Update your iPhone and iPad software

Update your iPhone and iPad software
Mac Tip #575, 20 March 2013

If you don’t routinely plug your iPhone or iPad into your Mac you may not realise that a software update could be available for the operating system that runs your device. It’s a good idea to install these updates from Apple though, so why not check now? Here’s what to do.

This Tip is for those running version 6 of the iOS software. Not sure which version you have? Check under Settings > General > About > Version.

Quick Start

  1. On your iOS device with iOS 6 look under Settings > General > Software Update.
  2. Plug in to power if necessary.
  3. Tap Download and Install if new software is available.

If this Tip was useful, please leave a comment letting us know. Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.

Check for Software Updates

To check for an available software update first make sure your device is connected to the Internet. Then look under Settings > General > Software Update.

iOS Settings app.

iOS Settings app. Tap the General item.

To check which version you already have, check under About and look at the Version line.

The General section of the iOS Settings app.

The General section of the iOS Settings app.

To check for an update look under the Software Update item.

Download and Install

If an update is available you’ll see information about it, including its size and a link for further information.

If an update is available you'll see information about it.

If an update is available you’ll see information about it.

If no update is available you’ll see a message that tells you which version you have and that the software is up-to-date.

For a large update, or if your battery’s low, you may want to plug in to a power source before you start. The update in this screenshot is quite small: only 51.4 MB.

To carry on and install the update tap Download and Install and wait while the update goes ahead. You may need to follow further on-screen instructions, and your device may restart as part of the update.

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  1. KiwiGraham said:

    A few points…

    1) Always a good idea to make sure your device has a recent backup (iTunes or iCloud) before performing an update. iTunes backup is probably preferable.

    2) Upgrading directly from the device will install a “delta” set of files that have changed. You can upgrade via iTunes and that will perform a full reinstall – a much larger download.

    3) An upgrade that performs a reinstall will install the new operating system as first step and then perform a restore of data. Sometimes step 2 doesn’t kick in properly (or people don’t wait long enough) and it looks like all data is lost. That’s when you can do a manual Restore.


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