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iOS 5

Apple released a major update to its phone and tablet operating system earlier this month, iOS 5.0. If you connect your iPad (1 or 2), iPhone (3GS or 4) or iPod touch (3rd or 4th generation) to iTunes on your Mac or PC, you'll be able to download and update your device. We recommend you read the following notes before updating your device:

Save your Special Words data before updating

It's very unlikely, but just in case anything goes wrong doing the update, and you end up having to reinstall all your apps from scratch, we recommend exporting your personalised pictures and words from Special Words beforehand, so you can re-import them afterwards if you have to: otherwise you risk losing them. From the Word List in Special Words (the right most button in the tab bar at the bottom), tap the action button (top right), and then tap the Export Word List button. If you then select Use Email from the action sheet that pops up, you'll easily be able to send yourself your personalised data as an email attachment.

Update to the latest version of Special Words

Owing to an incompatible change in iOS 5.0, Special Words version 1.0.0 is unable to record new sounds. Version 1.0.1 of Special Words resolves this problem. If you have version 1.0.0 installed on your device, please update to the latest version.

Multitasking gestures

On the iPad, iOS 5 introduces multitasking gestures. You can pinch with 4 or 5 fingers when running an app to return to the Home Screen (the same effect as pressing the Home button), swipe up with 4 or 5 fingers to reveal the multitasking bar, and swipe left or right with them to switch between apps.

However, a young child or one with learning difficulties or poor fine motor control may inadvertently perform these gestures, and make any app they're using vanish. This can be very confusing and break their concentration or upset them.

We recommend you turn off multitasking gestures, at least when using an iPad with your child (it's not relevant on an iPhone or iPod touch, as they don't have these features). To do this, tap Apple's Settings app, tap General in the left hand pane, and tap the switch in the right hand pane next to Multitasking Gestures so it says OFF.

iCloud

Apple's new iCloud service, available with iOS 5, can store your music, photos, documents, and more and wirelessly push them to all your devices. Not all apps make use of iCloud yet, as their developers have to do some programming work and release a new version of their apps. We will be doing this in the future, but at the moment our apps don't use iCloud.

If you have more than one family member with their own device(s), sharing one iTunes account, you may want to set up a separate iCloud account for each person, otherwise you can end up with with things like calendars merged and apps you only wanted on one device automatically downloaded to others. There are some useful articles on the Internet that explain the steps you might want to follow to set up iCloud for a family, and we suggest reading them before you update your devices to iOS 5. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of articles on other web sites, but one you may find useful is here.