Waiting to update to iOS 4.2? Here's what you need to know!

The final release version of iOS 4.2 (iOS 4.2.1) for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad will become available for download sometime today 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 and to make sure you have the smoothest upgrade possible. We'll go over them after the break!

Check your device compatibility

iPhone 4, iPod touch 4, and iPad get the full update. iPhone 3GS and the 2009 Pod touch G3 (64GB and 32GB) get everything their hardware supports (not a big deal this time).

iPhone 3G and iPod touch G2 (which includes the 2009 iPod touch 8GB) get even more performance fixes, which is good considering how badly they performed under iOS 4.0!

The 2007 original iPhone 2G and iPod touch aren't compatible with iOS 4.2. Here's what Apple said:

The iOS 4.2 update is available today to download to iPad, iPhone and iPod touch by syncing the device with iTunes 10.1. iOS 4.2 is compatible with iPad, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second and third generation iPod touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB) and new iPod touch. Some features may not be available on all products. For example, Multitasking requires iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, third generation iPod touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB) or later.

Make sure you're running iTunes 10.1

You need iTunes 10.1 in order to use all the new features like AirPlay. Apple released it on November 12 so if you haven't gotten it already, hit Software Update and download the latest, or get it directly from Apple. [iTunes 10.1].

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

If you've Jailbroken, re-virginize

Many people who Jailbreak their iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad likely won't rush to update but will wait for an iOS 4.2 Jailbreak first. If for some reason you do want to update regardless of Jailbreak, consider restoring to 4.1 pure first. You may not have a problem, but we've heard from enough readers enough times that we recommend including this step. (No laughing Ally and Farbod!)

Again, updating to iOS 4.2 will mean no Jailbreak, no unlock for now. If that's a deal breaker for you, don't update. Just wait.

If you need extra help with this step, we've got a Jailbreak Forum just for you.

Backup your data

Once you have iTunes 10.1 installed, plug in your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad 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 4.2 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. Even the remote chance you may lose 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 4.2

Once everything is done and ready, and if you're still waiting for Apple to release the update, why not check out our complete iOS 4.2 for iPhone and iPod touch walkthrough and complete iOS 4.2 for iPad 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 Forums.

It's really the very best place on the internet, and the best community, so get involved!

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!


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

More Posts



← Previously

AirPlay, VoiceOver coming with Apple TV 4.2 update today

Next up →

iOS 4.2 for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple TV now available!

Reader comments

Waiting to update to iOS 4.2? Here's what you need to know!


I just cant wait for the cool new text tones...So exciting!!! NOT!
All i pray for is better battery life!!!

LOL @ Robert
I'm so close to switching to a Blackberry man .. Im shocked that Apple considers more text tones an update! That's SO lame!

No... but AirPlay, AirPrint, find text in page in Safari, and replying to calendar invitations are features. It's just a minor update, what do you expect?

I thought the most recent jailbreak exploit used in greenpoison was supposed to be setup in such a way to NOT be affected by an OS upgrade?

@JasonD it is. They were working on a way for it to be untethered which I believe is ready. Also Cydia currently won't work on iOS 4.2.1 yet but once Apple releases it to the public Cydia will be updated as well to be able to work on it.

@Anthony - "Im shocked that Apple considers more text tones an update! That’s SO lame!"
Have you been living under a rock? Or maybe have not really read anything about what this update includes. If what you said was indeed true then I would agree 100%. However this is hardly the only thing in the update. To you use your same logic you could say "Why would I upgrade from my Ford Pinto to a Ford Mustang when all I get is a new paint job... That's it, I'm switching to Chrysler!!".
If SMS ringtones are enough to make you switch to Blackberry then you are most likely better off with a Blackberry. I will be the first to admit that iPhone/iOS is not the "phone/OS to end all others". But IMHO Apple does a better job at delivering then any other company "CURRENTLY" does.

@ANTHONY. go to blackberry, for the ringtones if you goona be happy, but you will come back. after pull too many times the batterry, and lossing a lot performance..
Go ahead.. be my guess

Stop wining 'Mr on the verge of getting a Blackerry'!!... remember, having and "Apple' means forever wondering why they hold back the most pathetic basic feature you'd get on a 2005 Motorola, but having to also remember all the good things this iPhone gives you. How it's the leader. the original, copied and imitated, the non-buggy (don't mention the Alarm clock fiasco and text that types 'mr' when you want to type 'me'!!!). The iPhone is the one thing everyone who hasn't got one sl*gs off just because they are jealous. Apple can be infuriating and the BB has a few good features but leave now and you'll regret it until you return!!!

