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How to upgrade to iOS 9 (and, if you need to, reinstall iOS 8)

Roman Loyola | Sept. 17, 2015
Ready for the new version of iOS? Here's how to install it on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. And just in case, we also tell you how to revert back to iOS 8.

install ios 9

Yesterday iOS 9 makes its debut, and maybe you’re one of the many users who are excited to upgrade your iOS device. I’ll cover how to upgrade to iOS 9 and how to do a fresh install of iOS 9 in this article. (If you’re wondering if you should upgrade in the first place, we think you should.)

But then, if, for whatever reason, you decide you need to downgrade back to iOS 8, I’ll also show you how it’s done. Keep this in mind: The window to revert back is small. Apple will eventually stop authorizing iOS 8, and when that happens and you have iOS 9 installed, there’s no going back.

If you’re very concerned about your apps not working or your device not performing up to par, don’t upgrade to iOS 9 immediately. You’d be better off waiting for Apple to release the first major update to iOS 9, which may address some of the bugs you are afraid of running into, and it also gives developers time to update their apps.

Is your device compatible?

Apple says that iOS 9 is compatible with the following devices:

iPhone

  • iPhone 4s
  • iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s
  • iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus

iPad

  • iPad 2, iPad third generation, iPad fourth generation
  • iPad Air, iPad Air 2
  • iPad Pro
  • iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4

iPod touch

  • iPod touch fifth generation, iPod touch sixth generation

Some features in iOS 9 may not work on older devices in the list above. If you’re an owner of a device that’s on the older side of the compatibility list, consider putting off the upgrade to iOS 9 until you get more information on how the new iOS performs on your device.

Back that device up

Before you upgrade to iOS 9 (and, when iOS 9 is installed, before you install any iOS updates), you need to back up the data on your device. You can back up via iTunes on your Mac (fastest) or back up to iCloud (more convenient).

Upgrade to iOS 9

OK, it’s time to install the new iOS. You have two ways to install iOS 9: Directly on your device using a wireless connection, or through iTunes with your device connected to your Mac. If you want to install directly, you need several free gigabytes of storage space available. If you don’ have to room, use iTunes on your Mac.

Install iOS 9 directly

  1. Make sure you have a good amount of battery life left. Anything above 60 percent should be fine, but the weaker your wireless connection, the more taxing the connection will be on your battery. Plug in your device, if needed.
  2. Tap the Settings app on your iOS device.
  3. Tap General.
  4. You’ll probably see that Software Update has a badge. Tap Software Update. If it doesn’t have a badge, tap it anyway; this will trigger the phone to check to see if an update is available.
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