My iPhone Won’t Update! Here’s The Real Fix.

Apple just released a new iPhone software update and you’re eager to try all of the new features it includes. You go to update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS and BAM! Your iPhone won’t update. No matter how many times you try, error messages keep popping up or the process simply stalls, and it’s getting infuriating. Don’t fret: In this article, I’m going to show you how to fix an iPhone that won’t update.

My iPhone Won’t Update: Back to Basics

This may seem obvious, but oftentimes rebooting your iPhone can fix update issues. To do this, hold down your iPhone’s power button until the “Slide to Power Off” slider appears. If your iPhone doesn’t have a Home button, simultaneously press and hold the side button and either volume button.

Swipe the slider from left to right with your finger, wait a few seconds for your iPhone to power off, and immediately turn it back on by holding down the power button.

turn off your iphone

Make Sure Your iPhone Has An Internet Connection

Your iPhone needs an internet connection to download new iOS updates. Some updates, because they are so large, require a Wi-Fi connection. We recommend using Wi-Fi instead of cellular data when downloading updates, as its faster and won’t eat into your data plan.

Open Settings and tap Wi-Fi. Make sure the switch next to Wi-Fi is on, and that a checkmark appears next to the name of your Wi-Fi network. Check out our other article if your iPhone is experiencing Wi-Fi issues.

make sure wifi is on

Make Sure You Have Enough Free Space

Next, check if your iPhone has enough room to store the update. iOS updates generally require 750–800 megabytes of free space before they can be installed. (There are 1000 megabytes in 1 gigabyte, so that’s not a lot of space.)

To check how much space is available, do the following:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll down and tap iPhone Storage.
  4. At the top of the screen, you’ll see how much storage is available on your iPhone. If you have more than 1 GB (gigabyte) available, then you have enough storage space to update your iPhone.

view storage space on iphone

While in Settings -> General -> iPhone Storage, check to see if the update has already downloaded. Occasionally, an issue with the downloaded iOS update file will prevent you from installing it on your iPhone.

Scroll down the list of apps below the Storage Recommendations and look for an iOS update. If you see the update file, tap on it, then tap Delete Update.

delete ios update in settings

Now that the iOS update is deleted, go to Settings -> General -> Software Update to download the update again.

If iTunes Doesn’t Work, Try The Settings App (and Vice-Versa)

There are two ways to update an iOS device: using iTunes or within the Settings app. If you find you’re getting errors when using iTunes to update your iPhone, give the Settings app a shot. If the Settings app doesn’t work, try using iTunes. I’ll show you how to do both. I highly recommend backing up your iPhone to iTunes or iCloud before starting the update process.

Updating Your iPhone In iTunes

Selecting your iPhone in iTunes.

  1. Open iTunes on your computer and plug in your iPhone using your Lightning cable (the cable you use to charge your iPhone).
  2. Click the iPhone button at the top of the iTunes window.
  3. Click the Update button on the right-hand side of the screen.
  4. Confirm that you want to update your iPhone by tapping Download and Update.

download and update ios 11.2.2 itunes

Updating Your iPhone In Finder

If your Mac is running macOS Catalina 10.15 or newer, you’ll use Finder instead of iTunes when updating your iPhone.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using a Lightning cable.
  2. Open Finder.
  3. Click on your iPhone under Locations.
  4. Click Check for Update.

update iphone using finder

Updating Your iPhone In Settings

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update.
  4. Plug in your iPhone and tap the Download and Install button.

update to ios 14.4

Is Your iPhone Compatible With The New Update?

Almost every year, a few older iPhones lose their compatibility with new iOS updates. It’s possible your iPhone won’t update because it’s not compatible with the new update. Check out Apple’s website to see the full list of iPhones that can download and install the latest iOS update.

Are Apple Servers Overloaded?

When Apple releases a new iOS update, millions of people are connecting their iPhones to Apple servers to download and install it. With all those people connecting simultaneously, Apple’s server may struggle to keep up, which could be the reason why your iPhone won’t update.

We saw this problem when iOS 13 was released. Thousands of people had a hard time installing the update and asked us for help!

So, if you’re trying to perform a major update on your iPhone, keep in mind that lots of other people are too, so sometimes you just have to be a little patient! Visit Apple’s website to see if their servers are working properly.

My iPhone Still Won’t Update!

If your iPhone still won’t update, it’s time to restore your iPhone in iTunes. Make sure your phone is backed up before restoring, because you’ll be erasing all content and settings from your iPhone.

Restoring Your iPhone

  1. Open iTunes on your computer and plug in your iPhone using your Lightning cable.
  2. Click the iPhone button at the top of the iTunes window.
  3. Click the Restore button on the righthand side of the window.
  4. Confirm you want to restore your device in the pop-up window. iTunes will download the latest version of iOS, erase everything from your iPhone, and install an updated version of iOS.

