In many ways, the release of the iPad's iOS 4.2.1 operating system in November 2010 was a bigger upgrade for iPad users than the iPad 2's release in March 2011. The iPad 4.x operating system introduced multitasking, folders and enhanced email among many other features.
By way of comparison, the iPad 2's main features include faster processing and graphics speed, dual camera support and the ability to get 1080p video out to an HDTV via the Apple Digital AV Adapter.
What Features Were Included With iOS 4?
- Multitasking. No doubt the most anticipated feature, multitasking support on iOS is not 'true' multitasking support. Rather than allow the app to continue uninterrupted processing in the background, iOS limits background apps to a few specific processes, such as the ability to continue playing music. This allows iPad apps to utilize certain tasks in the background without being a major drain on memory and processing power.
- Folders. The new version of iOS also allows you to organize your apps into folders. This is great for those who had page after page filled with icons. Learn how to create folders on the iPad.
- AirPlay. Do you have Apple TV? AirPlay allows the iPad to talk to Apple TV, allowing you to send your videos or pictures to your big screen TV. AirPlay also works with AirPlay-enabled HDTVs and AirPlay-enabled speakers.
- Printing. Another huge feature in the iOS 4 update was the ability to print from your iPad. AirPrint works with AirPrint-enabled printers available from HP.
- Enhanced Email. iOS 4 introduced a host of new email features, including a unified inbox and threaded email discussions. The iPad now supports multiple ActiveSync accounts, which is good news for those with multiple Microsoft Exchange accounts.
- FaceTime. The iOS 4.3 update was designed to bring key features specific to the iPad 2 as well as a nice upgrade for the original iPad. With the inclusion of dual cameras on the iPad 2, the operating system now supports FaceTime.
- Home Sharing. As a part of iOS 4.3, the iPad now supports enhanced home sharing. This allows you to stream your movies and music from your PC/Mac to your iPad without taking up precious storage space on your tablet. Learn How To Use Home Sharing.
How much does iOS 4 cost? How can I upgrade to iOS 4?
Apple does not charge for updates to the iPad's operating system. When you plug your iPad into your computer and launch iTunes, you will be prompted to update to the newest version of the operating system. You can also click on your iPad in iTunes and click the "Check For Updates" button to make sure you are on the most recent version.
Do I need a PC or Mac to upgrade iOS?
Yes. Similar to setting up the iPad for first time use, you will need to plug your iPad into a computer with iTunes installed on it in order to upgrade the operating system.
Can I upgrade my iPad's operating system if it is jailbroken?
If you have a jailbroken iPad, it is always advisable to restore the iPad to factory default settings before upgrading to a new version of the operating system. It is also important not to restore from a backup. You will want to restore it to the factory settings and then sync your apps after you've updated the operating system.