How to Update iPhone

In this article, I’m going to show you how to update your iPhone and iPad properly. This will show you how to update your iOS device using your iPhone and your computer. I will also show you all the requirements you need for an update and what to do if you don’t have these requirements.

So the first thing you need to know is the different models that are supported for the latest iOS update for the iPhone devices which is iOS 11.

List of iOS devices compatible with iOS 11

How to Backup all your iPhone and iPad devices Before Update

The first thing you need to do is to make sure that you’ve actually backed up of all your different iOS devices. So if you have an iPad or an iPhone that you want to update, you need to back them up using either iTunes or iCloud. If you’re going to use iTunes here are the steps: (bear in mind these steps can be applied to iPads and iPods)

  • The first thing you want to do is to launch iTunes on your computer
  • Then you’re going to plug in your iPhone into your computer and let the computer recognise your device
  • You will see in the upper left-hand corner that your computer will have recognised your iPhone and that your iPhone is plugged in
  • Go ahead and select your iPhone (you’ll then be given the information specific about your iOS device)
  • Select “back up to this computer” over in the manual backup and restore, then select “back up now”

Tip: I recommend you always do a backup right before you swap devices. That way you’ve got the most current data backed up to your computer.

A status bar should be moving across the top of the screen and the more data you have on that device, the slower the status bar will move. Especially when your iPhone is on 64 plus GB, these can take a lot longer. Honestly, this can take sometimes up to 10 even 15 minutes and potentially a bit longer, so just be patient when you’re backing up to your computer.

Once this is done, iTunes will give you a time and date when your device was last updated. You can now unplug your iPhone. For small iOS updates such as .1 to .2, I would only recommend backing up using iCloud as it saves a lot more time and it’s really convenient for updates.

Here are the steps:

  • Go to settings and select your name at the top
  • Scroll down to iCloud back up and hit “back up now”

Settings on iPhoneName on the iPhoneiCloud backup in settingsBackup now in settings

This will tell you the last time you backed up. On mine, it says 23:53 on the 3rd of Feb so I don’t need to back it up anytime soon. If you haven’t, just make sure you’ve got enough battery and you’re using Wi-Fi. Once it’s done, you’re good to go and then you’ll be safe to actually update your current iOS version.

I highly recommend having a backup in place just in case something fails, it doesn’t often fail but sometimes it will.

Make sure you have Enough Storage Space

The next thing you need to be aware of is how much space you’re using on your iPhone. So, in this case, you’ll need 1 to 1.5 GB in order to install the update, this needs to be available data.

You can do this by:

  • Going to settings
  • Once you’re in settings go to general
  • Select storage and then iCloud usage

iPhone settingsChecking the iPhone storage in settingsiPhone storage in settings

Here it tells you how much storage you have available. So in my case, I haven’t got much storage left. Now if you don’t have enough storage,

here’s what you do:

  • In settings, go to general
  • Select “iPhone Storage”

Here it tells you what’s using the most amount of data. So if there’s something here that you don’t need, you can click the app and delete it at the bottom.

One of the number one things that use your data is usually iMessage.

In order to delete some messages, here’s what you do:

  • In settings, you can click messages
  • Once you’re here, go to message history
  • Select the “keep messages button”

From here, you can change how long the messages are stored for.

If you have “forever” on and you don’t have a lot of storage, you may want to change that to 30 days or a year. Just keep in mind anything older than that will be deleted. So you need to keep that in mind and if you’re ok with it, change it.

You’ll get a confirmation message which will ask you to confirm your decision. This will usually free up a lot a lot of storage for most people. Once you get your backup completed and you know that you have enough storage available to actually do the update, there’s one more thing to check out for.

The next thing you need to do is to make sure that your battery is at least on 50% or that you have a charger nearby. If you have problems with your battery, there are many ways to extend its life. If it’s not on 50% or more, you’re not going to be able to install the update until it’s at 50% or more unless it’s plugged in so just keep that in mind.

How to Update your iPhone and iPad in the Settings app

To update your iPhone and iPad:

  • Go on the settings
  • Navigate to general and then click “software update
  • Now just go ahead and hit “Download and install” and it will install

iPhone settingsiPhone general in iPhone settingsUpdate settings in general

As you can see I also need to update my device to a newer iOS version. Now once it’s installing, your iPhone will be unavailable for the time that it takes to install. Make sure that you’re not in a situation where you need your phone right away, and if you are, wait until later to install it.

Once the update is installed on your device, you’ll have all the benefits of the new feature and the security updates and things like that. This entire update is quite large and from the point of downloading, to the point of installation, it might take as little as 20 minutes or maybe even up to an hour.

