your device’s data to the computer. The type of data that is backed up includes:
- Photos and videos in your Camera Roll
- App data
- Device settings
- Home screen layout
If you ever lose your device and need to get a new one, you can restore the device using the latest backup and the device will look exactly as it did at the time the last backup was taken. The key here is “at the time the last backup was taken”. If you haven’t plugged your phone into your computer in a month and then need to replace it, all of the photos, videos, text messages, and notes taken in the past month are gone. Even better: you can restore the device from anywhere there’s a WiFi connection – you don’t have to wait to get home to get up and running.
With iCloud backup, your device is backed up to Apple’s servers daily, as long as it’s plugged in and connected to WiFi. BOOM You no longer have an excuse for not having an up-to-date backup of your phone.
HOW TO GET IT
In order to get iOS 5 and iCloud backup, you do need to update to iTunes 10.5 and you do have to plug your device into iTunes one last time (future software updates come directly to your phone – another benefit of having iOS 5). Once you plug the device in, iTunes will tell you that a new version of iOS is available and ask you if you want to upgrade. If it doesn’t, you can check manually by clicking on your device on the left hand side and then click “Check for Update” near the middle of the screen.
After the upgrade is complete, go into your device’s Settings, tap on iCloud and follow the instructions on the screen in order to set up iCloud and iCloud backup.