How to Download and Install New iOS Updates

Get your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch up to date

What to Know

  • Connect the iOS device to the computer you sync it with. Open iTunes. Select the device icon at the top of the left panel.
  • Select Sync or Back Up Now. Choose Update > Download and Install.
  • Read about the new features and any changes in the iOS and select Next > Agree to start the download and installation process.

This article explains how to download and install new iOS updates using iTunes on a Mac or PC. It applies to iTunes 11 and later.

How to Update iOS Using iTunes

When Apple releases a new update to iOS—the operating system that runs the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad—install it. Upgrades to iOS deliver bug fixes, interface changes, and new features. You can upgrade to the latest version of iOS through iTunes or directly on the iOS device wirelessly.

Here's how to perform the update using iTunes on macOS and Windows computers. Using iTunes to update your iPhone or iPad is a good option if your iOS device is low on space. Follow these steps to keep your device up to date.

  1. Connect the iOS device to the computer you sync it with, then open iTunes.

  2. Select the icon for the device to open the device management screen.

    How to restore iPhone
  3. Select Sync to sync the device with the computer. Or, select Back Up Now to create a backup of the data on the phone. It's good to have a backup in case anything goes wrong with the upgrade.

    Use Sync to back up the iPhone and update it with any changes from your iTunes library. Use Back Up Now to make a copy of your contacts, photos, and settings.

    How to restore iPhone
  4. When the sync is complete, the iPhone management screen shows the version of iOS on the device and information about a newer version if one is available. Select Update to begin the process.

    The iPhone version message in iTunes
  5. Select Download Only to download the software for a later update or select Download and Install to update now.

  6. Read the information about new features, fixes, and changes the new version of the iOS offers, then select Next.

  7. Select Agree to acknowledge the user agreement.

  8. The update downloads and automatically installs on your device. If prompted, follow the instructions.

  9. When the installation is complete, the device will automatically restart.

A warning appears if there isn't enough free storage space on the device to install the update. Update the iPhone to solve the problem.

Finish the Upgrade on the iPhone

To complete an iOS update, accept the licensing terms, review information about the update's new features, and configure new settings. Follow the onscreen prompts, and in a few taps, you'll be using your newly upgraded device.

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