Apple’s iOS 8 is finally here, it just launched right before 1:00 p.m. EST. You can install it on your iPhone 4s or newer, or your second-generation iPad or newer, though we’re not quite sure how well it’s going to run on those older devices. If you want to get up to date on the latest and greatest mobile software that Apple has to offer, which is exactly what iOS 8 is, then here’s how.

1. Back up your device


We can’t stress this enough: back up your current iOS device. You’ll want to make sure you have a recent save to iCloud, if your iOS product has that automatically enabled, or that you’ve backed it up manually to iTunes using your PC or OS X computer. To back-up in iTunes, simply plug your device in, select it, and then under “Summary,” choose “Back up now.

Here’s how to back-up with iCloud:

  • Tap Settings
  • Choose iCloud
  • Choose Storage and Backup
  • Select “Back Up Now.”

2. Free Up Space


iOS 8 requires a lot of space to download and install. In fact, we’ve noticed that you’ll need between 5-7GB of free space before you can even get started installing the update. We needed 6.9GB on our iPad, for example. That’s a lot and you may need to delete apps, photos and videos. We suggest starting with apps, because they’re the easiest to replace when you reload them on your device. Reminder: your saved spot inside games might not carry over! Once you’ve freed up about 6GB of space on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, move forward to the next step.

3. Check for an update.


Now that you’re all backed up it’s time to actually search for the iOS 8 update. Again, this can be applied easily over-the-air. Apple’s servers are slammed today so you might have to try several times. Once your device has recognize iOS 8 is available, however, it’s smooth cruising from there. Here’s what you need to do:

  • This is easy, just head into your device’s settings panel and tap “General.”
  • Then tap “Software Update.”
  • Your device will begin looking for updates.

You can also manually check from iTunes, which is another option if you can’t apply the update over-the-air. Here’s how:

  • Plug your device into your computer using a Lightning cable for newer devices, or the 30-pin connector for the older ones.
  • Open iTunes and select your device.
  • Tap “Summary” on the left panel.
  • Choose “Check for Update.”

4. Wait


Once the update has downloaded your device is going to move through the appropriate steps to install it. That means waiting and, sometimes, lots of it. We sat around watching our iPad say “preparing update” for quite a while before the update finally patched. Fear not about this process, however. It just takes time.

5. Enjoy iOS 8

That’s it! iOS 8 should be fully installed after you’ve downloaded the update and waited for the device to update. Now you can start exploring its new features, like support for third-party keyboards in addition to a brand new keyboard of its own, new actionable notifications, fresh iMessage features for voice and location and so much more.