How to upgrade to iOS 7

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Do a fresh install on your iOS device

If you’d rather wipe your device and do a fresh install of iOS 7 (and then, optionally, restore your apps, settings, and other data), you can do so from iTunes.

On your computer, click the Restore button instead of ‘Check for Update’ in the Summary screen for your device. This action makes iTunes download iOS 7, as described above, but instead of performing an in-place update, iTunes erases your entire device and installs the new OS with factory-default settings.

Once iOS 7 is installed, you can disconnect your device from your computer and set it up wirelessly. That said, if you plan to restore your device from a backup, restoring your apps and data from the server will take longer. (Jump to the “Set up a device from a fresh install” section below to continue.)

If you don’t have much time to restore your device backup, it’s best to do it directly in iTunes, as restoring via USB is much faster than going over the air via iCloud. So, if you keep your iOS device connected to iTunes after restoring, you’ll see a screen asking whether you want to set it up as a new device or to restore it from a local backup.

RESTORATION NATION: After a restore installation of iOS 7, you can use iTunes to restore your data from a local backup.

Set up a device from a fresh install

You can perform most of iOS 7’s setup on your device itself. Don’t worry about making a mistake—if you find yourself tapping the wrong thing, you can press your device’s Home button at any time to launch the iPad Not Set Up menu and reset the process.

TIME TO START OVER: If you make a mistake or have problems with your network, press the Home button to bring up the iPad Not Set Up menu.

After a fresh install, your device greets you with a screen displaying “Hello” and “Slide to set up” in a variety of languages.

Drag your finger along the Slide to set up text to the right to access the next screen in the process. Your device asks you to pick your language and country, along with your Wi-Fi network. The device checks for any Wi-Fi networks in the area to which it can connect; to move forward, select a Wi-Fi network and tap the Next button. (You can also choose to set up your device over a cellular connection—if it has a cellular antenna—by tapping the Next button without selecting a network.)

The screens also ask whether you’d like to enable Location Services. Agreeing allows Apple apps (and third-party apps) to access your location via Wi-Fi networks and your Global Positioning System location.

LOCATE ME: Turn on Location Services to give iOS 7 access to your device’s GPS data for apps such as Maps and Compass.

You can always enable or disable these features on an app-by-app basis, and you can configure the option in more detail from the Settings app.

From here, you have three choices: You can set up your freshly installed device with factory settings, restore from an iCloud backup, or restore from an iTunes backup.

TIME TO SET UP: Now that you’ve upgraded your device, you must decide whether to restore your earlier data and apps or start fresh.

START FROM SCRATCH: If you want to have a clean slate after upgrading to iOS 7—maybe you’re giving this device to a family member or you’ve received it as a gift—you need to set up the device from scratch.

THE APPLE ID: Your device explains what an Apple ID is, and asks you to sign in with yours, create one, or skip this step.

The first thing you need to decide is whether to supply an Apple ID (or to create one, if you don’t have one). You use your Apple ID to buy music, apps, and books from the iBookstore, and you can associate it with iCloud if you want to.

If you already have an Apple ID, tap the Sign In with Your Apple ID button and enter your username (usually your email address) and password. Apple then spends a few moments linking your device to your Apple ID. If you don’t have an Apple ID, it’s easy enough to create one by tapping the Create a Free Apple ID button. You then enter your birthday, name, and email address (or you can create a new iCloud email address), as well as a password, a security question (in case you forget your password), and whether you’d like to receive email updates from Apple.

And if you’d rather not set up an Apple ID, you can tap the Skip This Step link below the two options. You can always add or create an ID from the Settings app later, but note that you won’t be able to buy anything on the iTunes Store or set up iCloud until you do.

Jump to the “Set up from an update or restore” section to continue the setup process.

RESTORE FROM iTUNES: If you have an iTunes backup and you disconnected your device from your computer after you restored it, select this option and reconnect to your computer. iTunes then takes you through steps similar to those outlined in “Set up a device from a fresh install” earlier in this chapter.

If you want to restore from a backup, choose Restore from this backup, and then use the pop-up menu to select the desired backup. Click Continue, and iTunes restores that data and syncs with your device. It then asks you to give your device a name and to choose whether to sync songs and videos, photos, and/or apps to your device automatically. After you make your selections and click Done, iTunes performs its first sync. Once that is complete, the setup process continues—on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch—just as if you had performed an update without restoring.

Jump to the “Set up from an update or restore” section to continue the setup process.

RESTORE FROM iCLOUD: If you have an iCloud account and you’ve previously backed up your device to iCloud, this option lets you restore that data directly to your device without having to connect to a computer. Choose Restore from iCloud Backup, and then enter your iCloud Apple ID and password. Agree to the iCloud terms and conditions by tapping Agree (twice), and your device displays all compatible iCloud-hosted backups. Be sure to pick the correct backup here, as the list may include backups for other devices you own.

CHOOSE YOUR BACKUP: Tap the correct backup to restore your device.

Choose the desired backup, and then wait—the process can take anywhere from a few minutes to many hours, depending on how many apps you had installed and how much data you had stored in those apps. (Restoring from an iTunes backup is much faster than restoring from iCloud, which is why many people back up to iTunes periodically even if they normally back up to iCloud.)

When the restore is finished, your device restarts, and you see a screen explaining that you have a few more steps to follow.

Jump to the “Set up from an update or restore” section to continue the setup process.

At a Glance
  • iOS 7 sports a revolutionary new design, under-the-hood features like Control Center and card-based multitasking, and app updates.


    • Extensive, eye-catching redesign
    • Control Center gives quick access to frequent features
    • More extensive multitasking capabilities


    • Minor bugs are not uncommon
    • AirDrop feature lacks Mac compatibility
    • iPad version feels uneven, sluggish
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