You don't need to spring for an iPhone 8 ($500 at Cricket Wireless) or iPhone 8 Plus ($600 at Cricket Wireless) or wait for the iPhone X ($1,000 at Cricket Wireless) to arrive in November in order to get the latest iOS bells and whistles. On Tuesday, Apple released iOS 11, the company's newest mobile operating system for iOS devices. If you have an or later, a fifth-generation iPad or iPad Mini 2 ($278 at Amazon.com) or later or a sixth-generation iPod Touch, you can upgrade it to iOS 11. Here's the full list of compatible devices from Apple:
With iOS 11, you'll be able to edit Live Photos, customize the new Control Center, make Venmo-style Apple Pay payments, more easily free up storage space -- all the while not being disturbed while driving. Meanwhile, iOS 11 will supercharge the iPad with a new Dock, an honest-to-goodness file-management system and drag-and-drop multitasking.
There are two ways to update your iOS device but before you begin, make sure you prepare your device for iOS 11, namely backing up your device and creating enough space to download the update. You'll need about 2GB of space.
Method 1: Over-the-air update
If you are on a Wi-Fi network, you can upgrade to iOS 11 right from your device itself -- no need for a computer or iTunes. Just connect your device to its charger and go to Settings > General > Software Update. iOS will automatically check for an update, then prompt you to download and install iOS 11.
Method 2: Via iTunes
If you are near your computer with iTunes, it might be faster to update this way. In previous years, I've found it faster to update via iTunes than over the air.
The first order of business is to update iTunes to version 12.7. On my MacBook, I didn't see the usual Check for Updates line in the iTunes drop-down menu and instead had to open the Mac App Store where I found an iTunes update waiting to be installed.
With iTunes updated, connect your iOS device. Click the iPhone or iPad icon in the top-left corner of iTunes, next to the drop-down menu for the various sections of your iTunes library. Next, click on Check for Update > Download and Update. Follow the prompts, accept the terms, and let iTunes do its job.
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