iOS 11 Out Now: How to Download & Install it on iPhone & iPad
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It’s that time of year again! A brand new iPhone has been revealed, and a brand new version of Apple’s mobile operating system is ready for public consumption.

Despite the focus on brand new hardware this time round, there are still plenty of exciting features in iOS 11 to unpack and enjoy. That’s true whether you’ve got an old iPhone, iPad, or even the recent iPod Touch Should You Buy Apple's Best iPod Touch Ever? Should You Buy Apple's Best iPod Touch Ever? The new sixth generation iPod Touch is the best iPod Apple has ever made, but it suffers from one fatal flaw: nobody actually needs one. Read More .

So, here’s what to expect, how to get it, and a few things you might want to consider before hitting the update button.

Why Should I Care?

Every year Apple releases a new update for iOS devices. This year marks the arrival of iOS 11 and the iPhone’s 10th birthday. Apple has never charged for an iOS upgrade, and these free iterative updates have seen the operating system change dramatically since its introduction in 2007.

As always, it’s completely free and adds new features, security fixes, expanded core functionality, and future compatibility with apps that build upon Apple’s new developer tools. All you need is an iPhone 5s or later; iPad mini 2, Air, Pro or later; or the sixth-generation iPod Touch.

iOS 11 Out Now: How to Download & Install it on iPhone & iPad ios11

If you want to stay ahead of the curve, download the latest apps, and enjoy some brand new features then you should make the update a priority. Even if you don’t live life on the bleeding edge, Apple dedicates a significant portion of the updates to behind-the-scenes performance and security improvements.

And let’s not pretend your device isn’t going to start bugging you about the update in a few days anyway.

What’s in it for Me?

If your iPad is compatible with the update (and unless it’s ancient, it probably is) then you’ll see a significant number of new features. There’s a new Files app for managing local and cloud storage, a Mac-like Dock for dragging and dropping content or quickly accessing your favorite apps, and a brand new app switcher for smarter multitasking.

iOS 11 Out Now: How to Download & Install it on iPhone & iPad ipad ios11 1

Drag and drop between apps is now a thing, and there are expanded Apple Pencil features including a new lock screen which functions as an always-on notebook. Check out some of the other ways iOS 11 will transform your iPad 11 Ways iOS 11 Makes Your iPad Even Better 11 Ways iOS 11 Makes Your iPad Even Better iOS 11 is the first version of iOS in history that's mostly iPad-centric. Better still, the new features work across most iPads both old and new! Read More .

This time around Apple is embracing HEVC and HEIC to get more out of your iPhone storage. The new video and image compression techniques save roughly 50% of the space media required in iOS 10 Why HEVC and HEIF Are Great News for Mac and iPhone Users Why HEVC and HEIF Are Great News for Mac and iPhone Users Apple's move to HEVC and HEIF is going to save you a ton of space on your devices, especially if you shoot a lot of video. Read More .

For the rest of us, iOS 11 feels more like a refined version of iOS 10 than an overhaul. The iPhone camera gets Instagram-friendly looping Live Photos and some new filters. Sharing stickers and other content in Messages 12 Cool Things You Can Do With iMessage Apps for iOS 12 Cool Things You Can Do With iMessage Apps for iOS You can do a lot more than simply send text, voice, picture, and video messages with iMessage. Read More is easier thanks to a friendlier interface, while the App Store gets an Apple Music-inspired makeover.

iOS-11-Control-Center-HomeKit

Siri steps up again, with new built-in translation services. Better machine learning provides more relevant news stories, QuickType predictions, and Safari searches to boot. Control Center gets a refresh, while the lock screen and notifications are handled slightly differently too.

And let’s not forget compatibility with Apple’s newest technologies, including AirPlay 2 and its granular control over wireless audio, ARKit for a potentially exciting new wave of augmented reality apps Apple Gets Behind Augmented Reality With ARKit Apple Gets Behind Augmented Reality With ARKit How will Apple's commitment to augmented reality affect the apps of the future? Read More , and a faster setup process for transferring personal settings to a new device in record time.

iOS 11 Out Now: How to Download & Install it on iPhone & iPad arkit ios11

For a closer look at some of the new features, check out our full iOS 11 reveals What's New in iOS 11? The New Features Coming to Your iPhone What's New in iOS 11? The New Features Coming to Your iPhone Here's everything coming to your iPhone and iPad with the arrival of iOS 11 later in 2017. Read More .

How do I Get it?

You can install iOS 11 using two methods: over-the-air updates on your device, or by connecting to a Mac or PC running iTunes. Regardless of which method you choose, you should make sure your device is backed up before doing anything.

Updates can and do fail How to Fix a Messed Up iOS 10 Update How to Fix a Messed Up iOS 10 Update If you tried updating your phone to iOS 10 only to find that it messed up somewhere along the way, there are three things you can do to fix the problem. Read More , and sometimes you’ll need to restore to factory settings. That’s when you’ll be glad you took the time to make a backup first.

1. Create a Backup

You can either back up your device to iCloud, or to a computer. To back up to iCloud, head to Settings > iCloud and make sure Backup is enabled. You might need to buy iCloud storage Is It Finally Time to Buy More iCloud Storage? Is It Finally Time to Buy More iCloud Storage? Now that iCloud storage costs considerably less than it used to, it might be time to upgrade beyond 5GB. Read More in order to back up your device, since you only get 5GB for free. It will also take some time if you haven’t made one before.

iOS 11 Out Now: How to Download & Install it on iPhone & iPad itunes devices

The other (free, local, and fast) way of backing up requires that you update or download the latest version of iTunes. Plug your device into a computer, and click on the devices button when it pops up (see the screenshot above). With your device selected, click Back Up Now on the Summary screen and wait.

2. Install the Update

With your device backed up, head to Settings > General > Software Update on iOS to download and install the update over the air. You will be notified when the update has downloaded, and then you will be prompted to complete the install.

You can also plug-in to a computer, launch iTunes, select your device, and hit Update on the device Summary tab. This will download the update within iTunes, then apply it to your device. You might have to opt for this option if you don’t have enough free space on your iPhone or iPad iPhone Storage Full? How to Create Free Space on iOS iPhone Storage Full? How to Create Free Space on iOS The best way to maximize your available iPhone storage space is to buy the biggest device you can afford. Too late for that? Here's how to create free space on your iOS device. Read More to do it over-the-air.

Anything Else I Should Know?

Some apps will behave unusually with a new version of iOS, pending an update from the developer. If you have any applications you absolutely depend on, particularly from smaller developers, you should check they are compatible with iOS 11 before you hit the trigger.

Since iOS 11 is 64-bit only, that means 32-bit apps will no longer work once you’ve installed the update. Thankfully you can check which apps won’t work before you install the update Check Now to See Which of Your Apps Won't Work on iOS 11 Check Now to See Which of Your Apps Won't Work on iOS 11 With iOS 11, apps that are still 32-bit won't work on your iPhone or iPad anymore. Here's how you can check to see which apps won't run on the new version of iOS. Read More . A large number of these apps will be abandoned games, personal projects and experiments that haven’t seen updates for years.

Early reports suggest that iOS 11 isn’t going to improve performance for most users, and older devices may suffer a bit in this regard. If your iOS device is only a few years old, you shouldn’t see any significant slowdown.

What do you think of iOS 11? Did the update go smoothly for you? Let us know what you think about the new features, good or bad, in the comments below.

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