Apple’s iOS 5/iCloud upgrade: how was it for you?

Thu, 13 Oct 2011, 11:40am

iOS 5

Like many people yesterday evening, I suspect, I decided I’d upgrade my Apple kit to iOS 5 and iCloud. Given all the hoopla surrounding the upgrade, I was keen to see what all the fuss was about.

Earlier in the afternoon I’d already downloaded iTunes v10.5 in preparation. It's worth noting, as kindly pointed out by Forum regular professorhat, that on a Mac, wireless syncing of your iDevice with iTunes 10.5 only works on Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) or above.

So if you're doing this with a Mac, you must be using this version otherwise the Sync with this iDevice over wi-fi tick box will not be present on the Summary tab.

Next up was the upgrade on my iMac to Lion OSX  v10.7.2, which took a good 45 minutes or so.

That done, it was time to plug in my iPad 2 to the iMac using the standard USB cable (hopefully for the last time!) and into iTunes to get the iOS 5 upgrade. A pop-up window told me the upgrade would take about an hour, so I grabbed a book and a cup of tea to pass the time.

Once the iOS5 upgrade had finished downloading, it extracted the software and installed it on the iPad. So far so good. But then trouble struck – as the iPad was being restored with my Apps and iTunes music, up popped an error message and the installation stopped.

Not sure what to do, I clicked on the upgrade button again and the system started reloading my apps and music again. This time it worked. Phew!

Once the iPad was fully restored, a series of screens appeared taking me through the iCloud set-up process using my Apple ID log-in. All very simple.

Next up was the iPhone (I have an older 2009 3G S, not a 4, but it's still compatible with the upgrade). Same process as the iPad, but again an ‘error 34’ message appeared when restoring my apps and music to the phone.

Apple iPhone 4S

Several attempts at a reload failed, so it was off to the Apple Helpline where I discovered that if I was upgrading the iPhone while it was in a dock connected to the iMac (which it was), this might cause a problem and I’d be better off connecting the phone directly to the USB cable. Which I did. Fourth time round, the sync continued but then suffered another interruption.

However, the info in iTunes told me the iPhone had been upgraded to iOS 5, so I risked disconnecting it. The phone seemed to work fine, but none of my iTunes music had been restored, so I had to reconnect the phone and upload all my music manually (1500+ tracks) which was a tad tedious, but at least it worked.

By this time I’d already spent at least three hours upgrading everything, so my patience was beginning to wear a little thin.

Now if, like me, you have a MobileMe account, then you’ll know that MobileMe will be switched off in June 2012. Which means you need to transfer your MobileMe account to iCloud. Apple provides a very helpful link to the instructions on how to do this on your MobileMe log-in page, so off I went.

iPad 2

Following the instructions to the letter (Had I upgraded my iMac to Lion OSX 10.7.2? Yes. Had I upgraded all my iOS devices to iOS 5? Yes – eventually), I went through all the click boxes until I got to the one that said ‘transfer MobileMe account to iCloud” and then… another error screen saying it couldn’t be done. After several more attempts I gave up.

It's also worth noting that while I have 25GB of storage on my MobileMe account, iCloud gives you just 5GB as standard for free. If you want more, you'll have to pay for it: 10GB is £14/year, 20GB £28/year and 50GB £70/year.

By this stage I reckon I’d spent the best part of five hours upgrading all my kit. Oh, and then I remembered the Apple TV would probably need an upgrade too. Which it did. Fortunately that one worked seemlessly and only took 20 minutes.

By midnight I’d had enough, so shuffled off to bed. This morning I had another go at migrating my MobileMe account to iCloud and – hurrah! – it worked. Maybe the Apple servers in California were struggling a bit last night, like me.

So finally all my hardware and software is up to date. It just remains to log in to iCloud on my iMac, iPad and iPhone and I’m good to go.

Was it worth all the bother? Well, I’ve noticed some nice little touches on iOS 5. The new pull-down notifications tab is handy, and I like Newsstand which brings together all your magazine and newspaper subscriptions on a bookshelf, just like iBooks (see below).

iOS 5

Even better, iMessage allows free text messaging between compatible Apple iDevices over wi-fi, so with that and FaceTime the iPhone/iPad really does become a handy social networking tool.

In theory, all my iDevices can now communicate with each other over the same wi-fi network, so an app bought on one will automatically download to the other. And I should never need to sync the iPhone or iPad to the iMac using a wired connection again.

Of course, we don’t yet have iTunes Match in the UK, so iCloud only allows you to download music you’ve previously bought on iTunes to your mobile devices. Sadly we can’t yet transfer non-iTunes music we’ve ripped ourselves to iCloud like our American cousins. For now, you'll have to sync the rest of your music collection to your iDevice over wi-fi or using good old-fashioned USB.

Bring on iTunes Match, I say, which scans your music library and upgrades those songs to 256 Kbps AAC, DRM-free (for $25 a year in the US), regardless of how many songs you have.

Apple TV

As for Apple TV, it now allows photos stored in iCloud to stream to your TV, and any video you shoot on an iPad can stream directly to your telly.  But, as I just discovered, to make the most of Photo Stream you’ll have to upgrade to iPhoto 11 v9.2 on your computer – that’s another £10.95.

Still, despite all the hassles and the time it’s taken, I have to say that (ultimately) the iOS5/iCloud upgrade is worth it. No longer having to tether your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch to a Mac or PC is a big jump in the right direction, and the ability to sync everything wirelessly seems a lot more 21st century.

