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Jumping Down the Rabbit Hole: Updating to iOS8

Is the new iOS life changing? No, but Apple has added some pretty neat features and shortcuts. Here's why you should care: Apple changed our way of life more than once already, and they are cool. You may or may not think so, but many of your clients will. 

On September 16, 2014, at 7:08 p.m., I am reminded that the new Apple software is available to upgrade. Without a thought, I jump down the rabbit hole. Well, I try to. If you want to update your iPhone, you’ll need more than 4GB of storage. If you (John Sciacca, I’m looking at you) only have, say, 16GB of storage, you may find this task difficult.

I have a slight moment of hesitation, but then I remember that if you connect your phone to your computer, you will be able to update without making space. Because I’m tech chi, the tech girl, and the world is counting on me to update my phone (at least, this is what I tell myself) I swallow the red pill and enter the matrix to connect and update.

After a brief delay to update my iTunes, I stumble upon the option to update my phone and finally, it has begun — the greatest new thing is arriving in just 22 minutes.

I wait.

And wait.

I buy some Boy Scout popcorn from a kid and his father who knock on my door.

I give the kids a bath.

Waiting. 3… 2… 1… it is done! Oh wait, it is not. There is some additional loading that the phone is doing and then it goes dark. A window pops up on the screen of my laptop: “An unexpected error has occurred.” (I wonder what are the expected errors?) Enter swear word of choice here.

When I click for help I am told to make sure my software is up to date (check), and restart my computer (done). At this point my phone has become a pretty paperweight, dark and dead. What choice do I have but to restart my computer and wait again?

Once my laptop restarts, I open iTunes and am asked if I want to recover my phone. Data may be lost; do you want to continue? Maybe I should not have jumped down the rabbit hole so quickly. Here I am with no way out and not much of a choice, so yes, let’s enter recovery mode.

At 7:32 p.m. I hear the resuscitating buzz, buzz, buzz of my phone as it comes alive with a lighted screen that says “hello.” I’m still not sure what has been lost when I am prompted to either activate the phone or restore it. Hoping that Apple knows what they are doing, I click restore and assure myself that the phone did, in fact, backup before I went to update (at least I’m pretty sure it did, eek). For two grueling minutes, I wonder what could be lost and wonder if I would even know. At this point, I am happy there are small pieces of my life still not connected to my phone.

My MacBook Air now has less than 20 percent battery life, and I ponder if I need to find my power cord.

By 7:45 we are “waiting for items to copy.” This is step 5 of 5. This must be a good sigh, right? Right?

Once 7:53 comes, I take a break and put the kids to bed while my phone continues to sync. At 8:10 p.m., I’m back and everything, almost eerily, seems in order. I’m asked to give up my first child (I’m guessing) and agree to all terms and conditions. At this point, I’m just saying yes for you, dear reader. I plunge forward to see if I can find the other side of wonderland. Then, like dropping to the bottom of the rabbit hole, I’m done. I enter in a new password, which, somewhere along the way, I accidently changed, and am on my home page.

Out of my mouth fly the words, “It doesn’t look any different.”

Yes, there are changes; they’re just subtle. There is a new app with a red heart on my phone called Health (I’ll wait to dive into this one). There are also some behind the scenes changes.

iCloud Drive: This will allow you to start texts or emails on your phone and finish them on your computer. At first glance, this seems a bit like Dropbox for Numbers and Pages (Apple’s software for Excel and Word).

Camera: There is a now a timer on the camera app. Just think of all the AVSelfies we can take without having to extend our arms all the way out. A new way to shoot video called time-lapse is begging to be played with as well.

Search (Spotlight): To search on your phone you pull from the middle of the screen down, a great way to find apps that are hidden on further pages of your phone. Now search (called Spotlight) will search the internet, iTunes, App Store (shocking), and movie times (pretty cool). A quick search of Hunger Games gave me a query with iTunes songs. If I search “movies,” I receive “now playing in theaters” as well as application search of Fandango and IMDb.

Shortcuts: When you double click (which you should do daily to close your apps) on the home button you’ll find shortcuts at the top of your screen of people you have recently called or have called you. You can change whom you see here.

Email: A few more options in your email as well. Swiping right to left will give you flag and trash. Doing this a second time will delete the email. Swiping left to right on the email will give you the option to “mark as read.”

Want to learn more? You’ll find a Tips app on your phone that will walk you through new features and how to access them.

Per NBC News, “When the next big operating system update is released — OS X Yosemite for Mac, expected in October — Apple computers, tablets, and phones will be able to work together more closely than before. Users will be able to answer phone calls on a Mac, as well as easily move calendar entries, contacts, documents and other items between devices with a feature called Handoff.” 

Is the new iOS life changing? No, but Apple has added some pretty neat features and shortcuts. Here’s why you should care: Apple changed our way of life more than once already, and they are cool. You may or may not think so, but many of your clients will. You need to know and understand these features to be their technology expert. Show them a shortcut, and you might make their day.

As for today, I’ll be making sure all my tech apps work to let our clients know, for this, my friend, is what we do.

Heather L. Sidorowicz is the president of Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.