Apple has issued the iOS 8.4 update for iPhones and iPads, which includes its Apple Music streaming service. Everyone who upgrades a three month free trial of the service.
The update is 173MB in size for those on the iOS 8.3 version of iOS and Apple's notes for the update touts Apple Music as a "revolutionary music service, 24/7 global radio and a way for fans to connect with their favourite artists."
The update also contains several bug fixes, including one which appears to be a fix for the text message bug issue that came to light last month and allowed people to crash phones with a specific set of characters.
In total 84 percent of iPhones and iPads are running iOS 8, about nine months since it was first released to market. A further 14 percent are still on iOS 7 and just two percent are left on older versions, most likely iOS 6.
The rise in iOS 8 uptake has no doubt also been helped by the fact millions of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones have been sold since launch, helping flood the market with more devices running iOS 8 from the off, with 61 million phones sold in the firm's latest financial quarter.
The figure of 84 percent uptake comes some ten months after Apple released iOS 8. The last release before iOS 8.4 came in mid-April in the form of iOS 8.3, which had some fairly major features included, such as the ability make calls over WiFi for those on the EE network the most notable new feature.
The release, which was 223MB for those on the 8.2 version of iOS, also included numerous fixes and improvements for iOS 8, such as orientation issues and problems of some devices not remembering WiFi login details. It also fixed a slew of security issues, some of which were flagged up by researchers at Google.
It is the WiFi Calling option that is most noteworthy, though, as it allows EE customers to make calls directly over WiFI networks, even when no phone signal is present, such as in basement flats or in signal not-spots.
However, the release of iOS 8.3 has not gone entirely smoothly, with reports surfacing that the update has disabled the use of Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanner for approving purchases from within the App Store. Apple will no doubt be rushing to issue a fix if it can trace the problem to the iOS 8.3 update.
The update helped continue to growth of iOS 8 adoption, which had started slowly, probably due to the bad memories caused by the move to iOS 7 and the problems with iOS 8 when it first arrived. Even the fixes needed fixes.
However, the release of iOS 8.1 in October, the most major update to iOS 8 since it launched, solved most of these problems, and subsequent updates - iOS 8.1.1, iOS 8.1.2 and iOS 8.1.3 - have improved things further.
Upgrading to iOS 8.4 is simple, but there are a few handy things to know before you begin which we've listed below in this guide.
Check your device is compatible
The following devices can be upgraded to iOS 8: iPhone 4S and above, iPad 2 or later, iPad Mini and above, iPod Touch fifth generation. The iPhone 4 cannot upgrade to iOS 8.4 although, given the problems iOS 7 caused for iPhone 4 owners, Apple was probably right to leave the phone stuck on iOS 7.
Backing up your devices is always a sensible idea and doing so before a software upgrade especially so.
So make sure you put your most precious documents and photos in your cloud platform of choice, or plug into your laptop and upload it all to the hard drive. This should mean that, if the worst happens, your most important data is still safe.
Check your storage
Depending on which version of iOS you're currently running the size of the iOS 8.4 update will vary, although for those on iOS 8.3 it is a managable 173MB.
For those on older versions the file size will be bigger as you'll also have to include the iOS 8.3 or former update to get to iOS 8.4. This will make the required storage bigger and could require you to delete some apps or media to get the update.
You can find out how much storage you have by going to Settings > General > Usage. The ‘Manage Storage’ button will let you see which apps and services are taking up the most room.
This is a good way of doing some housekeeping by removing apps you never use or trimming the number of photos and videos stored on your device.
Over the air
If you're carrying out the update 'over the air', make sure you're on a good, stable WiFi connection and the phone or tablet has plenty of battery. To download in this way, simply go to Settings > General > Software Update and wait for the update screen to appear.
You can always use iTunes to download iOS 8.4. Yes it’s not the nicest software to look at and updating over WiFi is quicker and easier, but using iTunes dramatically reduces the amount of storage required for the update.
Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes installed and that your laptop has enough battery so it won’t conk out half way through the update.
Why you should update
Updating devices can be time-consuming and a chore but it’s a good habit to get into as it should mean you’re fully protected from any software security holes as the most recent version will have all the necessary fixes.
The iOS 8.4 update contains several security fixes and more general stability issues so it's definitely worth updating, even if you're not bothered about the arrival of Apple Music.
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