5 reasons to update the iPhone to iOS 4.2 GM

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I’m sure you are aware of the latest news around the iOS 4.2. Currently on GM release to the developers, it’s still being delayed from release to the public.

Whatever the real reason for the delay might be, it seems that the generally believed idea is that there was a WiFi bug that was discovered on the iOS 4.2 firmware for the iPad which has since saw a second release of the GM candidate which I’ve tested out to work perfectly here in my previous post – Updating your iPad to iOS 4.2 now, GM2 that is.

So my reasoning again for going ahead with updating my iPhone 3GS with the GM release is simple, if there were any bugs to be fixed on the iOS 4.2 firmware for the iPhones, Apple would have surely released a second GM candidate by now, wouldn’t they? If not, then I suppose there’s nothing majorly wrong with it and it would be the final candidate once Apple open the floodgates for iOS 4.2.

With that said and thought out, I figured there’s no harm trying it out. There’s always the option to restore it back to an older firmware using the recovery mode. So if you too can’t wait for the rumored 24th Nov for the official release, here’s how and why you should update it now!

The first thing that you need to do obviously is to look for a place to download the iOS 4.2 GM candidate. And with Google’s help, it’s not too difficult to find that particular site, or just search for the torrents. It’s really not that difficult to find it at this point in time.

Of course, iTunes 10.1 is required and by now, you should have already updated iTunes to the latest version. If not, please do so now.

And a gentle reminder, make sure you download the correct iPhone firmware (ipsw) file for your phone model. Although I’m pretty sure you can’t use a 3G firmware to update an iPhone 4 (iTunes would reject it I believe), still, let’s not even attempt that if possible and surely you don’t want to waste your time downloading the wrong firmware. Oh and make sure you perform a full backup just before updating the firmware too.

Once you have the file, the same old routine of updating/restoring a downloaded firmware file applies here. This is the same step you’d take if you wanted to update to any firmwares or even unjailbreak your iPhone to the legit firmware.

All you need to do is simple open up iTunes, hold option and click on restore (on the Mac) or hold shift and click on restore (on Windows). Then choose the iOS 4.2 GM firmware, and proceed on and wait. The firmware update process should not take too long. It took me just about 10 minutes (I didn’t really count it actually) and the iPhone is back to factory settings WITH iOS 4.2. So the next step is then to restore the iPhone from the latest backup. Now that will take a while depending on how much you’ve filled up your iPhone. My almost filled 32GB iPhone too about 2.5 hours for the full restore including syncing of all the apps, photos and music. So be patient there. Once it’s successfully restored to iOS 4.2, you’re there already. 🙂

So there you have it. The process of updating the firmware is pretty simple. But since the official release is just around the corner, why do it now?

Here’s 5 reasons why I think you should do it now with my short usage of iOS 4.2. Well, at least I found these really useful in my daily routine.

1. Bug and stability fixes

Ok, this is a little intangible, but iOS 4.1 really felt buggy on my iPhone 3GS and it felt sluggish at many times. Apps would just crash due to bad memory management and things loads up real slow at times. It’s been suggested that iOS 4.2 fixes a lot of that issues and performance of non-iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2 has been improved. So here’s to hoping things are much better for the iPhone 3G and 3GS.

2. ICS calendar file support in Mail app

I receive quite a lot of meeting invites in my mail almost on a daily basis. So you can pretty much imagine how frustrated it is NOT being able to open up and .ics calendar file and at the very least view it. With iOS 4.2, you can can not only view it when you open the mail containing the .ics attachment, you can also add the meeting details directly into the Calendar app. This is a lifesaver for me and never needing to use my Mac just to see what the meeting details are.

3. AirPrint

Fine, AirPrint isn’t officially well supported yet due to the ‘missing’ AirPrint sharing from the PC. But if you search hard enough, there are ways to already enable it back on OSX 10.6.5. So with that, I now can print directly off the iPhone with any printer (not just AirPrint ones) as long as it’s shared via my MacBook Pro. Really cool when you just want to print that email without needing to walk over to your PC or notebook.

4. Volume Control

No one really mentions this but if you double-click the home button to access the multitasking bar and swipe the the left most panel, even after the iPod controls, you’d get a volume slider available for you to immediately control the volume. While this is generally not required, it’s a very nifty way to access it when you DO need it. One instance is such as when you’re running apps that confuses itself between the ringer volume and the actual sound volume. With apps like these, it uses the sound volume settings, but when you click on the volume buttons on the side of the iPhone, you adjust the ringer volume instead. Annoying isn’t it?

5. Bragging rights

Well, how many iPhone owners out there have theirs on iOS 4.2? I’d say not many. So having yours on iOS 4.2, even if it’s GM, somehow sets you apart from the over populated iPhone owners and puts you into an elite group of iPhone user. Oh yea!

So there you have it. iOS 4.2 GM is safe to be used now!

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