This is how to clean install iOS 14 on your iPhone and why you may want to go the extra step, especially if you are on an older iPhone.
If you are using an older iPhone that you’ve updated each year, you may want to give it a clean install and skip restoring from a backup. This can help with speed issues and other problems, and it may give you a new phone feel without upgrading to the iPhone 12.
After a few years, your iPhone may start to feel sluggish, but a clean install can give you a fresh start and extend the life of an old iPhone. If you plan to buy the iPhone 12 in October, this isn’t worth your time, but if you are keeping your old iPhone for another year or two, this is exactly what you’re looking for.
This takes longer than upgrading to iOS 14, but it can help you avoid some problems that come with an update.
How to Do a Clean iOS 14 Install
The best way to do a clean install of iOS 14 is with your Mac or PC, which will erase it, install iOS 14 and then you can set it up as a new device. You can choose to restore a backup to your iPhone after you do a clean install, but the biggest benefit is starting from scratch.
Before you start on a clean iOS 14 install, you need to make sure you have a good backup just in case you need to use it. You’ll also want to make sure that your photos are backed up to iCloud Photo Library, Google Photos, or Amazon Photo Storage. Your contacts are likely already backed up to whatever email account you use or to iCloud but double-check that. We highly recommend making sure you have a good backup, even if you plan to do a completely clean install.
- Turn Off Find My iPhone. Go to Settings -> Your Name -> iCloud -> Find My iPhone -> Off.
- Open Finder
- Plug your iPhone or iPad in.
- Trust the computer when prompted.
- Click on your iPhone in Finder
- Choose Restore iPhone…
- Click Restore when it Pops up.
This process downloads iOS 14 to the computer, erases the device, and then installs iOS 14 from scratch. The best thing to do when your phone reboots is to set up as a new device. This will require you to manually sign in to your accounts and download apps. If you prefer, this is when you can choose to restore a backup, but keep in mind this won’t be the same as doing a full-on clean install.
It is possible to do this same thing on your phone without a computer. To do this, you will need to erase your iPhone and then once you set it up, you can install iOS 14. This takes a little while longer, but it works nicely.
- Go to Settings.
- Tap on General.
- Tap on Reset.
- Tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
- When asked, enter your passcode or Apple ID.
Remember, this erases your iPhone completely, and then you need to restore or set up as a new device. Make sure your photos are backed up.
Install iOS 14.8.1 for Better Security
If security is important to you, think about installing iOS 14.8.1 right away.
The iOS 14.8.1 update brings 12 new security patches to the iPhone. You can read about all of them over on Apple's site.
If you want to better protect your iPhone and its data, you'll want to install the iOS 14.8.1 update in the near future.
If you missed iOS 14.8, you'll get its security patches with your upgrade. You can learn more about them right here.
If you missed iOS 14.7.1, you'll get its patch with your upgrade. If you want to learn more about iOS 14.7.1's security update, check out its support page.
If you missed iOS 14.7, you'll get its 31 security patches with your upgrade. You can learn more about those on Apple's website.
If you skipped iOS 14.6, you'll get the update's 38 security patches with your iOS 14.8.1 update. If you're curious about the particulars, you can read about them right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.5.1, you get the update's two security patches on board. You can read about them over on Apple's website. Both are related to WebKit.
If you missed iOS 14.5 you'll get its patches with your upgrade. You can read more about those changes over on Apple's website.
iOS 14.5 also brought Apple's new App Tracking Transparency which lets you control which apps are allowed to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites for ads or sharing with data brokers.
If you skipped iOS 14.4.2, you get its security patch with iOS 14.8.1. You can learn more about that patch over on Apple's website as well.
If you missed iOS 14.4.1, you get its patch with your upgrade to iOS 14.8.1. You can read about that patch right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.4, you get the update's patches with your upgrade. You can learn more about iOS 14.4's security patches right here.
If you skipped iOS 14.3 you'll get its nine security updates with your upgrade. You can read more about them on its security site.
iOS 14.3 also included a new privacy information section on App Store pages that includes a developer-reported summary of the app’s privacy practices.
If you skipped iOS 14.2, your iOS 14.8.1 update includes 24 additional security patches. You can learn more about the patches on Apple's security website.
If you're still running iOS 13, iOS 14.8.1 includes iOS 14.0's security updates.
iOS 14.0 brought 11 new security patches to the iPhone. If you're interested in the exact nature of these improvements, you can read about them over on Apple's website.
In addition to those patches, iOS 14 comes with some security and privacy upgrades including improvements to Home/HomeKit and Safari.
For instance in Safari, you can now tap the Privacy Report button to better understand how websites handle your privacy.
With iOS 14 on board you can now get information on the App Store that will help you understand the privacy practices of apps before you download them.
There is also a new recording indicator that will appear at the top of your screen whenever an app is using your microphone or camera. You can see if an app has used them recently in Control Center.
Researchers also discovered that Apple brought a new "BlastDoor" sandbox security system to iOS 14. The system is meant to prevent attacks from occurring via the Messages app.
You can read more about "BlastDoor" right here.
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