How to Upgrade to iOS 12

There are two ways to get iOS 12 on your iPhone or iPad

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Upgrading to iOS 12 provides your iPhone or iPad with the latest and greatest operating system from Apple. Fortunately, the process to upgrade to iOS 12 is fairly straightforward, and you even have a choice how it should work.

An iOS 12 upgrade can be performed wirelessly or by connecting your phone or tablet to your computer. If you use iTunes, you can plug your iPhone or iPad into your computer to use that software to download and install iOS 12. Or — and this is probably the preferred way for most people — you can upgrade to iOS 12 over Wi-Fi.

Depending on the iOS version you're using right now, the upgrade to iOS 12 might require a few gigabytes of free space.

These steps should apply no matter what iOS version you're using. The iTunes directions, however, might be slightly different than what you see on your screen if you're not using iTunes v12.

How to Upgrade to iOS Using Wi-Fi

Updating to iOS 12 wirelessly is convenient, but if your device's battery is below 50 percent, you'll need to plug it in to a charger during the update.

  1. Open your device's Settings app.

  2. Go to General > Software Update.

    General settings screen on iPad
  3. Tap Download and Install.

    Software Update screen on iPad

    If you see Resume Download, tap that instead.

    Your iPad or iPhone will now begin the upgrade to iOS 12, a process that could take hours depending on a number of factors, like the health of your internet connection, the network speed, the speed of your device, and what your device needs to do before the upgrade to make proper room.

    If the button is greyed out and you can't update your device because you have too little free space, you might have to delete some apps. You can see which apps are using the most storage space to learn about the biggest offenders.

  4. You might need to complete some initial setup steps before you can use your iPhone or iPad after the iOS 12 update. This is to account for new features and settings.

How to Upgrade to iOS 12 Using iTunes

  1. Open iTunes and follow any directions that prompt you to update iTunes to the latest version, if you see them. You should always be using the most up-to-date version of iTunes.

  2. Plug your iPad or iPhone into your computer.

    If you immediately see a message about updating to iOS 12, select Cancel. There's a precautionary step you need to take first, which we'll go over below.

  3. Select the mobile device icon to open the management screen for your device.

    iTunes Store in Windows
  4. Select Back Up Now to back up your device to your computer. You should do this so that you can restore the backup should something go wrong during the update.

    iTunes Summary screen in Windows
  5. From the Summary tab, choose Update on the right. If you don't see it, select Check for Update.

    Update button in iTunes for Windows
  6. Select Update again at the prompt.

    Update to iOS 12 prompt in iTunes for Windows
  7. Follow any onscreen prompts, such as selecting Next on the iPhone Software Update screen, and Agree on the terms that follows.

    iPhone Software Update prompt in iTunes for Windows during an iOS 12 upgrade

    The iOS 12 update process will begin immediately.

  8. Wait while iTunes downloads iOS 12 and installs it to your iPhone or iPad.

    iTunes during an iOS 12 update process for an iPhone

    How long the iOS 12 update takes to complete depends on the speed of your computer and internet connection. Select the download icon at the top right of iTunes to check the progress of the iOS 12 software download.

    It's normal for your device to reboot during the iOS 12 upgrade, so don't unplug it until it powers back on for good and iTunes shows that it's fully updated. If you're watching iTunes while the update completes, you'll see this screen:

    iTunes message that reads Your iPhone has been updated, and is restarting
  9. After updating, when your device finally boots back up, you might be asked a few setup questions regarding any new features in iOS 12.