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Apple's iOS 4 ships today for newer iPhones, iPod Touches

Sometime in the next few hours, Apple should ship the software update for 2008-or-newer models of its iPhone and iPod Touch that debuted in April as "iPhone OS 4.0," then renamed last month to "iOS 4."

(1:21 p.m.: According to multiple reports and one phone call from a friend, the update is now available, with download sizes ranging from 315 to 579 megabytes, depending on your model of iPhone or iPod Touch.)

For those who own the most recent eligible hardware--the 2009-vintage iPhone 3GS or 32- and 64-gigabyte iPod Touch models that began shipping late last year--the big reward will be multitasking, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. While iOS 4 still won't allow third-party programs to run alongside each other and Apple's own programs, it will invite updated versions of them to hand off common background tasks--such as music playback, tracking your location, waiting for an incoming message or Internet phone call, finishing a file upload or download, or saving their current state--to the operating system before suspending their activity.

That's a little less than what some other smartphone platforms allow--or what I've seen jailbroken iPhones do--but it's likely to be good enough in practice.

Apple's upgrade will also let users group applications into onscreen folders; offer a "universal inbox" view of e-mail in all of their accounts; and shop at and read electronic books downloaded from the iBooks store that debuted on its iPad this spring.

As with multitasking, some iOS 4 features--for instance, setting custom screen wallpaper and connecting Bluetooth wireless keyboards--won't work on the iPhone 3G or most iPod Touch models. (Note that this time around, Apple isn't charging Touch owners for this update.)

Apple has its own summaries of what iOS 4 brings to the iPhone and the iPod touch; for more detail, see AppleInsider's breakdown of the changes. Over at MobileCrunch, John Biggs offers some sage advice about this update and the Apple upgrade cycle in general.

On that note, if you own an iPhone, you might want to resist the temptation to upgrade to iOS 4 as soon as possible. Last summer, some early adopters of iPhone OS 3.0 found they couldn't reactivate their phones on AT&T's network after installing the update, leaving them restricted to emergency calls and WiFi Internet access. Considering the odds of history repeating itself, it might be wiser to suffer the indignity of running older iPhone software for an extra day.

If, however, you do plunge ahead--please, tell me how it goes in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  June 21, 2010; 10:29 AM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Mobile  
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At 12:59pm EST I was able to download the update.

My iPhone 3GS 16GB updated without issue.

I'm using the new features and all I have to say is; GREAT JOB APPLE!!!!!

For my use, this iOS update answered any woes I had with my phone.

Posted by: robbiebit | June 21, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if iOS 4 activates the 802.11n Wi-Fi chip in iPod Touch? How about the FM transmitter or radio?

There's a lot of attention paid to the iPhone but the Touch seems to get slighted.

Posted by: jgllo | June 21, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I just installed the update on my 32 GB 3GS. Looks OK to me. I tried making a phone call and it went through so I don't see any network issues. So far, so good!

Posted by: PeterCavan | June 21, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Restoring my ipod touch. Had to update iTunes first, and then it complained that the backup session didn't work. I unplugged and then plugged back in and it seemed to sync okay with all my music and apps coming back. It does complain that it can't "start a session" with the ipod in order to do a backup.

I did note that there is no update for the ipad.

Posted by: mikem1 | June 21, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Hmm... "with download sizes ranging from 315 to 579 megabytes", how many people will be dinged for extra data usage after AT&T discontinues its "unlimited" plan and makes available a 200MB plan?

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | June 21, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The download of iOS4 would not count against your AT&T total since you are doing the download on the computer and not via the 3G network.

Posted by: ramblinknight | June 21, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

iPhone 3GS 32GB - Officially unlocked by Apple - T-Mobile Network

I just upgraded to iOS4. So far so good (crossing my fingers). I've already used 5 of my TOP 10 apps I use on a daily basis without any problems. No sluggishness that I can report.

I like the "universal mailbox," however, I think this wallpaper thing is an issue for me. I personally think it's UGLY. It isn't aesthetically pleasing in my opinion. I'm leaving the background black for now.

