Updating your smartphone’s operating system when notified to do so helps patch up gaps in security as well as upgrade your device’s performance.  However, there are a few steps you should take before downloading a new OS in order to protect your device and any photos or personal files on it from damage. 

What to do before you update your OS

Before you start your OS update or upgrade, you should take a few steps to help avoid problems:

  • Charge your phone: To avoid having your phone power down during the update, be sure you have 70% charge at minimum.
  • Back up your files: OS upgrades and updates should not affect the data stored on your smartphone, but it is still a good idea to back up your files just to be safe.
  • Make sure your device is compatible with the upgraded OS: A new OS may not be designed for all older devices; check to see if yours is compatible. 
  • Delete apps you do not use anymore: A new OS may need a significant amount of your device’s memory.  Upgrading your OS is a good time to do some “spring cleaning” and clear out apps that are just taking up space.

What to do after you update your OS

Sometimes the new OS will have different pre-installed settings than the settings you have chosen, and will choose the new settings over your old ones.  After you install the new OS, there are settings you should check so that your phone is not running functions or sharing data in ways you may not want.

  • Check “Wi-Fi Assist”: This function automatically switches to your data plan when Wi-Fi connectivity is weak.  If left on, this may cause data usage when you do not expect it. Decide if you want that function switched on or off.
  • Check cellular data usage for app updates: If you turn this function off, apps can only be updated using a Wi-Fi connection.  This can help prevent excess data usage, particularly for apps that you do not use often.
  • Check your privacy settings: Make sure your location services, Bluetooth sharing, ad tracking and social media settings are set to the preferences you want.
  • Check your most important apps: A new OS sometimes will be incompatible with one or more of your existing apps, at least until a fix is issued by the OS company.  Check the apps you rely on the most, and notify the OS company if there’s any problem.  An upgrade for your app may be available that fixes it.

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Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2016