The Apple iPhone 5 goes on sale tomorrow (September 21), but owners of current iPhones, iPods, and iPads—including Consumer Reports—are already able to download and use Apple's new version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6, which adds a number of features and capabilities.
One major change in iOS 6 is the debut of Apple's proprietary Map and navigation apps, which replace Google's map and search-based services. Some early users have reported problems with these Apple apps, such as buggy search results and a lack of information about public transportation.
We haven't finished our assessment of this and other aspects of iOS 6, but should you decide to take the plunge, here are a couple tips from our engineers that could help make the upgrade safe and easy. Keep in mind that on debut days for new iPhones, we almost always see network congestion, which may delay your upgrade.
Sideload the update. Apple offers you two ways to upgrade: over the air or (for iOS 5 devices only) syncing your phone with your computer. While the freedom of updating cord-free may sound appealing, updating via computer gives you the added safety of backing up your previous settings and media files in case something goes wrong. Also, the over-the-air updates require you have at least 2GB of free space on your iPhone.
Watch the Wi-Fi. Some iPhone users have reported buggy Wi-Fi reception after the update. No word yet from Apple on this issue, but our engineers suggest this fix if you experience problems: Go into General submenu of Settings and select Cellular. Slide the switch off for a few seconds, then turn it back on.
Stay tuned for more tips on how to get the most from all of your iOS devices as we continue our tests.