Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 5.0 | iLounge Article


Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 5.0

Click Below to Read the Rest of This Article:  

Debuted at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, Apple’s iOS 5 upgrade is in the process of being officially released to the public today. Now in its fifth major release—the second since being renamed “iOS” from “iPhone OS”—the new operating system makes some major improvements aimed at the general user experience, as well as transitioning Apple’s mobile devices away from cabled connections to desktop computers, instead pointing them towards synchronization with cloud-based servers.

Downloading and Installing

As with all prior iOS updates, iOS 5 will be downloaded and installed via iTunes. Although iOS 5 includes support for future over-the-air (OTA) updates—ones performed wirelessly without the need for a computer—you’ll need to install iOS 5 the old-fashioned way before you can take advantage of these OTA updates. 

iOS 5 will be a free update for all supported iOS device models—the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch, and the iPad and iPad 2. It’s the default version of iOS for the brand new iPhone 4S, and for the white version of the iPod touch 4G that is just arriving in Apple Stores today. As of this moment, iOS 5 is not available for public download, but it is expected to be downloadable several hours from now. If you want to see it before then, you can check out the iPod touches that are now on display at the Apple Store.

iOS 5 requires iTunes 10.5, released yesterday. Before attempting to update your device to iOS 5, you should ensure that you have downloaded and installed this latest version of iTunes. It is unclear whether the update will even appear in older iTunes versions, as synchronization with iTunes under iOS 5 definitely requires iTunes 10.5.

The download and installation process is relatively simple: users can use the “Check for Updates” option found on the Device Summary page in iTunes 10.5 and it should locate, download and install the update automatically. In some cases, iTunes may have already discovered the update by itself, in which case you will simply see an “Update” button instead of a “Check for Updates” button.

The usual caveats and warnings apply here as with any iOS update: the installation may or may not preserve all of your existing data.  It may result in the wiping of your device’s data under certain conditions and it is therefore a good idea to ensure that you have a current backup of your device before beginning. Be sure that all of your media content and apps are in your iTunes library; these do not form part of the backups made by iTunes, as Apple reasonably expects that you should be able to re-sync this information from your iTunes library following a full restore. You can check the status of your backup before beginning by visiting the “Devices” section in your iTunes Preferences.

Model Differences

Perhaps having learned from last year’s confusion with iOS 4 across various models, Apple has chosen to try and keep the features in iOS 5 as consistent as possible. This has been achieved by dropping support for pre-2009 devices entirely—a change that actually occurred as of iOS 4.3 last spring. The only devices supported by iOS 5 are the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4/4S, iPad and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch.

The good news is that for the first time in two years, a major iOS software release unifies all current Apple iOS devices under a single, consistent version. Last year’s release of iOS 4 was originally available only for the iPhone and iPod touch—iPad users were required to wait almost six months more until iOS 4.2 became available. The Verizon iPhone was then released in February, and left stuck on a variant of iOS 4.2 while the rest of Apple’s devices moved ahead to iOS 4.3. WIth the release of iOS 5, all devices released by Apple in the past two years will be using the same version of the operating system.

The differences between various iOS 5 devices are now limited primarily to obvious hardware limitations—an iPhone 3GS still can’t do FaceTime without a front-facing camera, for example. Unfortunately, not all of these hardware limitations may be immediately apparent; “geo-fencing” location reminders is a feature that is not available on the iPhone 3GS, owing perhaps to differences in the GPS chipset used on that device or perhaps simply due to performance issues.

One other caveat that is also worth repeating here: there is no 8GB third-generation iPod touch. The 8GB iPod touch Apple continued to sell in 2009 alongside the 32GB and 64GB models was actually still the second-generation model from 2008. Although most 8GB iPod touch users have likely run into this already with iOS 4, it bears repeating just to clear up any confusion. If you have any camera-less 8GB iPod touch, you will not be able to install iOS 5.

Lots More On The Following Pages

We go through all of the major features on the pages that follow. Please use the drop down menus above or below to read about everything that’s new.

Click Below to Read the Rest of This Article:  

« Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of Apple TV 4.4

iPhone + iPad Gems: Boss Battles, Dark Meadow, Gyro13 + High Flyer Death Defyer »

Related Stories



Rumor was that multi-tasking gestures only work on iPad 2, not original iPad.  Can anyone confirm this?

