Planning on updating to iOS 4.1 this week? Here's what you need to know!

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.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Planning on updating to iOS 4.1 this week? Here's what you need to know!


Other than Ping, what else would I be missing if I don't go too iTunes v10 but do update to iOS 4.1?

@Josh. Minor graphics changes, button size and placement differences. Not much else vie seen in my limited exploring apples website probably has more info...

I'm just gonna skip this and go straight for the iPod 4. Got my receipt ready to return this new 8GB iPod I got with the student discount.
S/N: does this not sound like fragmentation?
Like seriously, I have both iOS and Android. But why is it that Android gets dragged for this stuff. iOS gets a walkthrough?

My question is does 4.1 finally fix the annoying battery drain issue with the WiFi? It's pretty annoying having to switch on airplane mode to keep my battery from draining itself ever since "upgrading" to iOS4...

@iDavey - "S/N: does this not sound like fragmentation?" Nope. Android, aka Fragdroid, aka AdDroid, is fragmented because new devices are being shipped with 1.x even though 2.2 is available on others. And there's simply no way to upgrade many of those old devices. Next question.

ok...say u haven't jailbroken before and when/if a jailbreak comes out for 4.1 you want to jailbreak. should i wait for the jailbreak to come out or can i upgrade and still jailbreak again when/if the jailbreak comes out?

I've actually got that problem too. I've noticed when my wifi is on...the battery goes quicker than a G1 with Browser going at all times (which is fast for non-Android acquainted folks).
I've just simply turned my iPod on airplane mode and use wifi only when I need to make App Store purchases...which arent that often.

Yes...yes funny names. Wooo....
Moving onto grown up conversation....
That would be plausible IF it was relevant. It matters NOT if the new phones are being shipped with 1.x software (which there really arent any if you want to be SPECIFIC. And no, Xperia does not count since that phone has been out HOW long now across seas? And nobody is really even checking for Aero. Every other phone is up to 2.x software.)
But the fact is that lets say I have an iPhone 3G...still a good working phone. My phone now can not do what the iPhone 3G S can do with 4.1...the exact same update that everyone else is getting. But then again, my 3G S can now not do what the 4 can. Same goes for iPod.
So once again I is it that Android gets dragged for the exact same thing, but iOS gets excuses and walkthroughs. That has yet to be answered rightfully. Because both are said to be limited in distribution of updates and features based on hardware capabilities.

So how does one get this 4.1 update? I just plugged into my new iTunes 10 and it says helpfully "update 4.0.2 is ready for you to download and install". Or something. But 4.0.2? Do I have to go through 4.0.2 to get to 4.1? Come one, I just want my 3G back.

You're not thinking about this correctly. An iPhone from two years ago is an old phone. It isn't, in Jobs' opinion, capable of running the new software without noticeable issues. Look at android though, releasing phones last month that are still awaiting new software(and tablets still awaiting release pushing 1.5 and 1.6 versions!). There is fragmentation there.
That being said, with iPhones, there is one model a year. That makes the software release schedule that apple has in place make sense. I wouldn't expect my old 3G to do the things that my iPhone 4 can, it's not a case of fragmentation, it's a case of old hardware not being capable of a solid user experience with newer software. If apple were still selling these older devices, that would be a different story.
On the other hand, with android, devices are constantly being released with already outdated software. For example, a device as capable (and in my opinion flat out impressive) as the htc incredible having to wait for new software is retarded. That isn't an issue of trying to make the user experience better, it's fallout of fragmentation. If android had a set release schedule for software and phones, maybe it wouldn't be so noticeable. Instead they have many manufacturers making devices, and even slapping skins over the os, further complicating things. This isn't all googles fault, but it is a fact. Trying to say that ios is fragmented because apple isn't upgrading 2 year old phones is simply stupid.

Good video, just because he's naked in the bath doesn't mean he's sexing it up :s it's cute and grown up.... shame the song is so freaking lame

Hi.So I used your links to download the update. But when I press shift+update and select the ipsw file I downloaded, it says it is not compatible. I dont understand since I have always upgraded my software in this manner from your links.