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

slide to power off iPhone

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. 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.

Make Sure You Have Enough Free Space

Checking iPhone 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. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone and tap the General button.
  2. Scroll down and tap Storage & iCloud Usage.
  3. Check your Available space under the Storage heading at the top of the screen. If you don’t have at least 1GB of storage available, delete unused apps, music, or other content and try 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.Updating your iPhone in iTunes.
  3. Click the Update button on the righthand side of the screen and confirm that you want to update your iPhone. The update will be downloaded and installed.

Updating Your iPhone in the Settings App

  1. Updating your iPhone in the settings app.Launch the Settings app on your iPhone and tap General.
  2. Tap Software Update.
  3. Plug in your iPhone and tap the Install Now button.

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

Andrew Kunesh

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!