Q: I was wondering about the new [iPhone] update. I have an [iPhone] 4, and I never did the [iOS] 6 update. Now that there is an iOS 7 [update], should I update to 7 or do I need to update to the 6 first?
— Connie Bartlett
A: Connie's referring to the latest operating system upgrade for the iPhone and iPad, called iOS 7. The update has a lot of new features, and it's a radical redesign of the look and feel of the previous versions.
I wrote previously that eventually you will want to upgrade to the latest operating system because newer apps will come out that will require that you have iOS 7. It's also better than previous versions of the OS in a number of ways. But it's been a controversial change, and there is also a huge number of people who don't like iOS 7 and its flatter, more colorful interface.
But if you want to make the upgrade, you don't need to jump from iOS 5 to iOS 6 and then iOS 7. You can just download the latest version of iOS 7, which right now is version 7.0.2.
The best way to do that is to install it from iTunes on the computer that you normally sync your iPhone to as opposed to doing the update over the air. It's also better to completely restore your phone from scratch and then install the update. But before you do, it's important that you sync the phone to your iTunes first to make sure that everything on the phone is backed up.
When you install it on an iPhone 4 or 4S, be aware that there are some downsides to updating. The new version will operate a little bit slower on the phone than before. It also might suck up more battery power than before.
Recently, I wrote a column on what you can do in your phone's settings to help raise the battery life after you install iOS 7. Tips include turning off Bluetooth if you don't use it (for some reason, iOS 7 turns this setting on by default), and turning off the background app refresh setting for your apps so it doesn't use battery power to automatically update content for the apps in the background.
Did the new android operating system help fix the HTC One? I need to upgrade an iPhone 3S, and I am following your recommendations. — Robbie Chidester.
Robbie's talking about a column I wrote recently in which I switched back from my HTC One smartphone to my old iPhone 5. The reason I did this is because the HTC One, which is an Android phone, was buggy. Since then, I upgraded the software on that phone because a newer version of Android, version 4.3, finally came out for that phone.
Did it improve my phone once I updated it? Yes it did, but not to the point where I would go back to it. I'm still using my iPhone 5 because it simply has more features that I want, like better support for my headset remote control and better voice recognition commands through Siri.
But by upgrading my HTC One's software, it did squash some nasty bugs that were plaguing the phone, especially my ability to just make a phone call. Oftentimes, I couldn't make a call at all or I would connect with the other person on the line and I could hear them but they couldn't hear me.
The problem with the Android platform is the phone manufacturers and carriers each make tweaks to the core Android operating system that ultimately make it more buggy. I'm convinced that's what happened to the HTC One.
When shopping for a new Android phone, consider what new features and add-ons are included with it by the manufacturer and carrier. Check online to see if those changes have made the phone more troublesome.