Posted by BrennerM in Toronto on October 12, 2011 at 1:18 PM (CDT)


For the WiFi sync, do I have to keep my Mac awake in order to sync or can I have my apple device plugged in and my mac asleep to sync? That would be a true wireless/computer less sync

Posted by Zane Liu in Toronto on October 12, 2011 at 6:50 PM (CDT)


I like the idea of separating true videos (movies, TV Shows, etc), but NOT music videos! Those should be kept with the music tracks. I have many music playlists that contain both music and music videos. So what happens to those playlists now? Do they still play properly?

Posted by Michael in Toronto on October 12, 2011 at 10:30 PM (CDT)


“If you have any 8GB iPod touch, you will not be able to install iOS 5.” - That’s not true.  There are the 4th generation 8GB ones that have no problem with it.

Posted by Adam in Toronto on October 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM (CDT)


From the article:

“It is unclear whether the update will even appear in older iTunes versions, as synchronization with iTunes under iOS 5 definitely requires iTunes 10.5.”

Actually, it does appear in older versions of iTunes (at least as of version 10.1.2, can’t vouch for anything older than iTunes 10)!  As an experiment, I’ve plugged my Verizon iPhone 4 into my MacBook Pro, which still has Snow Leopard (10.6.8) and iTunes 10.4.1, and when clicking on the device tab for my iPhone, it indicated that “a new version of the iPhone software (version 5.0) is available”.  However, when I attempted to actually do the update, it pops up a dialog indicating that iTunes 10.5 is required to perform the update and offered me the option to download and install the new iTunes. 

Just for completeness (and to see how it behaved in Windows and not just Mac OS, as well as an even older version of iTunes), I’ve also plugged an iPad 2 into my (now getting very long in the tooth) Windows XP box, which has an even older version of iTunes installed (version, and the offer to update to iOS 5 also appeared there.  Again, when I attempted to perform the actual update, got the same dialog saying that iTunes 10.5 is required and offered to download it.

That is actually a pretty smooth and very nice way of handling this instead of just simply ignoring the update altogether or kicking you back out with some vague error of “incompatible versions” or some such.

If you still got any rigs around there at iLounge-land that still has the older iTunes installed, you may want to document this as part of this feature (so people know what happens when you try to update from an older version of iTunes).  If you like, I could capture the screen shots and e-mail them to you guys.

Posted by SkiBumMSP in Toronto on October 12, 2011 at 11:59 PM (CDT)


@brennerM yes it is true only ipad 2

Posted by ganon2598 in Toronto on October 14, 2011 at 11:58 AM (CDT)


I’ve been doing a lot of reading these days on iOS 5 and this is by far the most comprehensive and informative guide on the new iOS. 

Great job!

Posted by Dimos in Toronto on October 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM (CDT)


about s/mime support, with our first look at this opportunity, we immediately encountered a problem reading large encrypted email messages, over 500K, email messages displayed as smime.p7m file and cannot be processed by Apple Mail App…

Posted by rvs1723 in Toronto on October 14, 2011 at 12:17 PM (CDT)


“If you have any 8GB iPod touch, you will not be able to install iOS 5.”

Really, because I’m pretty sure you forgot the entire slew of 4G 8GB touches that were and still are on sale (in fact, many are shipping with 5G on it).

Might want to fix that.

Posted by Code Monkey in Toronto on October 14, 2011 at 4:28 PM (CDT)


Nice review, very complete and clear.
I have a question although, related with the “multitouch gestures” settings. According to this article we should be able to enable it from the Setting -> General App, but in my iPhone the Multitouch gestures option does not appear. Do I need to enable something else before being able to set up multitouch gestures?

Thanks for the help,

Posted by Simone in Toronto on October 16, 2011 at 4:19 AM (CDT)


Welcome, we look forward to seeing everyone at the 2012 International CES!

Posted by International CES in Toronto on October 17, 2011 at 10:47 AM (CDT)


Apparently there’s a bug (or a not-detailed system requirement) for Wi-fi Sync, in that it will not appear as an option unless you have Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6), minimum, installed.

Posted by Skwid in Toronto on October 18, 2011 at 11:26 PM (CDT)


how do you get the ios5 ipod to play on your tv i got all the cords and stuff i just dont know what to do next and when i plug it into the tv you can only hear it but not see it im trynna watch a movie but it wont work !!!! someone please helppp

Posted by brianna in Toronto on December 26, 2011 at 10:01 PM (CST)


I want to know if with the iPod Touch iOS 5 you can take pictures of your screen ( Screen Shots )

Posted by Ashley in Toronto on April 7, 2012 at 9:47 PM (CDT)

iLounge Weekly

Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2019 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy