My iPad 2 – Getting to Know iOS 5

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I’ve been running the developer betas of iOS 5 on my original iPad (which is shared by my wife and daughter, but they allow me to use it as test device) for some time now. As the betas have advanced, I had become more and more tempted to run them on my own iPad 2. Last night I took the plunge and got the latest iOS 5 beta 6 installed on it.

So far, my iPad 2 is running just as well as ever and, like me, enjoying iOS 5 quite a lot.

Just in case any of you are planning to jump on board with the iOS 5 betas soon, I thought I’d share my process for moving over to it.

Here’s how I went about getting my iPad 2 running on iOS 5 beta 6:

** Side note: As with any restore sort of process for an iOS device, I chose to take things a little slow and do some prep beforehand. Between that approach, the need to download iOS 5 betas for the iPad 2 and iTunes, and a slow first sync back to the device after the restore, I had some time to fill. I answered emails, messed around on social networks, and half-watched ‘Top Gun’ on TV while going through the process.

Top Gun ended up being a great choice, as it’s (ultra) cheesy, not your most complex of plots, and mindless fun for short spells while waiting on some part of the process. It was comical to me that Meg Ryan was very sad and upset while my first new sync was taking ages – I felt her pain.

Anyway, back on topic …

— I started by doing an iTunes backup of the iPad 2 running iOS 4.3.5, just for the sake of it.

— Got iOS 5 beta 6 for my model of the iPad 2 and iTunes 10.5 beta 6 for Mac downloaded.

— Used the wonderful Image Capture app on the Mac to import all the Camera Roll photos that I wanted to be able to throw back onto the iPad 2 later on.

— Took screenshots of my 6 iPad 2 home screens – so I’d have an easy visual reference when re-organizing my apps after a ‘clean’ restore.

— Made a new backup of my iTunes library to an external drive (something I do once every 2-4 weeks anyway).

— Thought about using iPhone Explorer or DiskAid to backup some app data from the iPad 2, but skipped it as anything essential to me is synced either via iTunes or the cloud, and I like the idea of a fresh start with iOS 5 on the device.

— Tried an Option-Restore to iOS 5 beta 6 with iTunes not yet updated to the 10.5 beta. I wasn’t sure whether it needed to be that way in order to still recognize my iPad running 4.3.5. That was a wrong choice – the restore failed with Error 21.

— Updated iTunes on the Mac to 10.5 beta 6 and did the Option-Restore to iOS 5 beta 6 again, and it succeeded.

— After the restore, I chose to setup the iPad 2 as new, rather than from a backup. Again, at times like this I’d rather make a clean start on the new OS – even though it means losing a bit of time getting apps arranged, preferences set, accounts setup and so forth. For me it’s worth it for the fresh start. And I generally find that each time I do this it helps me weed out at least a few apps I  don’t use often and leaves me with an organization of apps I feel better about. And that’s a big deal when you’re running with 150-200 apps and more on the iPad.

— Finally I did an initial connected sync with my MacBook Pro (I’ll swap to WiFi sync from now on) as 10GB of music and 10GB of apps wouldn’t make for a very quick first WiFi sync – and then spent some time getting the iPad 2 all setup again as I like it.

This method works nicely for me. Your mileage may vary of course. You may prefer a different movie where Meg Ryan is very sad as your accompaniment. Speaking of which, please share your favorite approach in the comments if you’ve been playing with any of the iOS 5 betas.

My plan, barring any unforeseen disasters, is to stay with the iOS 5 betas through until the public release now, as it is hopefully not too far away now. So if you have iOS 5 on iPad questions, or would like to know how any of its new features work, let me know in the comments what you want to know and I’ll do my best to give you some answers.


Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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2 thoughts on “My iPad 2 – Getting to Know iOS 5”

  1. Glad for the writeup, if you think iOS 5 is good enough for your main iPad, then I’ll give it a shot as well.

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