On October 12, 2011, Apple released iOS 5, the latest operating system for its line of “i” products. Since my iPhone 4 had been purchased less than six months ago, I knew that I would probably not be eligible for an upgrade to the iPhone 4S, released on October 14, 2011. But I really wanted to upgrade my iPhone’s operating system to iOS 5 to take advantage of some of the new VoiceOver features I had been reading about: the ability to assign text to unlabeled buttons which VoiceOver only identifies as “Button” and a much higher quality text-to-speech Nuance Vocalizer voice. I also wanted to be able to update my iPhone without having to use the pesky iTunes program for Windows which (as you will see later) has caused me no end of frustration.
So, on the evening of the day on which iOS 5 was released to the public, I started up my iTunes program on my Windows computer and connected my iPhone. As expected, I was informed that an update for my iPhone was available. What I did not expect was another message, which told me that my iTunes program–which had worked fairly well until now–needed to be updated before I could update my iPhone.
So, I downloaded and installed the latest version of iTunes. The installation went off without a hitch. But when I actually tried to run the program, everything slowed down to a crawl; I could not move my cursor around the screen, it took minutes before I heard the message telling me that an iPhone update was available, and it took even longer to press the OK button to start the update process. The cooling fan on my computer went into high gear, and a message popped up on the screen saying that my iPhone was being backed up. Thinking that the system just needed a little time to do its thing, I decided to let the computer run for an entire day. Lo and behold, when the day was over, nothing of any consequence had happened; my iPhone was still running the old iOS 4, and it didn’t look like I was going to get an update any time soon.
So, on Saturday, October 15, I took my iPhone to the Apple Store and verified that (no) I was not eligible for any early upgrades to the iPhone 4S and (yes) the people at the Apple Store could update my iPhone to iOS 5–in a mere fifteen minutes. Needless to say, I was quite thrilled at the prospect since I had heard that updates to the iPhone using one’s own computer usually took more than two hours to complete. Before the update actually happened, however, I made sure that the gentleman from the Apple Genius Bar understood that he needed to save my Contacts since they were not backed up. As for the few apps that I had purchased previously, I was told that I would be able to restore them in short order simply by going to the App Store, selecting Update, and choosing the Purchased link.
Once the upgrade was finished, I found that my iPhone’s home screen had been rearranged to the default view and that all of my purchased apps were gone. I was able to get my purchased apps back, but I did have to spend a good bit of time moving my iPhone icons around to get them organized the way I like them.
All in all, I am happy with the upgrade that has been done to my iPhone. I am particularly pleased with the great service I received from Apple’s Genius Bar, and most of all, I am thrilled that I did not have to spend anything to have my phone upgraded to iOS 5. Kudos to the fine folks at the Apple Store!