Just be patient, there are a lot of changes that are being made in the background. If you’re the type of person to get nervous, please do not hard reset your device and definitely make sure it’s plugged into power so it doesn’t shut down during the update. So this is an easy way to update to iOS 11.

How to update your iPhone through your Mac or Windows PC

Here’s what you do:

  • Make sure your computer has a good internet connection
  • Open iTunes and connect your phone with a USB cable with the laptop (you should use the cable that’s included with your charger)
  • When your iPhone is connected to your computer and you’re on iTunes, click on the device icon on the top left
  • On here click “check for updates”
  • Now you have two options, you can download and update from here, or you can only download the new version and update it later
  • So here you should click on “download” (make sure you don’t disconnect your phone from the computer)
  • Agree to the terms and conditions that Apple gives you It will start downloading

Updating to iOS requires about 1 to 1.5 GB so this will take up to 30 minutes. iTunes will tell you that it’s preparing your iPhone for an update.

Make sure you don’t disconnect your iPhone. iTunes will then tell you your iPhone has been updated and it’s restarting. It will appear in the iTunes window after it restarts. So don’t disconnect your phone. After restarting, go to iTunes and click on your device icon. Look to see if it tells you the current iOS version. This means your iPhone software is up to date.

How to Downgrade from your Current iOS Version

If you installed a recent iOS version on your iPhone and it was just too buggy for you, or it’s too laggy or anything like that, I’m going to show you the steps on how to downgrade from a current version you don’t like.

This is actually going to work for any of the betas that you want to downgrade to.

Here’s what you want to if you’re going to downgrade iOS versions:

  • You want to check the current version you’re on and you can do this by going to settings, then general, then about
  • Make sure your device is plugged into your Mac or Windows PC
  • You want to make sure Find My iPhone is turned off. You can do that by going on iCloud then toggling off “Find My iPhone”
  • The next thing you want to do is download the IPSW that you’re downgrading to
  • On the website, you can download the last version that Apple had
  • Click on the link and it will start to download
  • Make sure you save it in a folder you can refer to because you’re actually going to point it to your device shortly
  • So once you’ve downloaded the IPSW that you need for your particular device, all you want to do is launch iTunes on your computer
  • Click on the device icon and it will bring up information about your phone
  • At this point, you’ll see that you have two buttons which will say “check for update” and “restore iPhone”
  • You’re actually going to click the “check for update” button

In order to do this on a Mac, you need to hold down the option key and click “check for update”. This allows you to point it to the ISPW. If you’re on Windows PC, hold down the shift button and click “check for update”. You can see that it launches a finder window. So you need to use this in order to point it to the ISPW to the version you want to downgrade to. Find where you saved the IPSW and double-click.

It says it will update your iPhone to the version you want to downgrade it to. Now you can go ahead and click on update. It should go ahead and downgrade your device back to the old iOS version you want it to.

After this, you can see a pop up that says your iPhone has updates. You should now go ahead and complete the downgrading process completely. On your iPhone, click trust computer and continue. After this, you will notice that you’ll be back to the iOS version you wanted. If you want to make sure the downgrade worked, go to settings, general, about and you can see the iOS version your iPhone is on.

How to download an iOS beta to your iPhone or iPad

If you don’t want to wait for an update that’s about to be released, you can download a beta version instead of downloading the golden master version or the gm version which is considered as the final version of an iOS firmware.

You might be seeing a tiny patch before the official update.

So to get a beta version on your iPhone, here’s what you do:

  • You need to make sure your iPhone is connected to the internet, It should be on Wi-Fi in order to download the beta version

If you look at the information about your iPhone you’ll be on the latest version and there will be no new update.

  • So in order to download the beta version, open Safari and make sure you use Safari as it won’t work on Chrome or in another browser
  • After that, go to Once you’re there look for the signup, then sign in with your Apple ID

After signing in you have the terms and conditions you’ll need to agree to.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll have information about the beta version available.

  • Here you need to look for “enrol my device” and tap on it

After that, your device will take a backup of your phone in iTunes if for any reason you want to come back to the current iOS version you’re on.

  • You then need to tap on “Download profile”, once you do that, you’ll get a message to allow the profile to add a new iPhone
  • You need to click on install and enter your device passcode
  • After installing the profile, you’ll need to restart your iPhone so select restart.
  • Once your iPhone is on, go to settings, then scroll down to general and tap software update

If the update is available you should see the version number of the update and information about it.

  • Now all you need is tap “install” which will be at the bottom of the screen

My iPhone won’t Update, Here’s What to do

There are a number of things that have to happen which won’t allow you to update your iPhone. One of the issues is when a message pops up saying that your iPhone isn’t able to update. This mainly because of Wi-Fi issues.

