How to Update iOS Wirelessly on the iPhone

You don't need a computer to update your iPhone

What to Know

  • Before you begin, back up your data, connect to Wi-Fi, charge the iPhone battery, and plug in your iPhone.
  • Go to Settings > General > Software Update > Download and Install, and then tap Install Now.
  • If there isn't an available update, there will be no option to download and install an update.

Each new version of iOS—the operating system that runs the iPhone—brings new features, bug fixes, and changes to what the phone can do and how it's used. iOS updates can be installed wirelessly (a technique known as over-the-air, or OTA, updating).

How to Update iOS Wirelessly on the iPhone

Before you begin an update:

  • Back up your data to iCloud or iTunes just in case something goes wrong with the upgrade and the phone needs to be restored.
  • Connect to a Wi-Fi network. The update can be downloaded over a cellular network, but the updates are large (often 1GB or more), may take a long time to download, and use your monthly wireless data. Wi-Fi is easier and faster.
  • Charge the iPhone battery. The download and installation process takes time. If there's less than 50 percent battery life remaining, charge the battery before the update.

Because the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad all run iOS, these instructions also apply to those devices.

To update iOS:

  1. On the iPhone Home screen, tap the Settings app.

  2. Scroll down, then tap General.

  3. Tap Software Update. The device checks to see if there's an update. If there is, it reports what it is and what the update adds to the device.

  4. Tap Download and Install to begin installing the iPhone software update.

    The Settings, General and Software Update screens in iOS
  5. If the phone is protected with a passcode, enter the passcode to begin the download. A blue progress bar moves across the screen.

  6. Tap Install Now. The screen goes dark, then displays the Apple logo. A progress bar shows the status of the update. When the iOS update finishes, the iPhone restarts and displays a completion notice.

    The Passcode, Software Update and Lock screens on the iPhone

Tips for iOS Upgrade

The iPhone notifies you when there's an update even if you don't check for it. If you see a red 1 icon on the Settings app on your home screen, that means there's an iOS update available. You may also receive a push notification.

If there isn't enough empty storage space available on the device to install the update, learn how to update iPhone when you don't have enough room and follow the tips to fix this situation.

If something goes wrong with the installation, there are two options to fix it: Recovery Mode or (if things go badly) DFU Mode. Another result of a failed upgrade is a white screen of death. You can may run into error 3194.

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