You must back up your iPhone and iPad before upgrading to Apple’s iOS 10.3, due soon

“Apple is expected to release the iOS 10.3 update before the month is out, and it’s vital that you have an effective backup mechanism in place for your iPhone before you upgrade,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet.

“iOS 10.3 sounds like a minor update, but it actually contains a pretty big change,” . “Apple is using this update to change the file system that iPhones and iPads use from the 30-year-old HFS+ file format to the new Apple File System.”

Kingsley-Hughes writes, “When iOS 10.3 is installed, every file stored on the device will be converted from the old format to the new format.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: While you should definitely back up all of your computing devices before updating operating systems, this one is of particular importance. Remember: Better safe than sorry! Mac users should bang out local and cloud backups of their iOS devices via iTunes at regular intervals and certainly now before iOS 10.3 with APFS drops.

Apple’s iOS 10.3: A very, very important upgrade – January 25, 2017
APFS: What Apple’s new Apple File System means to you – June 24, 2016
APFS: New Apple File System promises more speed, flexibility, reliability – June 17, 2016
The feds’ll hate this: Apple’s new APFS file system ‘engineered with encryption as a primary feature’ – June 14, 2016
Buh-bye HFS+, hello APFS (Apple File System) for macOS! – June 14, 2016
Apple can do better than Sun’s ZFS – October 26, 2009
Apple discontinues ZFS project, turns attention to own next-gen file system – October 24, 2009
Apple’s Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server’s ZFS goes MIA – June 9, 2009


    1. You shouldn’t need to use the backup. It’s called backup for a reason. It’s in case something goes wrong. If nothing goes wrong, then you don’t need it. I think you’re confused.

    2. It worked fine for him, but that doesn’t mean it’ll work perfectly for everyone else. A filesystem change is a huge thing. When you change the filesystem, you’re reformatting the entire drive, which means everything on it is going to be erased. Now, this guy may have backed up his iPhone to his Mac and had his Mac peform the update, and then iTunes just migrated everything back over from the backup once it finished the iOS upgrade, and that you could run into problems if you just do an OTA update. It’s also possible that Apple could have some kind of safeguards in place where all of your data will be downloaded back to your iPhone once the update completes. But we really don’t know what kind of safeguards Apple has in place, or if they’ll work every time. Either way, it’s best not to take chances.

    3. I think @ericdano is interpreting the title of the article differently than the rest of us. It seems he thinks the update forces you to do a backup before running the update. The rest of us are interpreting the title as the backup being an imperative for your own safety so you don’t lose all your information before running the update.

    4. Likewise. The update went off without a hitch.
      Besides, it’s just a phone. There are no important files on it.

      Maybe millennials like squinting at docs on iOS, but I’ll take a real computer any day.

      Sent from my iPad Pro, no replacement for any Macintosh.

  1. I’ve always run the public betas on my most current iPad, now the iPad Pro 12.9″ model. I do report problems, but they have been mostly minor. I installed 10.3 as soon as the beta came out with no fanfair. You should always make an encrypted backup before doing this, even though Apple’s public beta are close to production quality – just in case. Think if it as insurance you may never need to use, but if you do, you’ll be happy you have it.

    I haven’t noticed any real change in the way the device works, or speed ups, or slowdowns. I don’t usually track that, so I’ve not measured anything, just a feeling. But nothing negative that would stop its use. It’s possible the NAND subsystem is more efficient, as that’s a major part of the new file system APFS. But some apps won’t work after a time because their developers may have abandoned them, and won’t do the needed update to 64 bits. Be prepared for that. You may need to look at other apps if you get Apple’s warnings about some of them. Don’t wait until the app stops working.

  2. No issues at all with running through all betas of 10.3 on my iPad Pro, iPhone 5, 4s, and my main phone iPhone 6. While backup is always recommended…it is absolutely not required for this or any iOS update. If you needed to would likely have more issues and have to start fresh anyway…

  3. “Kingsley-Hughes writes, “When iOS 10.3 is installed, every file stored on the device will be converted from the old format to the new format.”

    Kingsley-Hughes is wrong. File formats don’t change when the disk format does.

  4. Will iOS 10.3 still be compatible with older Mac OS X versions OR will my iPad Pro, like my Mac, be forever tied to iOS 10.1.1.
    I am running OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks and can’t upgrade the OS because I still use quite a bit of older, legacy software.

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