How to Download iOS 8 for iPhone, iPod & iPad

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Just days before the iPhone 6 hits stores, Apple will release their latest version of iOS. You can download iOS 8 starting September 17. Apple has shown off tons of cool features in iOS 8, and tech fans can’t wait to get their hands on this new OS. Here’s everything you need to know about downloading iOS 8 on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

1. Check Your Device Compatibility for iOS 8

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iOS 8 will introduce HealthKit, Apple’s new health monitoring platform. Learn more about it in the video above.

If you have an older iOS device, it may not be compatible with iOS 8. CNET has a full list of compatible devices, but what you basically need to know is that any iPhone from the 4S onward is compatible. The iPod Touch (5th gen.) is compatible with iOS 8. If you’re a tablet fan, all iPad variants will support iOS 8, with the exception of the original iPad.

2. Make a Backup of Your iPhone, iPod or iPad

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The Bloomberg video above questions whether bigger is better with regards to the new iPhones.

It’s always a good decision to back up your device before installing a new version of iOS. Even public-ready versions of iOS can have unexpected issues: just take the recent case of iOS 7.1.1, which caused data loss for some unlucky users.

Before you make that backup, however, you should take the time to clear out some space on your device. You will need to have 5.8GB free on your phone in order to download the update, and it doesn’t make sense to back up apps and files you’re just going to delete in order to make room for the update.

Just to be safe, you should create both a fresh iCloud backup, as well as a manual backup. Make sure to make a note of your password if you are creating an encrypted backup. Once you’ve cleared out some storage space and backed up your device, you can install iOS 8 without getting worried.

3. Visit the Settings Menu to Start the iOS 8 Download

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Pull up the Settings app, and then scroll down to “General.” From there, select the second option down for “Software Update.” If you don’t see anything under “Software Update,” iOS 8 is not yet available to download. The exact time iOS 8 will be released on September 17 is unknown, but historically it is usually in the morning, Pacific time. GottaBeMobile says that we can expect to see iOS getting pushed to devices around 10 in the morning, Pacific. That time could be subject to change, however.

Tap “Install Now” once your see the option to download iOS 8, and the process will begin. The installation process can be both time-consuming and battery draining, so make sure you are plugged in to a charger. Also, make sure to download over Wi-Fi to ensure that you’re not burning through your carrier’s data allotment.

4. Wait for the Device to Reboot

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See the hidden features of iOS 8 in the video above.

Once your device finishes the download and reboots, you can start exploring iOS 8. There are lots of new features to explore, including a new keyboard, Handoff functionality, enhanced Siri functionality, and the ability to send audio messages. There are also going to be some cool new health and fitness features.

5. Be Aware That iOS 8 Will Be ‘Missing’ Some Features

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Some of iOS 8’s best features aren’t going to be included in the September 17 release. Apple plans to release an update to iOS 8 in October that will add more functionality. Apple Pay will not be fully supported in iOS 8 until the October update. Apple Pay will only be supported on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as the Apple Watch.

Additionally, some of the health features in iOS 8 that are designed to work with the Apple Watch won’t get fully fleshed out until the Apple Watch hits store shelves early next year.

Mac Rumors is also reporting that there is an issue with HealhKit, and Apple has pulled third-party apps that use HealthKit for the time being.

Want to see all our iPhone 6 coverage in one place? Go here to learn more about iPhone 6 features.

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