The final release version of iOS 4.1 for iPhone or iPod touch hits sometime this week (perhaps Wednesday?) and we'll post it up right on the front page the minute it's ready. Before you race to download, however, there are a few steps you want to go through to get ready -- to make sure you have the smoothest upgrade possible.

Check device compatibility

iPhone 4 gets the full update. iPhone 3GS and the 2009 Pod touch G3 (64GB and 32GB) get everything their hardware supports (no HDR photos, HD YouTube uploads, etc.).

iPhone 3G and iPod touch G2 (which includes the 2009 iPod touch 8GB) get performance fixes, which really plagued them following iOS 4.

The 2007 original iPhone 2G and iPod touch aren't compatible with iOS 4 or iOS 4.1.

If you're not sure which iPhone or iPod touch you have, check Apple's support pages. [iPhone, iPod touch]

Make sure you're running iTunes 10

You need iTunes 10 in order to use all the new features, like Ping social music network. Apple released it last Wednesday so, if you haven't gotten it already, hit Software Update and download the latest, or get it directly from Apple. [iTunes 10].

(Developers, remember you have the option of updating via Xcode instead of iTunes).

If you've Jailbroken, re-virginize

Many folks who Jailbreak their iPhone or iPod touch likely won't rush to update but will wait for an iOS 4.1 Jailbreak first. If for some reason you do want to update sans Jailbreak, consider restoring to stock 4.0.2 first. You may not have a problem, but we've heard from enough readers enough times that we recommend this including this step.

Again, updating to iOS 4 will mean no Jailbreak, no unlock for now. If that's a deal breaker for you, don't upgrade.

If you need extra help with this step, we've got a thread up in the TiPb Jailbreak Forum just for you.

Backup your data

Once you have iTunes 10 installed, plug in your iPhone and/or iPod touch and sync it. You want your data backed up, anything you've purchased or updated on-device transferred safely to your Windows/Mac library, and the position of any media you're currently enjoying recorded so you can keep going from the same place once your iOS 4.1 update is done.

Remember, if you haven't synced in a while it could take a few minutes to backup. Don't be impatient, let it run.

Once that's done, launch iPhoto on your Mac or your favorite image capture program on Windows and copy over any photos you've taken on the iPhone. Losing your Camera Roll, especially if it has a lot of special moments recorded, is something to be avoided at all costs.

Get up to speed on iOS 4.1

Once everything is done and ready, and if you're still waiting for Apple to release the update, why not check out our <a href=">complete iOS 4 walkthrough so once you've downloaded and installed it you can spend your time enjoying the new functionality, not trying to discover it.

Jump into the forums and learn more

Did we mention how smart TiPb forum members are? If you have any lingering questions or need any additional help, or you just want to relax and chat with like-minded iOS enthusiasts and technology adepts, head on over to the TiPb iPhone Forum.

Best community on the 'net, check it out.

Anything else?

Did we forget anything or just plain get something wrong? Any tips or tricks you use before updating to a major new version of iOS? Let us know in the comments and we'll update.