For more information on iOS5/iCloud, read our news story



The update on my 3GS crashed a couple of times as well. It was quite stressful. In the end it went pretty well but it got half way through restoring from the backup I'd made just before the upgrade and crashed again. Luckily my contacts made it but everything else was lost as the backup file had become corrupted. So all my apps and music (1700 songs) had to be manually replaced and and another backup made. I can forgive all that though. What is really getting me down is how since the upgrade my 3GS has become so slow, sluggish and unresponsive to such a degree that it has made the phone virtually unusable. The slick & smooth operation that makes the iPhone great has gone. Safari cant cope with any webpage that has 2 different font sizes or picture sizes (which is almost every website) it will focus on one size and the other will be so out of focus that it is completely unreadable. Typing anything is almost impossible as it takes AT LEAST 7 seconds to register each tap on the screen (I've had plenty of time to count it). Even dialing a phone number takes forever & often leads to dialing wrong numbers. I know this is sounding like a rant but I am disabled with CRPS and 99% of the time im house bound by constant agony. My 3GS, through Twitter, Facebook, texts and phone calls etc were my contacts to support groups, doctors and the outside world. Now I'm isolated again. I've taken everything off now except Twitter and Facebook and it's still no better. I contacted Apple to ask for their advice and explained why it was so important that my iPhone worked and all they said was "check the FAQ's or the community discussions on their site." If anybody here has any advice im so desperate, I would be really really grateful to you.

That's strange, Clippo81. I have a 3G S too, and although the update crashed a couple of times while restoring and dumped some of my music, the phone has been working fine since then. Yes, maybe it is a bit slower, but certainly not to the extent you describe. Anyone else with a 3G S had this problem?

Nope, I am the same as you, Mr C. Certainly slower than it was on iOS 4, but in no way unusable - just a bit of a freeze every now and then as it catches up. I do have to make sure I shut apps down now more regularly than I used to - a result of iOS5 using up more memory I guess.

Clippo81 - are you ensuring that apps are closed down regularly? To do this, when at your home screen, double tap the home button. You should find a new layer appears at the bottom and this shows currently running apps. To shut them down, press and hold one until the red minus icon appears above it. Clicking this will shut the app down and should free up resources for other apps to run. Using this in conjunction with a memory reporting app (like this one) shows you how effective this is - doing it now has sent my free memory from 3.5 MB to over 80 MB.


I would advise anyone doing the iOS 5 update on an iPhone to do a 'back up' before doing so. That way, if you lose, say, text messages, when you do the update, you can restore to that back up...

Upgrade on my iPad 1 was fine. Nothing amazing in new functionality. I'd say it's more of a service pack release rather than warranting a bump up to 5.0, at least on the legacy h/w

Oh, and Location Reminders only work on iPhone 4 and 4S, not the 3GS. Glad I'm going to be upgrading soon!


Andy Clough wrote:

Still, despite all the hassles and the time it’s taken, I have to say that (ultimately) the iOS5/iCloud upgrade is worth it. No longer having to tether your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch to a Mac or PC is a big jump in the right direction, and the ability to sync everything wirelessly seems a lot more 21st century.

For more information on iOS5/iCloud, read our news story

Andy - worth noting what I've written on the news article around Mac OS X version 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) being required for the wireless sync to work (on a Mac naturally). Other forums have quite a few confused people asking why this option just isn't there. One assumes at some point Apple will either allow it for us poor Leopard users to do this, or perhaps inform people that it's a pre-requisite to prevent the confusion I had last night and this morning trying to get it working!


Useful feedback as always prof, duly noted. I'll add that in to the blog.

I haven't upgraded my iPad yet, but iPhone upgrade took @hour. All went well except it 'lost' all my Apps, which I had to re-sync - no big drama.

On a positive note, the super-fast syncing is a real bonus. And is it me, or is the battery life (i'm on an iPhone 4) holding up better?

The sync time is amazing. Was previously taking about 20 seconds. Now it's... whizz ...done. (About 2 seconds and that's a 'conservative' estimate.)

Battery life is longer on my 4. I took it off the charge around midnight last night (<smug>after a successful glitch- free upgrade</smug>) and was using AirPlay for 3 hours this morning and 3G surfing (in the local Waterstone's branch of Costa) over a coffee for almost an hour at lunchtime. Two texts, two phone calls (about 5 mins each) and the battery symbol is still only about a 'Rizla' less than full. 


I love all this wireless connections , it works a treat .

I upgraded my mac last night , my ipod touch this morning with no problems . I will upgrade my 2 apple tv2 tonight and i look forward to my iphone 4s being delivered tomorrow Smile

You can see why apple are working on wireless charging , just think of never having to plug another cable in to your iphone , ipad or laptop again and leaving the house fully charged and synced. I can't wait!


yes, with Icloud you can now do on you iphone - what you have been able to do on android for a couple of years.



Icloud is nothing new at all - yet as with all Apple things, their pr makes it look like something brand new, and all the sheep believe the hype.


it may not be all new but it all has been simply put together and works with ease, unlike andriod has done in the past

I was thinking about all you people who deslike apple. You know without apple doing what they did with the iphone 3g and other products like ipods ( love them or hate them ) There would not be such a push with this kind of tech and we would proberbly only getting phones from 5 years ago on the market now .

Any kind of tech push which two or more firms/brands are going to try to better is always a good thing for the consumer regardless what we think of the other . If everyone thought one product was rubbish and it left only one major brand, the advancements in the future would be smaller and smaller 

Upgraded and since then my touch doesn't work with my Pure i20 dock properly anymore. The volume control on the touch is now active whereas before it wasn't, is the output still digital? And the remote operation is flaky. As this is the only thing I really use the iPod for I'm starting to wish I hadn't upgraded!