After a long beta that began back in February, iOS 14.5 update, likely the final big update for the iOS 14 release, is scheduled to land on iPhones next week.
iOS 14.5 brings a raft of new features, from an updated Find My app to support AirTags, support for Xbox Series X and PS5 controllers, and updates to Apple maps and Siri.
It also brings a feature that allows Apple Watch users to unlock their iPhone using their watch rather than Face ID when wearing a mask.
This is also a controversial update, because it includes Apple's new App Tracking Transparency feature, a change designed to increase user privacy by giving them the option to opt-out of ad-related tracking, but a feature that has the advertising industry worried.
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All this is coming next week.
While most people either smash the update button as soon as it's available or wait for the update to install automatically, I like to pave the way for a smooth installation.
First off, make a backup. iOS updates are a regular occurrence, but things can go wrong, and if that happens to you, your data is at risk.
I recommend having two backups -- one in the cloud in case things go bad, and one on a PC or Mac in case things go really bad.
Do it now!
Then there's avoiding password hassles. You'll need to enter your iCloud password to be able to reconnect to all your data and photos. If you don't have this close to hand -- remember, having it on the device you're upgrading isn't all that convenient -- then this might be a good time to do that.
Also, if your local backup is encrypted, then remember you'll need that password if something goes wrong.
But there's one new thing that I recommend doing before an upgrade. After seeing an iPhone essentially crippled by lack of space (and in Apple terms, anything under a gigabyte of free space on an iPhone is considered being low on space), I now consider it essential to make sure there's at least a gigabyte free. Sure, iOS can automatically free up storage space so you can install an app or update iOS, but the process is system intensive, can be slow, and takes a lot of battery power.
I find it quicker and easier to delete some games or some cat videos I no longer need. I didn't used to do this, but I've noticed that it makes the process much quicker.
By doing this now, I feel that my update goes a lot smoother, and I'm happy in the knowledge that if things do go wrong, I have a backup of my data.