It's amazing how comments are bashed if anyone brings up a negative about the Iphone. Using blackberries for the last 5 years and switching to a Iphone, there are things that both do well and poorly. Blackberry wins hands down on notifications, messaging, and customization of the operating system to your taste. Iphone wins hands down on web browsing, media, and the camera. The main reason I left the blackberry was for the web broswer. It is about the only thing to me that makes the Iphone shine above. I also enjoy being free of the IT dept and trapped with a IT policy through enterprise. Anyway, point being, I enjoy reading why someone may or may not leave a platform.

ANTHONY is a blind ass.
well, blackberry so you never pull the batterry? so in five year in the dark side, you still think blackberry is a good device.. omg. you are blind too.
people using blackberry, lose their mind and become dumbs..

Becareful when trying to re-viginize your iPhone.
Apple may have already stopped signing 4.1, so restoring you phone to 4.1 first may result in an iTunes error 1004
If you are Jailbroken and have saved your SHSH blobs, then there is a workaround

Defensive... Maybe I can answer why. It may be because it's actually the other way round. Apple lead and create markets and then everyone else works overtime trying to find stupid tiny faults. The windows dinosaurs all round on us as if we are mad. People with an old flip handset call us gullible and with more money than sense just because we spend money on great tech rather than drugs booze etc and android wannabe's tell us we are craaaazy just because we don't care much about flash. That's why every now and then we start to feel we want to fight our corner.

I have been working with the 4.2.1 GM for several days and noticed when you tap the Google search in Safari, before you start typing it shows a history of what you have searched. I really don't like this, as it is a little embarrassing for someone to see your past Google searches. It also may give away your girlfriends Christmas gift if you aren't careful...

Do I really have to restore to 4.1!? I'm jailbroken on 4.0.1, I was just going to do a restore to 4.2.1.
I skipped 4.1 but I must say, my phone has been really really really buggy. If it wasn't for the fact that I need tethering, bitesms, 3G unrestricted, and sbssettings. I would update my phone as soon as it's available.

@ David James
I take my iPhone over my BB any day. I've basically dumped my
BB and gone iPhone full-time. But to get incensed about people making comments such as the ones that were being made here says more about the defensive than the person who made the comments. Heaven forbid people insult our lil phones.

I don't really see the text tones as a major point of this update. There is clearly a lot more coming with this update for iphone users. Also, keep in mind that whenever these updates come out, for everyone one thing you notice, there are ten other things that have been fixed or made more efficient. In terms of stability, iPhone still rules. I've had many cell phones and smart phones over the years, including 2 iPhones (3GS and then the 4). I can definitely say that my iPhones have been the more stable and highest-performing smartphones I've ever used.

Question: If you have multiple devices (iPhone and iPad, say, or husband/wife iPhones) do you have to download the update twice? Or will iTunes keep the file and apply it to every device that needs it? I'd hate to have to download it a bunch of times.

Your Jailbreak link doesn't work...
http://forum.tipb.com/iphone-jailbreak-unlock/ YIELDS:
vBulletin Message
We are sorry, but the forum you're looking for isn't here. It's possible that the link is broken because of the integration of the old Phone different site and the iPhone Blog. We recommend you give the forum search a shot!

I have 4.2 GM on my iPad and no matter how many times I click on update it keeps telling me I have the latest version....do you have to do something special with the GM to get it to update to 4.2.1?

The update deleted all of my text messages as well as all of my voice mail. Oh well, a day in life of an Apple addict.

Why does Apple not let you use songs as text tones?
Oh and also to the guy who is thinking about switching to a Blackberry, i really dont recommend it we have them for work phones and they are not anywhere close to having the features or the quality of an iPhone.

@iPhoneFan I would find your argument more credible against the blackberry if you had somewhat cohesive sentences. Maybe you could use your iPhone to learn english?

English is fun. I could you are a blackberry lover, I see your blindness about that dinosaur, because, you blackberry people hate when some like me tell you the truth about your junk. RIM got to many blackberries out and every single one you have to take off or pull the battery out, because froze screen, leaking memory, and the famous clock comes up. Am I a Lier? Don't be stupid please.
Ps. Don't you worry about English. A least I got your attention, and you got my point. Dude. And do me a favor. S.T.F.O. Punk

Do you have an iPhone. I guess no! Probably in your hand you have a blackberry. That's the problem when some people talk without know. Try the iPhone and then go back to blackberry, and you will be missing the iPhone.
God please give light to this blinds blackberry user that they think blackberry is the best. Please.