Your iPhone needs to be able to contact Apple update servers if you ever want to update your iPhone. There’s a common misconception. If you can browse the internet on your iPhone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can contact Apple servers.

Apple servers use special ports, so if you’re trying to use a Wi-Fi network link in a public place like McDonald’s and it’s not working, go home and try a different Wi-Fi network. This might make all the difference in the world. Another issue that most people forget is that you also need to be able to store the software on your iPhone itself. So there has to be enough storage space. I’ve explained how to clear storage above.

Everything has to be working right with the system itself so sometimes little software errors can happen. This can also prevent your software from updating. You can do a little experiment. Search for an update on your iPhone and put it in Airplane mode. It will say unable to check for update, this is because you’re in Airplane mode which means you’re not connected to Wi-Fi.

If you’re not connected to the internet at all your device will tell you an error occurred, it won’t tell you that you’re not connected to the internet. If you’re connected to the WI-FI and you get a message like this, try a different Wi-Fi network. This usually solves the problem.

Restart your Device

Let’s say you tap software update on your iPhone and nothing happens at all. Sometimes it’s just a grey screen or you tap download and install and you just get the spinning wheel and nothing’s happening.

What you should do is turn your iPhone off and on again. Sometimes this simple fix can solve software issues that crop up in the background.

To do that:

  • Press and hold the power button on your iPhone until slide power off appears on the screen
  • Swipe the power icon across the screen

Now it’s normal for your iPhone to take 10 to 15 seconds to turn off, after that happens press and hold the power button again once the Apple logo appears on the screen and then let go.

Increase your storage space

Now another option or another possibility that a lot of people will see is that when they tap software update and they go to download and install, you get an error message that says not enough storage.

So you can check your storage by:

  • Going to settings then general
  • Tap on iPhone storage and at the top, you can see how much gigabytes of data your iPhone has actually used

You’ll see a list of apps and the biggest offenders of what’s using all your iPhone storage which is usually photos and videos. Stuff like this always takes up the most storage.

Your iPhone acts like a digital camera where if you plug it into your Windows PC or Mac, you can just transfer all your photos and videos to it. This means you can remove them safely from your iPhone. Always make sure you have a backup but that’s a really good way to just dump your photos on your computer. You’ll be all set to go.

Update your Device using iTunes

So let’s say you tried restarting your iPhone, you’ve tried checking your storage, and you’ve tried a different WI-FI network. The next thing to do is to try to use iTunes to update your iPhone. I’ve explained the steps above. It used to be back in the day that iTunes was the only way to update your iPhone. This was around iOS 5 and iOS 6 and they caught on and made it much easier to do.

Yeah, they made it a lot easier to do because a lot more people had problems updating their phone with iTunes than the iPhone. This is because iTunes brings computers into the mix and computers can have a sort of problems.

You should plug in your iPhone and connect it to iTunes and this will work on a Mac or Windows PC. There’s a difference between updating, and restoring your iPhone using iTunes, and syncing your iPhone and iTunes library. So use iTunes as a tool to update your iPhone and nothing else.

Reset your Device

If you’ve tried using iTunes and it still won’t update, the next step is to do a reset all settings. The chances that you’ll have to resort to this step is very rare. When troubleshooting, always try and do to do the least invasive thing first. So to reset all settings on an iPhone is pretty self-explanatory.

Here are the steps:

  • Go to settings, then general
  • Go to reset which is always at the bottom of general, then select “Reset all Settings”

This is only an inconvenience, it’s not the worst thing in the world. It doesn’t delete any of the data on your iPhone, text messages, or any of your photos, but it does reset everything in the settings app. So you’re going to have to reconfigure your Wi-Fi passwords, your wallpaper and a few of those minor things.

Reset all setting, however, does fix a lot of minor software problems and since software is part of the settings app, it can fix your issues. If all is still bad, it’s time for the restore, but before you do that, make sure that you backup your iPhone to iTunes to or iCloud.

I’ve shown the steps above.

So when you restore your iPhone it takes everything off and puts a fresh version of the operating system on it.

Tip: when you’re updating your iPhone, you can’t restore an iPhone to an earlier version. As soon as Apple releases a new version of the software they sign it. Then all the old version of software becomes invalid and you can never access them again. This is unless you save a copy of the old iOS version.

So if you want to update your software, just restore it using iTunes the same way I showed you before. However, instead of hitting “check for updates” you’re just going to hit “Restore iPhone”.

Bottom Line

There you go that’s what you do when your iPhone won’t update. If there are any problems you’re having, comment down below. If you liked this article, subscribe to the email newsletter where you can reply back to me with issues you’re having and I’ll give you a solution.

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