The iOS 7 update is around 752 MB in size, depending on the type of device you have, so downloading using a data network is likely to be expensive. Apple recommends connecting to a Wifi network.
Backing up your phone will also take time and use data, so it is best to use a stable Wifi network.
Direct update or download with iTunes?
There are two ways to install iOS 7 on your iPad and iPhone – either directly on the device itself or by plugging it into a computer and updating through iTunes.
For the impatient, then the direct approach will probably allow the most instant gratification – just make sure you back up your device first (see below).
Those with little storage space, all their data backed up to iTunes or simply an inherent distrust of the iCloud – Apple’s remote storage service – it may be easier to plug your device into your computer and update through iTunes.
Backup your device
Installing the new software will write over the old one and this can wipe data from your device.
Some who have already updated have reported losing photos, contacts, music and text messages. Documents, preferences and files held in Apps may also be lost.
By backing up your iPhone or iPad, you can ensure you can get it back.
There are two ways of doing this: first, by using iTunes.
If you regularly synchronise your phone with iTunes, this may be the easier method. All the settings and preferences, along with data will be saved there.
Simply select your device in iTunes and click on the Summary tab. Then click Back Up Now button.
If you have purchased music or other content on your device, then it is a good idea to transfer purchases too.
The other option is to backup from the iCloud. Again, if you have been using the iCloud to back up your device, then this is easy.
Normally your iPhone or iPad will automatically back up to the iCloud on a daily basis whenever it is plugged in and connected to Wifi.
To perform a manual backup, connect to the internet with Wifi and using the Settings menu to select the iCloud and Storage & Backup at the bottom of that page.
To ensure all your data and apps will be backed up, select Manage Storage, select the your device and check all the apps you want to back up are switched on under Back up Options.
Then navigate back to Storage & Backup and turn iCloud Backup on. Depending on how much data you have and when you last backed up this will take a few minutes to complete.
If you do not have enough storage space, then you may need to either buy some more from Apple or use the iTunes method above.
Note that iCloud will not back up music, videos and movies not purchased in the iTunes store.
Clear some space
iOS 7 needs at least 3 GB of storage to successfully update. If you do not have this much available on your device, then the direct download may not work for you and you will have to use iTunes.
Alternatively, delete some of the photos, music and apps that you don’t need to clear some space and try again.
Restart your device
It may not be necessary, but some iPhone and iPad experts recommend performing a restart prior to installing the new operating software.
This may help reduce the chances of frozen updates and install failures. Simply press and hold the power button and the home button together for a few seconds.
The screen will go black and then the Apple logo will appear as the device restarts.
Download and install the update
If downloading directly, simply go to General Settings and selectSoftware Update.
Apple will tell you if you can download the software. If you have a device running software older than iOS 5, then you are not doing to be able to do this.
Simply click Download and Install and let it run.
After the download, tap Install on the pop-up message and leave it to do its business. Your device will restart and should then restore all your data from the backup in the iCloud.
If using iTunes, then select your device and click Check for Update. Then click the prompt to Download and Update.
Do not disconnect your device until the update has finished and your phone has restarted and fully synced with iTunes. This may take a while, so be patient.
Apple will not let me download
iOS 7 is only supported by iPhone 4 and newer and iPad 2 and newer.
Many of the features on iOS 7, such as AirDrop, are not available on devices older than a iPhone 5 and iPad 3, so you may not miss all that much anyway.
What if it goes wrong?
If for some reason the update fails and you end up with a phone that is more of an expensive paper weight, fear not.
If you backed up before you updated then all is not lost. Simply restore from a prior backup to get all your data back and then try again.
If you did not backup, then what were you thinking? Go back to the top of this article, read it again and don’t be so impatient next time.
To solve most problems, plug your phone in to iTunes and click restore factory settings. You can then try to install the software, apps and other data from here.
Sync your device to iTunes to restore your music and videos not stored in the iCloud.