Later today, Apple will be releasing iOS 7 to everyone. Here's a list of things you need to know and do to get ready for today's upgrade.
1. iOS 7 is a major user interface/user experience overhaul. While much of iOS will work the same as it always has, all of the graphical elements of the OS have been changed. Your iDevice will look different after this upgrade.
2. Update and upgrade your apps before upgrading to iOS 7. This step is important to ensure the best experience with iOS 7 and software compatibility.
2a. Upgrade to the latest release of iTunes for Mac OS X or Windows either by using the Mac App Store, the Apple Software Update control panel on Windows PCs, or using the download link on the Apple iTunes page.
2b. Upgrade your iOS apps.
Over the past month there has been a steady stream (read: a monsoon-like flood) of app updates from both Apple and third-party developers. These updates range from minor compatibly updates to major application upgrades to take advantage of the many new features in iOS 7. Install all of your iOS app updates to get the best possible experience today. Also, keep in mind that some third-party application developers will be releasing their iOS 7 compatible software as a completely new application, which, will require you to repurchase the software title. This may not seem fair after we have gotten use to free software upgrades. App developers need to eat too and they have been working hard to make the best possible application for us. Repurchasing their great software is a small price to pay.
3. Backup your iDevice BEFORE you upgrade.
I can't stress this point enough. Luck favors the prepared and it is in your best interest to do this step before downloading and installing iOS 7 on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch you rely on everyday. The last time I upgraded my everyday iPhone to a new version of iOS without backing up first was the first time that the upgrade failed and I had to hard reset my phone. Luckily, I only lost a few unimportant text messages, but it could have been worse.
3a. The easiest way to back up your iDevice if you are on a good Wi-Fi network is to use the iCloud backup feature. Navigate to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup and tap the "Back Up Now" button.
3b. If you prefer to backup to iTunes on your local Mac or PC, then launch iTunes and then connect your iDevice via the provided charge and sync cable. Your iOS device will be automatically backed up.
4. Plugin and charge your iDevice before starting the upgrade. If possible, leave the charging cable connected for the entire duration of the upgrade process.
5. Upgrade your iOS device to iOS 7.
5a. The easiest way to upgrade to iOS 7 is to use the over-the-air, or OTA, method. Navigate to Settings > General > Software Update. When your device is ready to upgrade, you will see the upgrade now message.
5b. Again, if you are a "I want to use iTunes" person, make sure you've upgraded to the latest version of iTunes before starting. Then connect your iDevice to your Mac or PC via the provided charge and sync cable. You will be prompted to upgrade to iOS 7. After the upgrade package downloads, the upgrade process on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch will begin.
Important Things to Keep in Mind
The iOS 7 upgrade process is one way! You will not be able to (easily) downgrade back to iOS 6. If you aren't sure you are ready of the new look and feel of iOS 7 it is probably a good idea to wait until you can get down to an Apple Store and play with a demo unit with iOS 7 on it first.
iOS 7.0 is a major redesign of iOS 7. While there has been a rigorous beta test period where Apple and third-party developers have been testing and resolving bugs in the system there will still be problems here and there. If you are the type who doesn't like "adventure" while using your iDevice will probably want to wait a few weeks for iOS 7.01. and 7.0.2 to be released. Apple is already testing those maintenance updates to iOS 7. I expect them to be released over the next 2-4 weeks, leading into the iPad event rumored to be October 15, which is when I expect Apple to release iOS 7.1.
If you are installing iOS 7 on an iPhone or iPad that has been issued to you by your company's IT department, you will want to hold off upgrading until they have had a chance to test the new software with the existing software and back end servers to ensure that you have a good experience.
I hope you found this guide helpful and enjoy iOS 7 later today!