The jump from iOS 6 to iOS 7 was a big change in both look and feel. The interface was upgraded significantly with a new look, and there were a number of functionality changes that took a little while to get used to. For these reasons I recommended that people waited until some of the minor bugs had been worn out, however in the end it was a necessary update as most apps required iOS 7, and also it was a good change as the additional functionality was a significant improvement. I warned iPhone 3GS owners against the update as there were reports of iOS 7 making the phone unusable due to the larger processor demands.
The jump from iOS 7 to iOS 8 is not a big change in either look or feel. The interface looks the same, and whilst there are some additional features, none are essential and are more like minor tweaks to make things a little easier (for example the quick message reply from the notification dropdown, swipe in Mail app and predictive text on default keyboard) however there are a few new features that offer a lot of promise but are not fully utilised yet, such as widgets in the control centre, 3rd-party keyboards which are still a bit buggy, and the ability to link your Apple devices for things like hand-off and call answering (which for Mac computers is waiting for OSX Yosemite). Also the new Health App is not really useful yet as there aren’t many devices or apps that link in, but they will come. The Apple Watch will use it but seeing as it will have less than a day’s charge you can’t use the sleep functionality (read my Apple Watch review here)
The change from iOS7 to iOS 8 is in the backend of the operating system. iOS 8 is much more secure, and conversely much more open for app developers to utilise the device’s hardware. The increased security is due to the Near Field Communications (NFC) and Apple Pay functionality that has been included in the iPhone 6 lineup (read my iPhone 6 lineup review here). The move to allow app developers to utilise more of the phone’s hardware and also the creation of Apple’s new Swift language means that there will be a lot more apps available with increased functionality and utilisation of the device.
The main issue for most people has been the need for a significant amount of free space, with some reporting they need 7GB free. Microsoft have come to the party, offering 30GB of OneDrive storage for iPhone users. The only issue with that is it takes ages to upload your data, and make sure you do it on WiFi or expect a huge bill!
So, should you update, wait or not bother?
In general I suggest you wait for the first update (probably due in the next couple of weeks) as iOS 8 is still buggy – I have had apps crashing more often, and had touch errors in Mail and Phone that required a reboot of my iPhone 5.
If you are going to do the update, make sure that you backup your phone to your computer before you update. Depending on how many videos and Photos you have on your iPhone, a backup to your computer will take about 5 mins. iCloud backup is okay, but if something goes wrong and you lose data then it is a slow and potentially costly exercise to restore a backup from iCloud.
To backup your iPhone you need to plug it into your computer, open iTunes on the computer, select the phone and then the backup button. (Make sure you do a backup before you update).
It is highly recommended that you backup your iPhone or iOS device to a computer before any update, either a major update like iOS 8 or a minor update like the previous 7.1.2
As with iOS7, older phones should avoid updating as this change requires more processor time, and whilst the iPhone 4S can accept iOS 8 it’s not recommended to update your iPhone 4S to iOS8