Apple released iOS 6 on September 19, 2012, and with this update came over 200 new features. This included the more popular features like 3D maps and GPS, Facebook integration, panorama pictures, passbook and a better Siri, among other updates. This tutorial will go though the steps necessary to install iOS 6 and some tips to help you out incase you are having any issues updating.

iOS 6 is updatable on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPod Touch 4, iPod Touch 5, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4 and the iPad mini. Any of these devices, even if they only have 8GB of space can be updated to iOS 6. Depending on what iOS device you use you may not have access to all of the features included in iOS 6. For example, Siri is compatible on an iPhone 4s but not on an iPhone 3GS, this is simply because it does not support the system requirements (or because Apple wants more money). There are 2 ways to update to iOS 6; through iTunes and through your devices software update.

If you are having issues updating to iOS 6 because of an error saying you don’t have enough space then read this article: Update to iOS 6 even when there’s not enough space

Backup your device before updating to iOS 6 if you want to restore all your apps and settings!


Update to iOS 6 through iTunes

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Update through iTunes

Updating through iTunes is as simple as plugging your device into iTunes and clicking the “Check for Update” button in the devices summary pane. If you are not using iOS 6 already, iTunes will pop up a little window saying an update is available.

If an update is available for your device:

  1. Click the Download and Update button
  2. Agree to Apples terms and conditions
  3. iOS 6 will start downloading to iTunes. The progress can be viewed from the “Downloads” tab on the left sidebar in iTunes (show sidebar by going to View -> Show Sidebar)
  4. Once done downloading, iTunes will extract the new firmware (iOS 6)
  5. The device will turn off and then restart, an image will appear showing your iOS device connected to your computer. Don’t unplug the cord!
  6. A process bar will show up on your iOS device showing the progress, be patient it can take a while.
  7. iTunes will pop up a window saying the device has been updated, and that your iOS device is going to restart again.
  8. When your iOS device starts up again, it will show another progress bar, this one taking less time than the first.
  9. After it is completed, your iOS device will go to the lock screen and tell you that your device has been successfully updated.
  10. Enter your Apple ID when asked (if you have one). This step can be skipped if you don’t have an Apple ID. However if you do I recommend entering it here.
  11. Decide whether you’d like to set your iOS device up as a new device, or to restore from your backup.


Updating to iOS 6 through your iOS device without iTunes

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Update through Device

To update to iOS 6 without iTunes, your iOS device has to be connected to Wi-Fi. The device should also be plugged into a wall outlet (not your computer). Although it’s not entirely necessary; for instance if your battery level is over 40 – 50% you should be fine. Open up Setting -> General -> Software Update. If there is an update for your device it will show up here. Tap the”Download and Install” button.

  1. Agree to Apples terms and conditions.
  2. Your iPod, iPhone or iPad will start to download the update (around 600-700ish MB depending on device)
  3. Once it completes downloading, it will start preparing the update.
  4. After the update is done preparing, the update has to verify (could take anywhere from 5 seconds to a couple of minutes)
  5. Your device will restart once it’s verified.
  6. Upon restarting a black window with a progress bar will appear showing the remaining update time.
  7. Once done, it will bring you to lock screen, where you enter your Apple ID.
  8. After entering your Apple ID and password, your device will start restoring all your settings, apps, contacts ect, from your iCloud backup if you choose to restore from an iCloud backup.


Thoughts on updating to iOS 6

Personally I find backing up to iCloud to be the most streamlined and easy way to backup and restore. The iCloud backup includes purchased music, TV shows, apps, and books; photos (not videos) in the Camera Roll; device settings (for example, Phone Favorites, Wallpaper, and Mail, Contacts, Calendar accounts); app data; Home screen and app organization, Messages (iMessage, SMS, and MMS), ringtones, and more. Media files synced from your computer aren’t backed up, but can be restored by syncing with iTunes once the update to iOS 6 is completed.

Also when your device loads up to the home screen of iOS 6 for the first time, all that’s required, is for you to enter your Apple ID and all the backup data will start to stream into your phone from your iCloud backup.

From my experience, when upgrading to a major new version of iOS (iOS 5 to iOS 6) you notice less bugs and weird issues when you set up as a new device. Setting up as a new device does not mean you lose everything. If you use for your email address (,, then your Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Notes, Safari Bookmarks, Photo Stream, Reminders and iWork Documents will sync back up to your device once you re-add your email account in Settings -> “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” on your iOS device.

When restoring without the backup, what won’t be restored is all of your app data. Certain apps like RSS readers usually let you log into an online account and have all the feeds sync back to your iOS app. Twitter and Facebook of course won’t be affected simply because once you log in to the app after downloading it again, your account just stream back into the app. Other apps like Street Fighter for instance will not restore the backup data, you can of course re-download the app from the App Store, but when you load it up you’ll notice that your Battle Points have reset.

Camera Roll also will not be restored if after you update to iOS 6, you setup as a new device, but that’s not a problem if you have Photo Stream enabled and storing all your photos. Check if it’s enabled by going to Settings -> Mail Contacts, Calendars -> Apple ID account -> Photo Stream -> “On”.