Daily Tip: How to do an iOS OTA update [developers]

iOS 5 developer curious how to do an over-the-air (OTA) update to iOS 5 beta 4 for iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch? Yes, Apple finally pulled the big test switch in the cloud and you can go from beta 3 to beta 4 via a svelte, under 200mb, bit differential (delta) update-in-place rather than the usual beefy 700MB+ iTunes restore of updates past. We'll show you how, after the break!

Initiating an OTA update for iOS 5 beta 4 is easy as fairly easy pie. Some reports even indicate badge and/or popup notifications will alert you to its availability (though we haven't seen any on our end... yet). To start it manually:

  1. Launching the Settings app
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Software Update
  4. (If it gives you an error pop up, just try again later. The Cloud, it strains.)
  5. Tap Download and Install
  6. Watch the progress bar! (This part depends on the speed and quality of your 3G or Wi-Fi signal. Don't be alarmed if it takes a long time or appears to jump around. Beta means beta!)
  7. Once it's finished downloading, you'll be prompted to instal (and restart) your device. If you don't explicitly hit Later or Install within a few seconds, it will install on your behalf.
  8. Apple will verify the install.
  9. That's it! You should reboot into iOS 5 beta 4 exactly how you left off in iOS 5 beta 3.

Seriously, once the download finishes it's amazing quick and smooth Apple may not have invented OTA updates (Chris swears BlackBerry has had them for ages, and Nokia likely invented them in 1812...) but if beta 4 is any indication, they're doing them right.

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