Before all that, make sure you have a compatible device. iOS 5 will install on the following gadgets: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S; third-generation iPod touch and fourth generation iPod touch; iPad and iPad 2. Got that?
Also, to get yourself in the mood you might want to take a look at our feature on the ten hottest new features of iOS 5 for iPhone and iPad.
Once you've got your favourite iOS device in your hand, grab yourself an up-to-date version of iTunes, an Apple USB cable, a cup of cha, and this very handy step-by-step guide. Ready?
|First up, we'll want to create a full backup of the device so we can restore all of our apps, data, bookmarks, and save games once iOS 5 is installed.|
iTunes should be creating backups every time you sync up, but just to be sure let's do one right this second to get the most up-to-date save state of our iOS device.
Plug your device in to your PC or Mac, load up iTunes, and find the iDoohickey in the left-most column under 'Devices'. Right click and choose 'Backup'. This should be quick, but it might take a little longer if your gadget is full to the brim with data.
|Now we need to ask Apple for the update. Click the name of your device and choose 'Check for Update'. If the Big A has uploaded the final release version of iOS 5 to its servers, a pop-up will appear asking you if you'd like to install it.|
Obviously, click the big old 'yes' button. This is a sizable file, so it will take some time for it to come down the pipes. Have a little break and make yourself a cup of tea. We'll wait.
|So far, so iOS 4. But this new operating system has some extra steps that Apple's older updates lacked, so grab your iOS device, unhook it from iTunes, and gaze at the new setup wizard. Slide to set up, baby.|
|You'll now be shepherded through a couple of boring setup questions. Plop in your language and where you live.|
You'll also want to set up wi-fi, so tap your router and insert your relevant passcode to get online. If you're unable to connect right now, don't worry: just tap 'Next' and we can hook up to the net in the Settings app later.
|Now here's a big step. You can either set up as a brand new, fresh-out-of-the-box iOS device or grab your old system settings, apps, and save games from before.|
If you're going for a clean install, go to Step 6.
We, on the other hand, absolutely want to get our old stuff back - mostly because we'd blow a flipping gasket if we had to play through all the old Angry Birds levels again. So we want to restore from a backup. If this is your bag, jump to Step 7.
|Okay, you've got a few more screens to go before you're ready to start using your new device. You'll want to either sign in to your Apple ID or make a new one (the instructions are pretty straightforward), and then choose whether or not you want iCloud. You can always turn it on or off later, so don't sweat it.|
You'll also be asked whether you want to turn on Find My iDevice and Location Services - two more features that are pretty cool, but can always be turned on or off from the Settings app in the future, so don't worry too much about making the wrong choice.
Finally, Apple wants to know if you'll send them diagnostics reports if your gadget crashes. This is useful information for the Cupertino company, and if you're at all interested in seeing iOS devices become even more stable in the future we recommend hitting 'automatically send'.
And you're done! Enjoy iOS 5!
|Okay, we definitely don't want to lose our Real Racing 2 garage, so let's revive an old backup.|
Presumably this is your first time using iOS 5, so you haven't made a cloud backup in iCloud yet. Instead, tap Restore from iTunes Backup and you'll be asked to plug your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad into your PC or Mac.
We've got the classic 'Restore from back-up' screen, now. The most recent save state should be automatically selected, so make sure the little round radio button is checked and hit 'Continue' to restore all your old junk. This could take a while.
Once it's done you'll get some of the same questions as Step 6, but some might be removed depending on the information your backup already has about you. Those are Find My iDevice, Location Services, Apple ID, iCloud, and diagnostics.
And you're done! Enjoy iOS 5!