Technology Brief: iOS 6

On Wednesday, September 19th, Apple released iOS 6. iOS 6 is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, fourth generation iPod Touches, and the iPad 2 and newer (third generation iPod Touches and first generation iPads are not compatible). It also ships as standard with the iPhone 5.

The most notable new iOS 6 features are:

  • Completely re-written Maps app using a new data source and adding turn-by-turn navigation and flyover capability but lacking previously included transit directions capability and some mapping accuracy
  • Passbook, for onboard storage of tickets, boarding passes, etc.
  • Configurable Do Not Disturb capability
  • Significant Camera and Safari enhancements

Additional iOS 6 features:

  • Improvements to Siri
  • FaceTime can now be used over cellular networks, though performance may be spotty and is dependent on both carrier and wireless plan
  • Facebook integration
  • Minor updates to Find My Friends, Find My iPhone, Mail, and Phone
  • Not all features will be available for all devices. More information on iOS 6's features can be found at Apple's page here

ISC has throughly tested iOS 6 and hasn't discovered any problems with core University systems or with many current University apps.

The update to iOS 6 should not erase any information on the device, but doing a backup with an updated version of iTunes before applying a major iOS update is always advisable. Since the iOS 6 download is approximately 900 MB, ISC strongly suggests using WiFi to download iOS 6. In early testing, the installation process has taken approximately 15 minutes.

Please note that an active network connection is needed after installation for upgraded devices to reactivate. In previous releases of substantial iOS updates, AT&T's and Verizon's activation servers have been overwhelmed by devices checking in after the software has installed. For those who rely on their iPhones heavily, it may be wise to wait a week or so before installing the update, as their iPhones may be unusable until the activation can be performed successfully. Keep in mind that similar difficulties likely will arise after the iPhone 5 is released on September 21st.

--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services

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Date Posted: September 19, 2012

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