Friday, June 25, 2010

Updating to iPhone OS4---It's Really Not that Intuitive, Boomers

Sorry I haven't been posting regularly, but life has a way of getting in the way. And sometimes, even the gadgets you rely on to simplify your life, seem to be complicating it.

So it was for me this week, when Apple announced its upgrade to the OS4, and I couldn't even figure out how to download  the operating system onto my phone. My original iPhone was a 3GS, and I expected that when I synced to iTunes I would get a message telling me about the new OS and that I should upgrade my phone. Well that didn't happen.

When I complained to family about not being able to find the upgrade on the Apple site, my son took over and actually upgraded my phone for me, before I had a chance to look at all the steps it took. I made him show me what he did so I could blog about it.

Of course I found out that all you have to do is connect your device to iTunes, sync it, click on the little icon of the iPhone that appears under "Devices", and it will say "Check for Updates."

After you click, it will give you options to update your phone. My question for Apple is, why isn't this automatic? Shouldn't they notify you when an update is available? All my other programs do. Maybe there is something I'm missing here, like a setting I'm not seeing to set it to notify me right away when an update is available. Or maybe there  is a reason some people don't want to automatically upgrade to a new operating system when it comes out. Too many bugs, perhaps?

Anyway, once I updated the phone, I began exploring some of the new capabilities, and frankly, they just didn't seem so revolutionary to me. Yes, I got some spiffy new backgrounds for my phone. And I learned that if you double click on the home button you can keep some apps running while you go to another app. I can keep my mail open while I play a game, for example. That's good, and saves some steps. But is it revolutionary? Not really.

One thing I did like was that I was able to organize all my apps in folders, which significantly reduced the number of pages I have to deal with on my phone screen. All my social apps such as Facebook and Twitter are in a folder, as are all my music apps.

My son moved some of the apps together right on the phone screen, but when I tried to do this myself, I couldn't do it. However, following a tip from an EONs member, I decided to go into Apple iTunes, connect my iPhone, click on my iPhone icon which is under the Devices section, and click the tab called Apps. Then I was able to use my mouse to drag the apps icons to consolidate apps into appropriate folders.  Now I have two pages of icons rather than three, and am happy with the results.

This is how iTunes Help tells you how to do it:

I have to tell you that doing this wasn't intuitive or as easy as I expected from Apple. However, now that I've done it once, it seems easy in retrospect. At least, since Apple does things consistently, I'll know how to change my new iPad when the operating system update to that comes along in the fall.

My son, who has been helping me figure these things out, says he can't relate to my difficulties, and he is laughing at me a little today as he reads this post.  But  I'm guessing the rest of you can relate to me, right?


Baby Boomer Resource Guide said...

This is a great tool more like an actual computer in your hand. I really think This iphone should be free as Apple makes a tun from the application market. What is really funny nobody looks up any more everyone is staring into their phones. lol Thanks for the tips!

Esther Surden said...

I've been told that perhaps I was a little rough on Apple when I wrote about updating to the new OS, and that maybe someone in my family actually SET my updates so they don't happen automatically. Even so, you'd think the website would remind me that an update is available.

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