Saturday, September 20, 2014

Upgrading to iOS 8 (the long way ‘round)

Unless you totally are not into the Apple scene you may have heard that

Lavie’s 8GB iPhone 4 is getting very sad and tired and she is itchy to upgrade. I think the best deal for her (now out of her 2 year contract) would be to get either a 16 GB iPhone 5s or 5c. I’m leaning to the 5s myself even though it will be more expensive. However her thrifty-ness surprises me sometimes so she might be OK with the 5c.  She is not a power-user of apps or streaming so from a hardware perspective either should be more than adequate after the 4 she has now.

Last night I went ahead and decided to upgrade my 4th gen iPad Retina to iOS 8.  What should have been a quick process went super bad super fast.

It’s a 32 GB model but I have it jammed packed with videos (mostly sysadmin/training videos) and PDF whitepapers of for/sec/admin-related topics to read when I’m between activities.

As such I had < 5 GB of free space so I couldn’t do a WiFi only iOS update. But if you do the upgrade from iTunes you don’t need to have free space on your device.

Mistake #1: Not confirming/taking a backup.

Mistake #2: Plugging the device in to a powered USB hub rather than directly on my system.

I plugged the iPad into a brand-name USB powered hub extender and the iPad was detected ok.

I mis-read the initial prompt about do I want to backup some apps that were on the iPad and not my iTunes and said “no”.  Bad decision.

The update downloaded and began to apply.

As part of the process the iPad rebooted but it would not reconnect automatically to the USB port, which caused the iTunes update to fail.

I repeated again and more fails and each time I retried it said I had to do a device Restore. Yikes!

Finally after hunting down error codes and update failures I switched the cable over to a USB port directly on my laptop.  I did a hard-reset of the device and then the iOS 8 upgrade went on. Yea!

Only it was a (mostly) factory restore.  Somehow, some backup items were found from an older backup (or maybe the device itself?) and restored.

I had to put all my music library, videos, photos, and videos specific to my VLC app library back on manually; a few apps that I hadn’t downloaded to iTunes also had to be restored/reinstalled. That took a very long time. Luckily all my (considerable) ebooks and whitepaper PDFs stored in Adobe Reader and Documents apps were all present and accounted for.

It took a long time (4-5 hours!) for the whole process before I was chilling again on the couch with the iPad but I finally got it tweaked back to the way it was before.  I’m wondering what I haven’t found missing yet because after the upgrade and auto/manual rebuild, I’ve now got around 10 GB of free space.

So this Saturday morning I’ve been busy doing manual iTunes updates (we don’t back up to iCloud) of both our iPhones as well.

I’m not in much hurry to upgrade my iPhone 5 just yet after that iPad update drama and Lavie’s iPhone 4 doesn’t qualify for the iOS 8.

I also figured out how to review and delete a bunch of old iTunes backups to clean house:

The other big headache after the upgrade and restoration was coming to terms with all the new features and setting changes brought by 8.  I had a ton of re-tweaking deep in the Settings to do to ensure it was set to my comfort levels.

Here is a list of iOS 8 items you may want to review before/after you do your iOS 8 journey. Many of these tips and suggestions have been super-helpful to me.


--Claus Valca

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