Apple's iOS 17 Is Here. Use This Checklist to Get Your iPhone Ready to Update
Follow these steps to get your iPhone for Apple's latest major update.
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Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Mary-Elisabeth is an associate writer on CNET's How-To team. She's a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill's English Department, and resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the How-To team, she covers a little bit of everything. When she's not writing, she's catching up on Formula 1 or reading.
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Backing up any device before an update is usually a good idea. Most of the time, your phone will update normally with no hiccups. But on the rare occasion that something goes wrong, as was the case for some iPhone owners when iOS 10 launched in 2016, you'll want to be prepared. If you have the time, it's also a great idea to go through your photo and app libraries to delete any unnecessary content so that it takes less time to back up your device.
We recommend backing up your iPhone immediately before installing the new software so your backup is as recent as possible.
There are a couple of ways to back up your iPhone or iPad, and they're all simple. The easiest way is through iCloud.
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How to back up your iPhone through iCloud
First open your device's Settings and tap your name.
Then, choose the iCloud option.
Scroll down to Device Backups and then tap iCloud Backup.
From here, you can choose to back up your phone right now by tapping Back Up Now. You can also turn on iCloud Backup, which automatically backs up apps and data when your phone is connected to Wi-Fi, plugged in and locked. You'll notice that Apple tells you the last time this device was backed up right underneath the Back Up Now button.
Before backing up your iPhone, it's also a good idea to see exactly how much iCloud storage you have. To do this, launch Settings, tap your name, choose iCloud and select Manage Account Storage. This will show you details about your iCloud plan, how much space you have left in your iCloud, and all of the devices that are backing up to your iCloud account. For free, you get 5GB of iCloud space. Additional storage starts at $1 month for 50GB and, starting Sept. 18, tops out at $60 a month for 12TB.
Back up your iPhone through Mac
If you don't want to use iCloud, you can always back up your iPhone to your computer. To get started, connect your iPhone to your Mac via its charging cable.
Then launch the Finder and click your iPhone.
Click General and choose the option for backing up all of your iPhone data to this Mac. You can also encrypt your backup data and protect it with a password by selecting the option shown below.
Finally, click Back Up Now to save a copy of your iPhone's data and apps to your Mac.
If you're using a PC or a Mac running a version of MacOS that's earlier than 10.15, you can still create a backup of your device through iTunes. Connect your iPhone to your Mac or PC with its cable, launch iTunes, and click the iPhone button near the top left of the program. From there, choose Summary and select Back Up Now.
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Make sure your iPhone is otherwise up to date
Before updating to iOS 17, make sure your device is running on the latest version of iOS 16. This will ensure that the update appears in the Settings menu once iOS 17 becomes available. To check for an update, launch Settings, tap General and then choose Software Update.
It's generally a good idea to keep your iPhone up to date anyway, since new software versions usually introduce important security bug fixes and other improvements.