How to Use Over-the-Air (OTA) Software Update on iOS
When a new iOS software update is made available, you can download and install the update directly on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch by using Over the Air updates, abbreviated as OTA. These work by downloading only the files that are different (this is called a delta update), so the file size is smaller than general IPSW downloads, making the installation process faster. OTA updates also eliminate the need to connect an iOS device to a computer when upgrading software.
- Launch Settings and tap on “General”
- Tap on “Software Update” to see information about the available iOS update
- Tap on “Download and Install”
You’ll agree to a Terms and Conditions, and if you’re not connected to a power source, you will get a pop-up notification suggesting you connect to one. Over The Air updates are much faster than iOS upgrades through iTunes or manual updates with firmware files, and assuming you have reasonably fast internet connectivity, should be done downloading in just a few minutes. Leave the device alone and it will automatically reboot and finish the installation.
If the OTA update isn’t working or is greyed out, it’s likely because the device needs to have at least half of it’s battery and be connected to a wireless network, or because the device is not currently on iOS 5 or greater, when OTA updates became supported.
Keep in mind that OTA updates are not the only way to update your iOS software, you can continue to connect the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or iPod touch to a computer with iTunes and it will automatically prompt you to update the device. Additionally, anyone can use firmware and update the software directly, but that is generally reserved for more advanced users. All in all, Over-the-Air is the way to go, it’s the fastest, easiest, smallest download footprint, and most fool-proof method.