iOS 9 icon

Tomorrow, after months of arduous testing, the final version of iOS 9 goes live to the public. Major iOS releases are always a big deal, and as such, it’s best to plan your upgrade strategy beforehand.

If you’re jailbroken, that adds yet another level of complexity to your decision making come go-live day. In this post, I’ll show you how to properly prepare for iOS 9 regardless of whether or not you’re jailbroken.

Decide if you want to keep your jailbreak

If you’re jailbroken, now is the time to decide if wish to keep your jailbreak. If you decide to update to iOS 9, you will lose your jailbreak. Since there’s currently no jailbreak available for iOS 9, and no clear indication as to when there will be an iOS 9 jailbreak, you’re going to have to make such a decision with care.

If you want to keep your jailbreak then it’s pretty much business as usual. You won’t need to do anything come go-live time.

If you decide to update to iOS 9, you’ll need to perform a complete restore of your device. Jailbroken devices are not eligible for OTA updates via Settings → General →  Software Update.

Fresh restore versus OTA?

If you’re not currently jailbroken, you’ll have the option of updating using the OTA upgrade via Settings → General →  Software Update. While that’s certainly a valid option, I always like to perform fresh and clean restores for major iOS updates. For incremental updates like iOS 9.1, I’m totally fine with using the OTA update.

It’s not wrong to OTA update to a major version of iOS, or else Apple would never allow users to do so. But there’s something in my mind that makes me prefer to do a fresh and clean restore for major releases. It’s like starting with a clean slate, which is really nice for such a gargantuan software release like iOS 9. The choice is up to you, but I personally prefer fresh updates over OTA updates for major iOS versions.

Backup your device

Be sure to perform a backup via iTunes or via iCloud. Backups allow you to save all of your apps and data that isn’t stored in iCloud. If you decide to do a restore, the backup will allow you to safely remove your apps and data.

After the restore is complete, you’ll be asked during the initial iOS 9 setup process if you’d like to set up as a new device, or restore from backup. Choose restore from backup, and find your iCloud backup. If you backed up to iTunes instead, you can use the option for iTunes backup restores.

Even if you’re doing an OTA update, an update in which none of your data or apps should be lost, it’s good to perform a backup beforehand just to be safe. That way, in case something goes wonky during the OTA update process, you can simply perform a full restore and thereafter recover your data and apps.

If you’re already running the iOS 9 GM…

The iOS 9 public release that drops tomorrow will be the same iOS update that dropped last week. That’s right, barring any last minute changes, the GM seed of the iOS beta released to both the public and developers is the same version of iOS that will be released tomorrow.

What does this mean? That means that if you’re currently running the GM version of iOS 9, you’re already running the latest version of iOS 9. That said, you won’t receive any notifications for an update, because you already have the update.

In the future, when Apple releases iOS 9.0.1 or iOS 9.1, you’ll be able to update via Settings → General →  Software Update. Think of it as if you’re merging from the parallel running developer lane into the public lane.

Download a copy of iOS 8.4.1

If for some reason you end up despising iOS 9, or encounter any other weird circumstances that makes you want to go back to iOS 8, you should be able to downgrade back to iOS 8.4.1 for a period of time. Apple usually keeps its signing window for older firmware open for about a week, so it’s important that you downgrade as soon as possible if you decide that you wish to do so.

You can download iOS 8.4.1 from our downloads page, and you can downgrade from iOS 9 to iOS 8.4.1 by connecting to iTunes, holding the Option key, and clicking Restore. We’ll likely post a tutorial showing you how to downgrade just in case you want more help in doing so.

And that folks, are five steps that you should consider before go-live time tomorrow. Are there any other tips that you have to add to this list? If so, feel free to drop some knowledge down below in our comments section.