Apple rolls out iOS 8 to iPhone, iPad users: Here's how to get it

The iPhone and iPad giant is dishing out its latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, with the latest features and greater support for enterprise users.

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Image: Apple; Screenshot: ZDNet

After first displayed publicly at its annual developer conference in June, Apple has finally released iOS 8 for iPhones and iPads. 

Just days before the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant opens its retail stores to sell the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, existing smartphone and tablet users can upgrade to the latest mobile operating system.

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Though, it may be a few more hours until you get the update, or receive the notification that you're ready to jump to the latest version. That's because hundreds of millions of Apple's smartphone and tablet users are upgrading at the same time 

The latest software version is is compatible with iPhone 4s handsets and later, iPad 2 tablets and later, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display, and iPod touch (5th generation) devices. 

And, don't forget to backup your phone first.

There are three methods of updating: on the device, and through iTunes, or for enterprise deployments.

For the vast majority, updating from the device is easiest and quickest. The update will be ready to download and install when the notification arrives on the Settings icon on your device's home screen.

iOS 7 users and earlier can upgrade over-the-air on compatible devices by going to Settings General > Software Update. However, we saw with the previous update last year that had many users frustrated that the update was slow to download, or would not finish downloading. It may take repeated attempts.

Because the size of some update files are huge, downloading over a Wi-Fi connection is recommended.

Alternatively, Windows and Mac users can connect their compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices to the latest version of iTunes (which must be installed to use iOS 8), and upgrade by selecting the Check for Upgrade button in their device's summary window.

In both cases, due to the size of the update, you may have to delete some content from your device.

Or, users can download the software bundle (.IPSW) files from Apple's website for offline installations in the coming hours. Enterprise users can use Apple's Phobos server for download links.

iOS 8 lands with ten flagship new features, with much of the same user interface and experience as its nearest predecessor. 

It also comes with additional iCloud integration and a number of features that bridge the divide between Apple's mobile device lineup and its Mac range of hardware, including Continuity and Handoff . And, for the security conscious, dozens of vulnerabilities and security flaws have been fixed in this latest release.

The software also lands with greater enterprise support for business customers and the bring-your-own-device crowd .

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