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Phones

How to prepare your iPhone for iOS 10

With iOS 10 arriving on September 13, now is a good time to get your devices ready for the update.

Sarah Tew/CNET

On Tuesday, Apple is set to release iOS 10, the next version of its mobile operating system for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. It adds many new features, including a more interactive Messages app, an entirely new lock screen, and redesigned Maps and Music apps. Apple has also opened up Siri to other developers, so expect many of your favorite apps soon to offer voice support.

But before you upgrade, take a few minutes now to get your current iOS device(s) ready to upgrade.

Is your phone compatible with iOS 10?

The first step is to determine if your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch can run iOS 10. Here is Apple's list of compatible devices:

Apple

The devices that were compatible with iOS 9 but aren't on the iOS 10 list are: iPhone 4S, iPad Air, iPad (3rd generation), iPad 2, iPad Mini (1st generation) and iPod Touch (5th generation).

Make some room

If you are like me (and many other iPhone users, I'd like to think), then you've been meaning to go through your phone and delete apps you no longer use. Use the launch of iOS 10 as the impetus to finally perform a bit of maintenance on your device. This exercise will not only free up some storage space but also remove many app icons to make navigating your device easier.

The biggest occupier of your iPhone's storage is almost certainly your large (and ever-growing) photo and video library. After deleting unwanted apps, it's time to scroll through the Photos app and delete the photos and videos you no longer want. And for the photos and videos you want to keep, you can move them to the cloud or a computer so that they're safely stored without taking up space on your iPhone. Rick Broida offers a few cloud services you can use to back up your iPhone's photos. Alternatively, you can connect your iOS device to your Mac and move some of your library to the Mac Photos app.

Update your apps

To lessen the chance of some of your apps running into problems with iOS 10, you should update them. Open the App Store app, click the Updates button in the lower-right corner and then tap the Update All button in the upper-right corner. (To turn on automatic app updates, go to Settings > iTunes & App Stores and tap the toggle switch for Updates in the Automatic Downloads section.)

Back it up

Before you perform a major OS update, it's always a good idea -- nay, a necessity -- to back up your device. You have two options, iCloud or iTunes.

Follow this guide to backing up your iPhone using iCloud or iTunes.

With unwanted apps removed, your photos and videos library cleaned out and, most importantly, your device freshly backed up, you will be ready to make the move to iOS 10 as soon as Apple releases it. You'll be able to update to iOS 10 directly from your device via Settings > General > Software Update or, if you insist, via iTunes.