iOS 7 is due to be released in just a few hours, and although these updates are routine and generally flawless for the vast majority of us, there is always a slim chance of something going awry. Protecting yourself from a failed install is a pretty trivial task, but will take a few minutes of your time. Should something go wrong, you need a method of getting your device back up and running in it's previous working state which of course means restoring a backup. There are two kinds of backup for an iOS device: a backup that resides in your iTunes library on your PC or mac, or a backup that resides in iCloud. Usually these two backups are mutually exclusive; you choose either one or the other.
- If you backup to iTunes your iOS device is only backed up when you sync. If you do not sync regularly then your backup is out of date. Simply syncing your device before updating should be enough but there is a way of ensuring that the backup is performed that I will cover below.
- If you backup to iCloud your device should be backing itself up when it is connected to power and wifi and left unused for a period of time, so generally when you charge your device overnight. You can also trigger a backup manually in iCloud settings on your device. If your device is configured for iCloud backup then it will not backup to iTunes when you sync with your library.
- You can also trigger a manual iTunes backup for your device, which can be performed regardless of whether you are configured for iTunes or iCloud syncing. This may be a good idea simply for peace of mind. In your device's settings within iTunes you will find a 'Back Up Now' button that will trigger a backup over wifi or cable. It will be faster over cable. Should all else fail, this backup ought to be sound; if your phone is unresponsive for some reason an iCloud restore may not be possible so an iTunes backup would be your only option short of a complete reset.
There are two ways to perform the iOS 7 update: wirelessly, directly through the device's settings, or alternatively you can perform it via iTunes over a cable connection. Theoretically updating over cable will be faster, but I suspect that any speed benefit is negligible at best. Either way the update is significant and is likely to take some time.