It’s the night before iOS5 comes out, what you should be doing now

With any software update, be it Windows, Mac or your iPad apps, there is always a risk of something going wrong in the process. There is no problem with your hardware and the software is good… but you never know if a power surge, loose cable, frayed cable, bad karma, or sun spots will ruin your day. Almost everyone will download and hit the ‘yes’ to update button with a very happy result. Why not lower the odds of being that tiny percent that will have an issue?

With the iOS5 update is a iTunes desktop update. 10.5 is available now so do that now rather than at the same time as doing the iOS update. With iTunes open, choose the iTunes drop down and click on Check for Updates… . Software update will launch, find the 10.5 update and offer to install. The update does not require a restart of your computer.

When a iOS update this large has come out in the past, a lot of developers have updated their apps. If you wait to update those when loading iOS5 you will just expand the time it will take to do the upgrade. Also, many apps might not be ready to run on iOS5, requiring the update. Those apps might cause you headaches if they don’t launch correctly in their iOS4 version. Update now, either via your iPad’s iTunes or through your desktop iTunes software.

When your updating your iPad (and iPhone), the system (through iTunes) will load the new OS onto your device and then reload all the software/music/calendar/etc… back on too. Two important items to know in that process; the software being reinstalled after the OS update is from the last backup you did and the more software you have the more time it takes… and the higher the risk something silly bad will happen. We know, we are just over cautious. But, we do a lot of changes on our devices so we have spent many hours trying to get our iOS devices back running when something goes wrong. Some software stores their data differently that Apple requests so when their apps have a problem there is no way to retrieve the data you had in the app (notes!).

Sync your iPad to your desktop. As soon as it gets done syncing, do not disconnect the cable. Choose the sync button in the lower right corner of the iTunes window to sync again. We have found that some apps don’t update from the iPad to the iTunes desktop the first time after they are updated. The second sync done right away starts off with a sync of the apps while the first sync started off with a ‘backup’.

Now, disconnect your iPad from your desktop. Look through your apps, do you use all of them? Is there apps you only use around once a month or every other week? Now that you can reload any app you have purchased through the iTunes app on the iPad, take this opportunity to clean off apps you won’t need over the next week or two. Less apps means a faster sync and faster/safer restore from the iOS5 update.

Pay attention to notes apps and database apps that may have data stored on your iPad and not on your desktop. Don’t delete these from your iPad till your sure you have the data someplace safe. Restoring an app from the iTunes Purchased area only re-installs the app, not anything you had in the app.

How about your music? Is there groups of music you don’t listen to enough to haul around anymore? PDFs? Documents? Like we mentioned about Notes and Databases, be sure you have the data somewhere before deleting the app the data is in.

Now, back to your desktop. Sync again to tell your iTunes desktop how you have your iPad set up now. Like before, do the sync twice without disconnecting the cable.

All of this gets you to a iPad that will restore quicker and cleaner after the iOS5 update. And, this way the restore will put back everything as you have your iPad world now. If all you do is connect your iPad up to iTunes tomorrow and hit the iOS5 update, you may not have a complete backup to restore from. No going back after you do the iOS update, lower the odds of being the small percent with an issue.

Did we mention iOS5 tomorrow? Woot!!!