iOS 8 Is Here – But Should You Upgrade Now?

By | September 22, 2014
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iOS 8, the default OS on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, has garnered positive reviews from developers worldwide. However, if you own an older phone (iPhone 4S or any of the iPhone 5 variants), you should not immediately upgrade to the new platform. Wondering why? Read on.

 

Even the staunchest of Android fanboys cannot ignore the fact that Apple’s new flagship device – iPhone 6 – is off to a flying start, in terms of pre-orders and sales figures. Tim Cook and his team launched the new mobile OS platform, iOS 8, with the device. iOS 8 has now been made available for iPhone 4S and 5 as well. While your first instinct on receiving a notification to upgrade is to go for it, here’s why you should wait for a bit:

 

  1. Doing an iOS 8 jailbreak won’t be easy – Professional software developers and hackers will soon come up with viable techniques to ‘jailbreak’ an iOS 8-powered device. However, no such jailbreaking software has yet been discovered – and until it is, you would be better off with your already-jailbroken iOS 7 phone. Why be in a tearing hurry to upgrade, and sacrifice phone customization options in the process?
  2. iCloud Drive requires OS X Yosemite – Make no mistake – Apple has done a splendid job with iCloud Drive, which enables users to keep their iPhones and Mac systems in sync. However, for this property to be functional, your Mac has to run on the new OS X Yosemite (10.10) – and that has not been commercially released yet. Even if you make the move to iOS 8 now, you will have to still rely on the old iCloud storage system. Wait for a few weeks, and then you will be able to enjoy all the features of the mobile OS.
  3. Software upgrade is necessary first – Installing iOS 8 before ensuring that all the pre-installed software in your device are updated ain’t something you should do. Look for a wi-fi hotspot or plug in your handset, and do a ‘Software Update’ (you will find it under ‘General’). In addition, you will need certain third-party apps – like Extensions and Swype. In fact, without the latter, you won’t be able to use third-party keyboards – one of the most talked-about features of iOS 8.
  4. Storage space might be an issue – The new operating system platform from Apple needs only 1.4 GB of free space. However, you should ideally have at least 3-4GB of free internal memory space, before doing the upgrade. Otherwise, the speed of your handset might get compromised. A note to those who have hundreds of apps installed in their phones – you will have to get rid of some of the old, unused apps. This is your chance for doing a proper phone cleanup!
  5. Some of the apps might not work – Professional mobile app developers got their hands on the preview version of iOS 8, weeks before its official release at the 9 September event. Hence, they have had enough time to customize new iPhone apps according to the features and software of the new platform. Even so, chances are high that there would be some apps for which upgraded versions are not yet available. You might also find that some of the older apps have disappeared from iTunes. Wait for a couple of weeks, make sure that all the apps are upgraded, and then make the switch (for instance, Dropbox on iOS 8 still does not work). Do not lose out on functionality.
  6. Older phones and tablets won’t get Continuity – Heard a lot about the ‘Continuity’ feature of iOS 8 that enables you to share tasks (calling, checking email, etc.) between your Mac and your handset device? Well, unless you own an iPhone 5, you won’t be able to check it out in real (sorry, iPad 2, 3 and iPhone 4S users!). Unless Apple is planning to phase out the older devices (not really likely), ‘Continuity’ should come to these handheld device models too. And, as already mentioned above, Mac OS X Yosemite is not yet ready.
  7. You won’t get Handoff either – Yet another iOS 8 functionality that is in the final stage of beta-testing. To keep your stuff synced between iMacs and iPhones, ‘Handoff’ promises to be a really useful feature – but you won’t probably get the maximum benefits if you upgrade right now. Once again, the problem stems from the fact that the latest version of Mac OS has not been released till now. According to reports coming in from software and mobile app development forums, Apple is eyeing a late-October release for it, along with the next-gen iPad.
  8. There might be bugs and technical snags – iOS 8 is not as big an overhaul over iOS 7, as the latter was over iOS 6. However, that does not mean that everything will run just perfectly on the new platform from the very outset. As is common with any newly released software, there will be minor snags and glitches, which Apple would iron out over the coming weeks. It makes a lot more sense to stay loyal to iOS 7 and move over to its successor when it is completely bug-free, right?
  9. Taking Backup of your documents is vital – It would be a folly to try to be one of the earliest adopters of iOS 8, and lose valuable documents stored in your mobile in the process. You won’t get to use iCloud Drive yet, but kindly remember to keep backups of all your important files in iCloud storage (you will get the option under Settings → iCloud). In case the ‘Available’ space has whittled down to less than 1 GB, buy a new 20GB/200 GB (as per your requirements) from Apple. The prices are $0.99 and $3.99 (monthly) respectively.
  10. You won’t have an option to downgrade – When iOS 7 was first released, many people tried it, did not quite like it, and downgraded to iOS 6. Till now, there are no reports that this would be possible – once you have upgraded to iOS 8. In fact, if you are not aware about the ‘blobs’ that are used to downgrade a mobile OS version to its predecessor, it would become an impossible task for you. It would be a good idea to learn about these blobs and other such files commonly used for downgrading, before moving to the new platform. Unless you have just bought iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus, there is no reason to get stuck with iOS 8 – which can be initially problematic.
  11. Consider the speed of your device – Users of iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPad 3 please take note – the new mobile platform can slow down your iGadget. This can occur mainly due to compatibility issues between the device features and the software requirements/configurations of iOS 8. iPhone app developers feel that some of the ‘heavier’ apps might not work properly on the older devices – even if the apps are updated. As things stand now, you are better off using iPhone 4S with iOS 7.
  12. Enterprise features would require permissions – Wish to use your iPhone/iPad as a part of the overall software/IT department setup at your workplace? If yes, ask the system admin for the requisite permissions, before downloading the new Apple platform. Right from government-standard encryption and high-end passcodes, to corporate roaming and VIP messaging – iOS 8 comes with a host of new and useful business features. It would be a shame if you could not take full advantage of it.
  13. The latest version of iTunes is required – This is for the users who plan to install iOS 8 via iTunes. Replace the older version from your Mac/iPhone, and install the 32-bit iTunes 11.4 in its place. The advantages are two-fold – the iOS 8 installation will be quick and easy, and you will start getting all the advantages of iTunes as well. For more information on how to use iTunes in a smart, efficient manner, click here.
  14. Apple servers might get overloaded – Remember how the live streaming of the iPhone 6/6 Plus/Apple Watch launch event went kaput on September 9th? The same might occur if too many people are trying to download iOS 8 from the Apple servers at the same time. Hardcore Apple fans would rush to get a first-hand feel of the new platform, even if it is not fully functional at present. You need not be in a tearing hurry. Remember, who uses iOS 8 first ain’t important – getting the best out of the OS is what matters.

Try to gather information from fellow-users who have the same-generation iOS devices as yours and have already migrated to the iOS 8 platform. The actual process of upgrading is easy enough – and you will find the download links online. We feel that you should wait till OS X Yosemite arrives, and then make the switch. Otherwise, the initial chaotic days of iOS 6 (remember the Maps app?) might just be back!

 

Do let us know if you plan to upgrade to iOS 8 right now, or will be patiently waiting for a few more weeks…

Hussain Fakhruddin
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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
Hussain Fakhruddin
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