Apple has officially launched iOS 4 to iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S owners. The software will also be available on the iPhone 4 when it launches on June 24. The mobile OS hasn’t been out for very long, so most customers might not have had the chance to download it. But since it’s free, it’s likely that the vast majority of iPhone owners (and, eventually, iPad owners) will be downloading the software to their devices.
But before that happens, there are some things that users should know about iOS 4. Yes, it might be the most advanced and capable mobile operating system Apple has ever released, but it also comes with some quirks and considerations that every iPhone owner should know about before they download it to their mobile devices.
1. There could be battery issues
With any release of a new mobile operating system, battery issues are a concern. Apple claims that the new version of its operating system should improve iPhone battery life somewhat. But whether or not that happens remains to be seen. A major issue with multitasking, arguably the most important addition in iOS 4, is that it has a negative effect on battery life. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that Apple’s multitasking will not. Those who are concerned about their iPhone battery life should wait and see what other iOS 4 users are reporting. If it’s bad news, they should stick with their current software.
2. Jailbroken phones won’t stay that way
Each time users download a new version of Apple’s mobile software, it removes jailbroken software. Realizing that, those who have jailbroken their iOS installations will want to stay far away from iOS 4. Not only does Apple disapprove of jailbreaking the iPhone, the company also makes it harder and harder in each new version of the software to break free. Those who desire more control over their iPhones would be smart to stay away from iOS 4.
3. App considerations
Some folks use mobile applications sparingly. Others try to download as many apps as they can. Realizing that, it’s important for every iPhone owner to determine which group they fit into. Since Apple only recently sent the new SDK to developers, some apps haven’t been updated to support iOS 4 just yet. So, before users download the new software, they should check the iTunes listings for their favorite apps. If they work with iOS 4, great. If not, they should stick with a previous version of the software until the developers get around to updating their apps.
4. Mail will be different
In iOS 4, e-mail will be a far more useful application. After downloading the software, users can create a unified in-box to tie in all of their different e-mail accounts into a single pane to quickly view their latest messages. They can also delete an entire e-mail conversation at once, rather than sift through messages and delete those they don’t want one by one. The app will even allow users to open attachments in third-party applications. That feature should especially benefit those who use office apps like Documents to Go.
Think, Prepare Before Downloading iOS 4
5. The enterprise should be happy
The enterprise could have made out best with the unveiling of iOS 4. Not only does it include multitasking-a must-have for any company-but the software also includes secure VPN support and better support of Exchange. And with the addition of folders, enterprise users will be able to decide where they want different files to go when they’re working with the software. Apple might not be willing to offer all the features RIM has in its BlackBerry OS, but it’s doing a much better job in iOS 4 of appealing to corporate customers.
6. Spell-check is finally available
One of the biggest issues with previous versions of iOS was that Apple’s word-suggest feature automatically changed a word that it believed was misspelled when users hit the space button. It caused too many revisions after typing out a document or e-mail. To fix that problem, Apple has added spell-checking functionality to iOS 4, so users can go back in Mail, Notes and other applications and quickly fix those words they misspelled. According to Apple, words can be fixed by simply tapping on the misspelled word and choosing the desired spelling.
7. iPhone 4 comes with iOS 4–and then some
Those who currently own an older iPhone model that will not support iOS 4 should know that iPhone 4 will ship with the software when the device launches on June 24. The iPhone 3G S also runs Apple’s new software. But before choosing the cheaper alternative, consumers should know that iOS 4 running on the iPhone 4 will feature FaceTime, Apple’s new voice-calling feature. The software will not be included in iPhone 3G S models. If consumers are looking for that kind of functionality, waiting for iPhone 4 is the best way to go.
8. Bugs, anyone?
As with any new software release, early adopters should be prepared for bugs when they download iOS 4 for the first time. According to developers, the software is quite robust and they have seen few issues. But as people start downloading the mobile operating system, all that could change. No newly released operating system is perfect. And sometimes, even operating systems that display reportedly robust performance experience major issues later on. Consumers looking to download iOS 4 need to keep a watchful eye out for bugs. It’s par for the course on new mobile operating systems.
9. Closing apps will take some effort
Now that Apple’s new mobile software boasts multitasking, iPhone owners who expect to simply close an app by hitting the “home” button will be surprised to see that it will take more effort to close apps than it did in the past. In fact, to close applications in the new operating system, users will need to open up the software’s App bar, which shows all the programs that are open at that time. From there, they need to hold their finger on a particular program’s icon until they’re given the option to close the program. It should be interesting to see how that functionality will be received by users.
10. Backing up is a necessity
Before downloading iOS 4, users must remember to back up their current iPhone data. A key issue with installing a new version of any operating system is that sometimes, something can go awry and users lose all their data. To prevent that, current iPhone owners should back up their information to their computers before downloading the software. If something goes wrong, they will have the data they need on their desktops and can quickly add it back on their smartphones. Those expecting to have the iPhone 4 on June 24 should back up their data as well. It’s better to be safe than sorry.