Will You Lose Your iPad Data or Apps If You Upgrade?

Whether you upgrade your entire device or just your iOS, you should be okay

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If you are upgrading your iPad, don't worry. Not only will you be able to keep all of the apps and data, Apple actually makes the process quite easy.

This isn't a Windows PC where an upgrade to a new PC or even an update to the operating system could result in hours spent trying to get everything just right. However, you will want to make sure you follow the proper steps for upgrading your iPad.

The first and most important step in upgrading your iPad is to perform a backup of your device. This is especially true when purchasing a new iPad, but it shouldn't be ignored when updating to a new version of the operating system. 

While most updates go smoothly, any time there is a change to the operating system of a device, there is a chance things won't go so smoothly. The fail-safe to something happening during an update is restoring the iPad to its factory default state, which isn't a major issue so long as you have that backup. 

You can perform a manual backup by opening the iPad's settings app. Scroll down the left-side menu and tap iCloud to bring up the appropriate settings page. In the iCloud Settings, choose Backup and then tap the "Back Up Now" link on the resulting page.

If You Are Upgrading to a New iPad

You may be surprised at just how easy it is to upgrade to a brand new iPad and keep all of your data and apps. The most important step is performing the backup on your previous device.

When you are going through the steps of setting up your new iPad for the first time, you will be offered the option of restoring your apps and data from an iCloud backup. Choosing this option will present you with a list of valid backup files. Simply choose the latest backup and continue through the setup process.

The apps stored on your old iPad are not kept in the backup file. When you restore from a backup, the process includes a list of the apps you have downloaded from the App Store and downloads them again once the initial setup process is completed. This means you won't be able to immediately launch certain apps after you get through the last step of initializing your new iPad. And depending on the number of apps you had on your old one, it could take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more to download all of the apps. However, you are free to use your iPad during this time.  

Do you even need to restore your old iPad? A surprising amount of data is kept in iCloud no matter if you restore from a backup or not. For example, if you choose not to use a backup, you will still have access to all of your contacts. And if you have iCloud turned on for your calendar and notes, you'll still have all of the data from these apps.

If You Are Upgrading Your iPad's Operating System

Apple releases upgrades to iOS on a regular basis, and it is always a good idea to keep your iPad running the latest and greatest version. Not only does this help provide a bug-free experience with your iPad, but it also makes sure that any security holes found in the operating system have been fixed.

The upgrade process itself should not wipe out the data or applications, but as mentioned earlier, it is still important to back up your iPad. You can upgrade to the latest version of the operating system by going into the iPad's settings, choosing General settings and choosing Software Update. You will need to be connected to your Wi-Fi network to perform the upgrade, and if your iPad is below 50 percent power, you will want to plug it into a power source.

After The Update 

One annoying fact about upgrading is that some settings can get flipped back to their default setting. This is more annoying with the iCloud Photo Library settings. So after the update is complete, go into the settings, choose iCloud and then tap on Photos to double check your settings. My Photo Stream will upload all of the pictures taken to all of your devices, which sounds nice in theory but can sometimes be awkward in practice.