Yesterday Apple released iOS 6.1. Besides the stated features, there appear to be Easter eggs in the package. But the pros and cons of the content will be discussed elsewhere. I'd like to discuss the process of doing the upgrade in the safest fashion.
My new i5 came with 6.0.1. Mere days after getting it, 6.0.2 rolled out. Being young and naive, I recklessly went for an OTA upgrade. At the time, the carrier had 4G/LTE up and the process went uneventfully.
Now with 6.1, their LTE network has collapsed and they fell back on 3G, with less than stellar coverage. I decided to do the upgrade tethering the phone via USB cable to iTunes 11.0.1 running on my 10.7.5 MBP. And would like to present why it is the safest way to do an upgrade and why you should do yours with the backup of your computer.
First, the mechanics. After you plug in the phone and start up iTunes, the device will show up in the left pane. Selecting it and clicking the Summary tab, the Backups section is your focus. Either ensure tha Automatic Back Up is chosen to be done on the computer or do a Manual Back Up. iCloud automatic backup is not a desirable option at this time cause it does NOT back up all the contents and settings of the phone and will complicate recovery if it comes to that. To do an Automatic Back Up, you need to click the Sync button. A Manual Back Up is carried out at the click without having to visit the Sync button. Now click on Check for Update. iTunes will contact the App Store (you may need to sign in), detect 6.1 is available, and offer to Ignore, Download Only or Download and Update. Click Download and Update. iTunes will download and store in the Mac the 6.1 code, keeping it handy for any future use (i.e., phone restores or updating more than one phone). The file is somewhat large so be patient; on my 5Mbps ADSL home link with a wired connection, it took around 25 minutes. iTunes will be checkpointing and validating the download to ensure no errors.
Download completes and the phone's screen will show a globe with a USB plug pointing to it. At this point make sure it does not get disconnected till the process concludes or risk a bricked phone. Needless to say, the Mac should be connected to its power adapter so it doesn't run out of juice. The phone restarts and goes offline into maintenance mode, with the silver Apple logo on the screen. In iTunes progress bar, the current phone software and contents will be validated, the phone's registry and entitlements will be checked with Apple and software update commences. A progress bar will appear under the Apple logo on the phone screen. At the 50% mark, iTunes announces that the firmware will be updated. The progress bar fills up and iTunes states the phone will then restart, disconnecting itself from the Mac, and to wait till it reappears on iTunes' window.
Phone starts up but the usual green battery charging splash screen is replaced with an "IOS 6" logo and "slide to unlock" with "Configure" displayed in different languages. Doing so leads you to an "accept the terms" screen and then a "sign in to the App Store" screen where you have to retype your AppleID password. Finally it is back in its Home screen and ready to use both in iTunes as well as a fully updated iPhone.
Advantages to doing an upgrade this way?
- The main download is carried out in the Mac, which can be set up with a faster and more reliable wired connection. Plus no cellular data charges.
- The download is kept on the Mac for any further need, including updating several phones. Multi-iPhone families, take notice.
- The process is extensively validated at all points. Provided you don't inadvertently pull the plug, the phone is never at risk anytime.
- Should it be necessary, recovery is speedier since everything is backed up.
- No risk of power loss and code corruption, provided you plug the Mac to the wall.
- The process is extensively documented in a detailed log, useful if anything should go wrong.
For those fellow forum members who help out less fortunate users with sick phones, this last point seems quite useful. At the end of the process, the Mac's Console app will get you access to an iPhoneUpdate.log for each update. It documents in excruciating detail every bit of the process, which should prove invaluable if something goes wrong.
So there you have it. For those who have resisted all the way to here, thank you for your endurance. May this be of use.
Anything you'd like to add?