Reminder: Apple’s iOS 6 Arrives Tomorrow, Here’s What You Need To Know

Apple’s latest mobile operating system gets released tomorrow, a few days ahead of the iPhone 5’s launch on Friday. iOS 6 brings a lot of new stuff, and we’ve covered that in detail in previous posts. Here’s the skinny on what’s important to remember ahead of the iOS 6 launch tomorrow beyond the added features, which we’ll let you know about as soon as it’s live and ready for download.

  1. iOS 6 will be available over-the-air. According to Apple’s site, you won’t have to plug your iDevice in to download and install iOS 6, so long as you’re on iOS 5. That’s possible thanks to the decision to move to delta updates in iOS 5, meaning that only recently changed system elements are delivered, instead of having to start from scratch. That means its easier to upgrade, which is why iOS 5’s updates generally enjoy wide adoption among the iOS device user base (Chitika found that more than 57 percent of iOS users were on 5.1.1 just a month after its release).
  2. You’ll need iTunes 10.7. Apple put out the 10.7 update for iTunes a full week ahead of the iOS 6 launch date to try and lessen the blow to its servers at launch and to make sure users have plenty of time to get prepared. If you’ve waited this long, don’t worry; I just updated myself. But it is a good idea to get it done now so you don’t need to worry about it tomorrow, unless you never connect your iTunes anyway, in which case you should be fine.
  3. Backing up prior to updating is always a good idea. Make sure you backup, either via sync cable to your computer, or wirelessly to iCloud, before you run this update. Invariably, a small group of users runs into issues, and if you’re part of that group you’ll want a recovery strategy.
  4. You may run into server errors or delays. Be prepared to wait for your update to come through. Apple generally runs into some traffic issues when pushing these updates out, which is understandable given the rush to download new versions of iOS. If you’re encountering errors, waiting things out is usually the best possible course of action — better than, say, trusting your hardware to questionable mirrors of reported direct download links for iOS 6 update files that you can install manually. All those new features? They’re not going anywhere. One thing to note: Apple’s iPhone pre-orders went relatively smoothly this year, so it’s possible things like the company’s massive new server farm in North Carolina are helping to make sure that launches like this one go more smoothly.
  5. Some apps might be buggy. Apple is apparently pushing hard to get apps updated in time for iOS 6 and the iPhone 5, but that doesn’t mean all your favorites will be ready to work on the lastest OS. With each major change, the possibility of incompatibility issues and quirks arises, so get ready to be patient with some you really love, or else prepare to look around for better-maintained replacements.
  6. Have a power source handy. You should have your iPhone ready to connect to power if you’re looking to update. Running out of juice in the middle of an update could potentially be a big problem, and there’s no real reason not to exercise caution here.
  7. 10 AM PST/1 PM EST is the most likely arrival time. This is the time that Apple released the update last year with iOS 5, and the year before that with iOS 4. Short of Apple telling us in advance when it’ll arrive, this is your best possible bet.

That’s what’s essential in terms of preparing for iOS 6 (though users may also want to note the differences in one significant feature — Maps). Tune in tomorrow to see when it arrives, along with more details about what it brings to the table.