For Canon EOS cameras the firmware update can do many things to change the functions and operation of a camera, it cannot add functions that require changes in the camera hardware.
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Canon firmware updates come in the form of a firmware image file with the extension . You can dowload a compressed file from Canon and expand it on your computer.
Often there will be a PDF with specific instructions for your camera and firmware included in the compressed file along with the firmware.
Other firmware updates have been made available for GPS receivers, Wi Fi transmitters (WFT / Wireless File Transmitters) and also for certain lenses.
There are two kinds of compressed files for the firmware update according to your computer's operating system (Windows, Mac OS X).