How to Download iOS 8.1 for iPhone, iPod & iPad

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As of about 1 pm Eastern time, iOS 8.1 is live and ready for you to update on your iPhone, iPad, or other iOS device. One of the most hotly anticipated aspects of the iOS 8.1 update is Apple Pay, but many other cool features will be included in iOS 8.1. Here’s a guide to how to download iOS 8.1, as well as some advice about whether you’ll want to download this update right away, or wait a couple of days to download it.

1. Decide Whether You Want to Risk Updating to iOS 8.1

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While many iOS users plan to update to iOS 8.1 on release day, others plan to wait. Earlier versions of the iOS 8 family were plagued by serious bugs, so many Apple fans are going to wait for reports back from users on iOS 8.1 before upgrading themselves.

Additionally, downloading new iOS updates the day they come out can often take a long time, since so many people are downloading the update at once. Before you upgrade to iOS 8.1, you might want to read Gotta Be Mobile’s 8 reasons not to upgrade to iOS 8.1 on release day.

2. Choose Whether You Want to Download iOS 8.1 as an OTA Update or Via iTunes

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You can download iOS 8.1 as an over-the-air (OTA) update, or via iTunes. If you download the update as an OTA update, Apple will likely require you to have more free space on your phone than if you update while connected to a computer running iTunes. If you don’t want to have to delete music or apps from your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad in order to install the iOS 8.1 update, you may want to go the iTunes route.

To install the iOS 8.1 update as an OTA update, simply go into your 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. 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. Do note that it can sometimes take a little while for the update to appear as a downloadable option on your device, as it takes some time for carriers to seed the update to customers. Just keep checking the “Software Update” tab until you see the option to download appear there.

If you want to download iOS 8.1 via iTunes, connect your device to your computer using the correct cable, and open iTunes. In iTunes, select your device. Next, go to the Summary pane, and click “Check for Update.” Finally, click on “Download and Update.” The process will begin automatically. You may have to download the latest version of iTunes in order to complete the update process. If you encounter any issues, check out this guide from Apple to troubleshoot your problem.

Do note, 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 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.

If you’re holding out for a new iPad like the iPad Mini 3 or iPad Air 2, note that these will come with iOS 8.1 pre-installed.

3. Wait For Your Device to Reboot

Once your device finishes the download and reboots, you can start exploring iOS 8.1. One of the most hotly anticipated aspects of the iOS 8.1 update is Apple Pay, but many other cool features will be included in iOS 8.1.

A lot of the new features in iOS 8.1 are related to Continuity, Apple’s new model of syncing your iOS device to your Mac computer. A number of iOS 8.1’s new features will enhance your productivity if you are using a Mac running OS X Yosemite. The newest version of OS X, Yosemite is available as a free download via the Mac App store.

4. Report Any Bugs You Encounter in iOS 8.1

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iOS 8.1 has been thoroughly tested by Apple, but you may still encounter some bugs during normal use. You can visit this page on Apple’s website to provide feedback to the company about any bugs you are encountering. You can also report bugs via Bug Reporter. Your feedback can help make the next version of iOS even more stable.

If you encounter any bugs or issues with iOS 8.1, you can contact Apple Support for help. You can also try searching the forums of websites like Mac Rumors to see if other users have encountered the same bug, and perhaps even found a workaround.

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