Get your iPhone or iPad ready for iOS 10.3

iOS 10.3 is out for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but before you rush out to download it here's some things you can do to get your hardware ready for the upgrade.

Here's what you need to do to make sure things go smoothly for you.

See also: Learn to become a Google Chrome power user

Will you get iOS 10.3?

First things first, will you get iOS 10.3?

Here is a complete list of the devices that are supported by this release (basically, if you have iOS 10, you can get this upgrade):

  • iPad 4th gen
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Pro (12.9- and 9.7-inch)
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPad mini 3
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPod touch 6th
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5s
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 6/6 Plus
  • iPhone 6s/6s Plus
  • iPhone 7/7 Plus

To know what device you have, use this page to decipher the model number, which you can find on the back of the device or under Settings > General > About > Model.

Is your device not in the list? Then you're out of luck.

Back up your data

Before you do anything major, such as upgrading your device, you need to make sure that you have a backup just in case things don't go smoothly. This is doubly so for iOS 10.3 because for the first time Apple is changing the iOS file system from the 30+ year old HFS+ for Apple File System.

Apple File System is a huge improvement over HFS+, bringing with it features such as optimization for solid state storage, strong encryption, better file time stamping (down to the nanosecond), and many storage saving improvements.

Apple plans to move macOS, iOS, tvOS, and even watchOS to Apple File System.

But the two file systems are not compatible with each other, and once you upgrade to Apple File System, there's no way to convert back to HFS+ without blowing away all your data and reformatting the storage.

What this means is that when iOS 10.3 is installed, every file stored on the device will be converted from the old format to the new format. And while we can expect that Apple will put a lot of effort into making this conversion process as smooth and painless as possible, upgrading a file system always opens up the possibility that something can go wrong.

And if something does go wrong, data loss is a real possibility if the upgrade process has started converting files.

Which is why you need a backup.

You can either back up your data to iCloud (go to Settings > iCloud > Backup, then turn on iCloud Backup), or if you don't have enough space, you can take the old-school road and connect your iPhone or iPad to a PC to do the backup through iTunes.

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