If you’re upgrading your Apple device to iOS 11, you have the option of performing the regular upgrade or performing a clean install. If you’re upgrading to a relatively new device like a 6S or iPhone 7, a regular upgrade will probably be fine.
However, on older devices, a clean install can make it run faster and more smoothly. Even on my iPhone 6S Plus, things got so much faster when I did a clean install. There are two paths you can follow when doing a clean install.
Both methods involve wiping the phone and restoring it to the latest version of iOS, which in this case would be version 11. After doing that, you can set up the phone as one. New iPhone or you can restore it from a backup. If you really want to start from scratch, you manually re-download all your apps and set everything up new. The important thing here is that you will lose all your old messages and health data, so if you want those, the choice is pretty obvious.
If you restore a backup you will get all old messages, health data, apps, downloaded music, photos if not using iCloud Photo Library etc. It is worth noting that you will only get your health data back if you restore from an iCloud backup or from an encrypted iTunes backup.
Clean install iOS 11
The first thing you will have to do is open iTunes on your PC or Mac. You cannot perform the installation directly from your iPhone or iPad. From the device itself, you can only upgrade to the latest iOS version.
Once you have iTunes open, connect your device and click the phone or tablet icon that appears at the top.
This screen will give you basic information about your phone, such as model, serial number, phone number, and more. On the right, you will see the current iOS version installed.
In my case it was version 10.3.3 which is the latest version before 11. If this is your first time connecting it, a message will say your iPhone software is up to date. Go ahead and click Check for updates button.
A notification that a new iPhone software version is available (11) will pop up. Here you want to click Download only. Do Not click Download and update as that will just update your phone to iOS 11 without formatting.
Wait for the download to complete and then click Restore iphone button. The other button should have changed to Update more than Check for updates.
If you haven’t backed up your phone, you’ll be asked if you want to back up your phone settings before it restores the software. If you plan to restore your phone afterwards, make sure to select Support.
After backup or if you click No backup, another message will appear asking you to confirm whether you want to restore and update. This means it will be restored to its factory settings and the latest iOS version will be installed.
When you click Restore and Update, the iPhone Software Update dialog box will appear showing you all the new features in iOS 11. Please read it or save it if you like. Click Next and iTunes will start downloading the update if you clicked Cancel instead of Download only in one of the previous steps or it will initiate the restore process.
You’ll also see a notification on your phone Recovering. This will take some time, so leave it at that and come back to it later. Once the restore is complete, the screen on iTunes will change to Welcome to your new iPhone Page.
That’s when you can choose one of the two paths I mentioned above. If you want the fastest possible device with the least amount of bulk, you should choose Set up like a new Iphone and download only the apps you need and set everything up from scratch. If you don’t want to spend all your time resetting everything, then you can simply choose Restore from this backup and select the backup you created just before restoring.
That’s about it. Both of these methods constitute a clean install because you’re wiping your phone and installing a fresh copy of iOS 11. Even if you restore a backup after a fresh install, your phone will still run better than if you just upgraded directly to iOS 11 on your device. If you have any questions or run into any problems, post a comment here! Interesting!