Help! A Restore Didn’t Work!

If you’re still seeing errors in iTunes, follow our tutorial on how to DFU restore your iPhone. This is different from a traditional restore because it wipes all software and hardware settings from your phone. It’s often seen as the final step in fixing software on a stuck iPhone. If the DFU restore doesn’t work, there’s probably a hardware problem with your iPhone.

Your iPhone: Updated

And there you have it: your iPhone is finally updating again! I hope this article helped you out. Let us know which solutions worked for you in the comments section below.

About Author

I'm Andrew Kunesh, a technology writer and IT professional from Chicago. My goal is to help you fix the many errors and problems your Apple devices may face. Thanks for checking out our work!

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Jan
19 hours ago

I just noticed that my problem was caused by a profile that I installed taking part in beta program. After I removed the profile, the update installed.

Goodsey
2 months ago

Sorry but can someone explain to me why we have to find ways of fixing any phone, let alone an iPhone? The cost of phones is a personal choice, but that shouldn’t mean any phone doesn’t do what it’s advertised for. Basically, money rules and the advertising budget makes the cost of the item more expensive but not any better.

Bucky2003
1 year ago

I was having the issue where the update would fail. The IOS update would download, once trying to install would fail immediately.

Tried resetting network, turning off cellular and re-downloading the update, rebooting, nothing worked.

The fix for me was to disable the VPN software on the phone, download and install the update. Once the update was installed, re-enabled the VPN software.

David Nader
1 month ago
Reply to  Bucky2003

YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! I have tried everything one could imagine to get rid of the message “Unable to Check for Update” until I read your solution (Disable the VPN on iPhone, Download and Install the Update, then re-enable VPN)! It worked PERFECTLY! Thank you!

Elyssa
1 year ago

so I waned to get the new iOS 14 but when I did I was in the car so I didn’t get service so now it’s like two days and I still haven’t seen anything happen so how do I redo it also my sister updated her phone last week still nothing

Ysabella
1 year ago

Been trying to update my iphone 6s for the past couple of months via itunes since i get stuck on “verifying update” when i try the wireless update. But the problem with updating through itunes is that i always get the Network Error message after downloading the ios, even when i’m connected to high-speed internet. Tried all the possible solutions (updating latest itunes, turning off firewall and anti-virus, restarting phone etc.) but it still doesn’t work. Is there any other solution i could try before i resort to restoring my iphone? I’m worried that if restoring wouldn’t work i might… Read more »

DON MASON
1 year ago

Did DFU on my iphone 7 and it will not allow me past connecting to wifi. Where do I go from here?

David
1 year ago

Please help. I have a iPhone 8 amd when i push software update it stuck and Close after 10 seconds. Software update doesn t OPEN. What i can do?

Admin
David Lynch
1 year ago
Reply to  David

If you go to Settings -> General -> iPhone Storage is the iOS update listed there? If it is, delete the update and try again. Our other article can walk you through this process if you need help.

Anonymous
2 years ago

It wasnt working on my phone because it said I wasnt connected to the internet when I actually was. Doing the update through itunes on the computer worked. Didnt have to restore thankfully.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Mine just says checking for updates – and it now won’t stop checking – has been going on for days!

Anonymous
2 years ago

My phone doesnt show all apps like iTunes and others even update

Anonymous
3 years ago

I just spoke with APPLE and he said 10.3.3 is the highest software update for the IPhone 5. Thats why I cant update any further.
When all else fails, call 1-800-MY APPLE.

joe
10 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

well …that explains my problem ..been trying for months to update my iphone 5 without any success..only way to get to some of apps i use is to buy a new phone that is ios13 compatable

Anonymous
3 years ago

This worked!!! Thank you so much. I found that I had to be sure to have my phone disconnected from the computer during turn off or it would not take perform the update. Once I got this done and reconnected, it went very easy.

Anonymous
3 years ago

mines been doing it for 3 week almost 4

Anonymous
3 years ago

theres no iphone on mine

Anonymous
3 years ago

my software updates but does not install. ive downloaded so many times

Anonymous
3 years ago

Clear, precise and easy to understand explanation. Worked first time, thanks!

Anonymous
4 years ago

Pefect explanation and it worked great for me step by step

Anonymous
4 years ago

mine phone is also not updating the software because its saying it cannot do a backup…Has anyone found any solution on this???

Anonymous
4 years ago

mine still wont update and now most of my apps arent working

Anonymous
4 years ago

None worked, now every time I try to update the screen turns green for 2 hours.

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