Posted by: iPhonetificator | June 21, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I just updated my 3G for the iOS4 and lost all my music. I disconnected my iPhone, shut down iTunes, reconnected my phone and logged into iTunes hoping my music would magically reappear. No luck. I'm waiting for a service tech to call me back. Anyone else with this problem?

Posted by: cgunzel | June 21, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

It took a bit over one hour, but the update installed flawlessly on my iPhone 3G. The Clock, Calculator, and Voice Memos apps grouped themselves in a new Utilities folder spontaneously--I didn't set that up myself. Is this supposed to happen?

Posted by: RobertWeinstock | June 21, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

iOS? Apple runs out of iWords (:- I'm certain Cisco's lawyers will talk to Apple!

Posted by: TheDoctor1 | June 21, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I think I'll wait a day or two to brick my Iphone like the update to 3.1.

Posted by: AJohn1 | June 21, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Lost all music, and all but 16 pix. Wasn't expecting that. Odd though, that of the 150 pix, I had... some I took yesterday were there, others were 2 yrs old.

Reloading all my music. Haven't checked anything else yet. Started at 1:00pm... now almost 5pm.

Posted by: dvitous | June 21, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

To those who "lost" music and pictures. iTunes automatically does a backup before each sync and especially with OS updates/upgrades. just go to your backup and restore it. If you skipped the backup, you're out of luck.

Posted by: robbiebit | June 21, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Friend at work with a 3G updated with NO problems. I'm syncing right now and then will start the upgrade process on 3Gs 32GB. Not expecting problems, but did the pre-upgrade sync just in case.

Posted by: LBinVA | June 21, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: robbiebit | June 21, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

To TheDoctor1; Cisco has already granted Apple permissions to use the iOS moniker:

Posted by: wendyimhome | June 21, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Had an odd experience -- download & upgrade went fine. All functions seemed fine. Then, I downloaded a small CD album from the phone. Afterward, I couldn't use the iPod function. Went into iPod multiple times and kept getting kicked out. Restarted multiple times. Hooked up to iTunes, transferred the new music to iTunes. Synced. Everything is fine now. ODD.

Posted by: LBinVA | June 21, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

The first time I synced my phone, no contacts or calendar events came through. I tried again, and about 1/3rd of each came through. After 4 or 5 times of syncing, everything came through. Not sure why this was happening.

Posted by: gumball83 | June 22, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

have a 16GB 3Gs, and it worked fine, no issues so far! Loving the universal inbox!

Posted by: bolevar2382 | June 22, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

the iphone is overrated ... there are alot of much better faster, sleeker phones out there

Posted by: antikceo | June 22, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

i think i iphones are overrated .. there are a lot of faster, sleeker phones. Saw this interesting article

Posted by: antikceo | June 22, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

my bad ... sorry for double posting

Posted by: antikceo | June 22, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Uploaded iOS4 with only one glitch, no Maps function. It's off and faded out with no ability to turn it back on. So all location based apps are inop. Could be worse but, this is still anoying...

Posted by: Batman56 | June 22, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Upgraded to iOS4 last night. Went reasonably well, but took most of
night. Started at 6:20, but got a call about 7 that seemed to interrupt the
process. Started again at 8. Backup of current phone config (contacts, apps, msgs,
etc.) and install of new OS went well and took about 1 3/4 hours. Restore of phone
config got most of way through then dropped out. Tried it again and it worked fine the second time. Everything restored OK except for music, but that's because I manually manage that. Also decided there's no point in restoring music since I expect to be going to a 4G phone in a few days. Finished about 11:45. Differences? Other than a few cosmetic changes in a few of the built-in apps, nothing jumps out so far, but I have testing to do.

Posted by: swabbb | June 22, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I downloaded the next system without incident for use on my 2 year old iPhone. It worked ok for the first few hours, but recently I've had many e-mails come in that say they were not downloaded from the server and I have no idea how to tickle it into doing that. I don't remember having that difficulty before. It is severely limiting. And sounds suspiciously like the difficulty you described -- which, of course, I ignored and plunged ahead!

Posted by: 2pdl | June 23, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

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