At some point, you will need to prepare for upgrade. We’re not talking about pilot position upgrade, but software upgrade. To clarify, there are two types of “upgrade” in the software world. One is called an update. Updates are usually minor improvements, new features or bug fixes to a current release of software and usually only increments the version number on the right side of the first decimal (version 2.5.1 vs. version 2.6.0). The other, called upgrade, usually refers to a brand new release of software often containing a large number of new features, new user interface and usually a version number change (ie version 2.5.1 vs. version 3.0.0)

Anytime you have an update or upgrade there are some simple steps you should take to prepare for the transition. Let’s face it, not always do things go perfectly on any given flight. Well the same is true with computers and software.

1. Backup to iTunes. Often. Remember, that under the current production version of iOS software on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, the only backup is if you connect your device to iTunes and back it up there.

2. Backup your Mac data. No hard drive is good forever. Make sure you have at least some kind of backup solution for your Mac. We love Dropbox because you can revert easily should something unexpected happen.

3. Sync between devices. If you have been out flying and making updates on your iOS device, make sure you sync that to your Mac (or other iOS) device before updating any software. This may mean you have to delay an automatic update first before getting the devices synced.

4. Ok, now you can update or upgrade. To be safe, make sure you take care of steps 1-3 before doing any update or any upgrade with software. This will ensure that your precious flight log data remains accurate and intact. Another way to think of this, is that a pilot flies an instrument approach only after preparing and briefing that approach. Think of updates/upgrades the same way – prepare ahead of time and chances are, it’s a much smoother operation!