Prepare Your iPhone for iOS 13 by Freeing Storage, Backing Up Data

Are you ready for iOS 13? If you’ll keep using an older iPhone, consider these tips for freeing up storage and preparing your device for the big upgrade.  

When Apple releases the latest version of its mobile phone operating system this fall, iPhone owners will gain access to new tools to boost security, privacy and productivity. What steps should you take to get your iPhone ready for iOS 13?

Check Your Eligibility

Apple has announced that the newest operating system will support certain phones only. Any phone older than the 6S will not receive the update. If you use an iPhone 6, 6 Plus or 5S, your device will continue to run iOS 12 following the coming update of most devices to iOS 13.

Older phones should remain functional for the most part, but by using one of the unsupported devices, you will miss out on the new features of iOS 13. In addition, phones continuing to run iOS 12 may become subject to a growing array of bugs and security problems.

Confirm Memory and Battery

Before you begin the installation of iOS 13 — or your phone downloads it automatically, depending on your settings — you’ll want to be sure you have sufficient memory and battery capacity.

Apple has not released official guidance on the amount of space needed for iOS 13, but assume that more is better. If your iPhone storage sits close to the limit, consider taking steps to free space before you download the update. Removing unused apps constitutes an easy, relatively painless way to make additional storage capacity available quickly. To cull your apps, go to Settings, General, and choose iPhone Storage to view the most space-intensive apps.

If you intend to continue using an older iPhone with a battery that no longer takes a full charge, you may want to take your phone to the Apple Store for battery replacement prior to the update.

Clear out the Clutter

In addition to seldom-used apps, your phone likely contains a variety of documents, data and photos that could free up additional space and help your device run more smoothly. If you don’t have the time to go through every item on your phone, you can take advantage of a few easy steps to clear a significant amount of space.

If Safari is your web browser of choice, you may have accumulated a large cache of unneeded data. To clear the cache, go to Settings, Safari, Clear History and Website Data. Offloading downloaded music and podcasts also can clear space on your phone; to do so, go to Settings, General, iPhone Storage, Music to delete individual songs or albums. To delete podcasts, go to Settings, General, iPhone Storage, Podcasts.

In addition, your iPhone stores all your text messages — both sent and received — indefinitely. To change the length of time your phone saves messages, go to Settings, Messages, Keep Messages.

Back up Critical Data

Before iOS 13 begins downloading, you’ll want to ensure that you have the latest possible backup of all your data. If you haven’t backed up your device regularly, you may need to choose whether to back up over Wi-Fi using iCloud or on your computer with iTunes. You also can choose to make a backup both ways for additional peace of mind.

To back up with iCloud, go to Settings, tap your name, and select the device you want to back up. Choose the name of that device, then tap iCloud Backup and Back up Now.

If you prefer to back up to iTunes on your computer, you’ll need to make sure you’re running the latest version of the software. Open iTunes, connect your phone, then follow the instructions for creating a backup. You can confirm the success of the backup on the Summary screen, under Latest Backup.

Record Access Information

Upgrading to new software can prove maddening if you don’t have all the required passwords and codes handy. Before you begin the upgrade, be sure you know the unlock code for your phone, as well as your Apple user name and password. If you need a secure place for storing passwords and other sensitive information, consider using a password manager, which requires you to remember only one master password to access all your data.

By spending a little time preparing your device, you help ensure that your iOS 13 installation will go smoothly.

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