Mobile // Mobile Devices
09:48 AM

Review: iPhone 3G Software Is A Sweet Upgrade

We put the Apple's iPhone 2.0 software through its paces, along with a half-dozen top apps. Despite a couple of bugs, the new software makes a great phone even better and gives first-generation iPhones and the iPod Touch an extreme gadget makeover.

iPhone enthusiasts got a nice surprise from a day before its official release. The site posted a link and instructions to download and install iPhone 2.0 software. That gave impatient fanatics a chance to play around with the software and see what it looks like in advance.

The iPhone 2.0 software is the biggest update since the iPhone shipped 13 months ago. The biggest change: The iPhone and iPod Touch get the ability to run sanctioned third-party apps, which can be downloaded either from the iPhone itself or from iTunes. Apple also added a couple of little tweaks to the iPhone's other capabilities that will appeal to power-users.

All in all, it's pretty sweet.

The easiest way to get the iPhone 2.0 software is just buy an iPhone 3G or new iPod Touch, and the iPhone 2.0 software comes pre-installed. The software as also available via an automatic update through iTunes. It's free to iPhone users, and $9.95 for users of first-generation iPod Touch.

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Before upgrading, though, be sure data is backed up, because the upgrade completely wipes all the data off the device being upgraded -- address book, calendar, bookmarks, music, videos, everything. The desktop iTunes software will think it's working with a new iPhone, and will ask whether you want to back up from an existing configuration or start fresh. Of course, you want to choose to re-install the backup.

I followed the instructions on the MacRumors site, and my iPhone updated to the iPhone 2.0 software in about 15 minutes, as recorded for posterity on Twitter in this message at the start of the process and this message when it was done.

iTunes required about 50 minutes to restore all my data to my iPhone. The address book, calendar, bookmarks, and other information took only a couple of minutes; the bulk of the time was spent restoring more than 900 audio tracks. But the process is painless; you can leave your iPhone entirely unattended while it's going on, and continue to work on your computer normally while the update is happening in the background.

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