Will You Lose Your iPad Data or Apps If You Upgrade?

Whether you upgrade your entire device or just your iOS, you should be okay

Updating her status
shapecharge / Getty Images

The upgrade process for iOS and iPadOS is designed to be seamless. These upgrades will not delete or modify your data.

Before September 2019, both the iPad and the iPhone ran the same operating system—iOS. Beginning with version 13, iOS split into two versions optimized for larger and smaller form factors. The iPhone runes iOS 13 and newer, while the iPad runs iPadOs 13 and newer. The Apple Watch has always run its own variant, called WatchOS, and Apple's desktop and laptop computers now run macOS.

How Apple Devices Update

Apple periodically releases new versions of its mobile operating systems. By design, these updates affect only the core operating system of the device and do not modify user data. Therefore, you can be confident that an iOS, iPadOS, or WatchOS upgrade will not remove your photos, music, or other data.

Potential for Data Loss

Although upgrades don't affect user data, it's not unheard-of for an update to fail for some reason. The most common culprit arises from a power interruption during the update process. Often, a botched upgrade renders the whole device useless unless you undertake a complex recovery process or bring it to a Genius Bar for in-person attention by Apple techs.

Best Practices for Upgrades

You'll guarantee that you'll never lose your data by backing up your iPad or iPhone before you begin an update. Backups can take a few minutes, so they're often set aside as being an inconvenience, but backups mean that if your upgrade fails and you must reinstall iOS or iPadOS from scratch, you'll restore it with your data without any loss or corruption.