iOS Unboxing Experience

Thanks to iCloud backup, Time Machine and Migration Assistant moving from an old or defective Apple device to a new one is a smooth experience for most users these days.
If you have a recent backup (and you should), getting a new device up and running can basically be described as a three step process:

  • Connect to the internet
  • Restore an existing backup
  • Expect to enter a bunch of passwords

Yes, there are a few more screens you need to pass in order to get to your desktop or springboard but none of them are that complicated to answer.


So when I needed to get a new iPad up and running today, I expected the experience to take me only a few minutes of active work.
And it would have been only a few minutes were it not for the fact that my previous device was running 8.1.2, and the new device came, ironically, with iOS 8.1, which means I could not restore my iCloud backup to the device.

Apple’s easy solution? Update the device and try again. Or in other words: skip all setup screens until you get to the springboard, update the device via OTA updates, then do a factory reset from within settings and restart the setup process. Hardly automatic and it takes a while.

A Solution

Less is more is a great philosophy, but I’d like Apple to add one more screen to their setup process: update the system.

  • Connect to the internet
  • Update iOS
  • Restore an existing backup
  • Enter a bunch of passwords

This way every user starts with a device that’s up to date, less prone to bugs, and it’s compatible with any backup.
It’s annoying for users who want to unwrap their device and get it online as fast as possible, but that’s why they invented the skip button.


There’s also a second annoyance: passwords.
We have iCloud keychain. They even ask you to enabling it during the restore process. So why do I need to enter passwords for mail/Facebook/iMDB, basically any app I use after an iPad restore? Shouldn’t these passwords be stored in the keychain?

I can understand why these passwords aren’t stored in a backup, and aren’t copied over when your backup is restored. But why doesn’t iOS store those passwords in the iCloud Keychain? Currently I’ve got the idea that it only contains Safari Passwords, credit cards and wi-fi passwords.

It’s annoying. Especially for a user with unique and complex passwords for every service.

The Good

iOS 8 finally uses Caching Server when restoring apps. Which means apps are downloaded FAST. Faster than I can keep up entering my credentials in every app after it’s installed.

iCloud data and App installed seem to running on separate threads these days. Which means the restore process doesn’t lock up while it’s downloading tons of photos and documents anymore like it used to do. Great!