How to Stop iOS Software Update Notifications Reminders

Jan 4, 2016 - 46 Comments

How to stop iOS Update notifications

The latest versions of iOS automatically remind users, frequently, to install whatever awaiting version of iOS is available for their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. While you can postpone the software update 24 hours or choose to install it automatically in the middle of the night, often times users don’t want to install the update at all for a variety of reasons. Nonetheless, you’ll be reminded again to install the iOS software update until you do. But can you stop iOS software update notifications and reminders from constantly popping up on your iPhone or iPad?


The answer is; sort of. This is probably not what you’re wanting to hear, but there isn’t a perfect way to stop iOS software updates from pestering you about an available update. The good news is there are several methods to get iOS update reminders from constantly appearing on your device, each takes a different approach, from postponing the update, to removing it, to giving in and updating, to even blocking the update server.

Option 1: Punt the iOS Update for 24 Hours

When you see the iOS Software Update reminder, choose “Later” and then choose “Remind Me Later” – don’t worry, it will remind you later. Again. And again.

Install the iOS update later to be reminded later to install the iOS update and temporarily stop the notification nagging

If you take this route, get used to pressing “Later” and “Remind Me Later” repeatedly, as in 24 hours you’ll be asked about it again. And 24 hours later, again. And another 24 hours later, you can go through the process yet again, until you either give in or move along with another of the options below.

Option 2: Delete the iOS Update & Avoid Wi-Fi

The best way to stop being nagged about impending iOS updates available is to delete the iOS update from the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and then avoid wi-fi. Deleting the available iOS update from the device will stop the update reminder from appearing, but you have to disconnect from wi-fi and avoid wireless networks because the moment your device is unattended and back on wi-fi… the iOS update will download itself again and start pestering you again. This is less than desirable particularly for those with limited broadband bandwidth, but Apple really wants you to update that iOS device to the latest available version.

  1. Open the Settings app and go to “General”
  2. Choose “Storage & iCloud Usage”
  3. Go to “Manage Storage”
  4. Locate the iOS software update that is nagging you and tap on it
  5. Tap on “Delete Update” and confirm that you want to delete the update*
  6. Disconnect from wi-fi to avoid the software update downloading itself again

Delete the iOS update to stop the nagging update notification

* This deletes the available iOS update which stops the iOS update from popping up every day, however, the moment you’re on a sustained wi-fi connection for a while the iOS update will download itself again automatically and start sending pop-ups to install it again. Don’t worry, you won’t lose the ability to install the iOS update, you can download it again yourself by going to Settings > Software Update, or just join wi-fi and leave the device unattended and it will download automatically without prompting.

Now that the update has been removed from the iOS device, you’ll want to avoid wi-fi, otherwise the update will just download itself at the next chance it gets. Typically this happens after the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is on wi-fi and it hasn’t been used in a while, similar to how iCloud automatically backs up.

Option 3: Accept and Install the Update

Another approach is to just give in and submit to the iOS software update installation. Whether or not this is acceptable to you may depend on a variety of things, like what your opinion of a particular iOS update is, whether you’re able to troubleshoot a potentially failed iOS install, whether you’re busy or not, and perhaps even principle. On the plus side, you’ll be on the latest version of iOS by doing so.

As always, if you decide to give into the nagging install notifications and install the software update, always back up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch beforehand.

Option 4: Blocking the Apple Software Update Domains on a Router / Gateway

The last option is to block the update domains on whatever router or gateway the iOS devices are using to connect to the internet. This is a rather dramatic approach and can lead to many unintended issues, plus it will stop the ability to download any software update from Apple at all entirely for all devices through the network until it’s reversed. Because there is no way of preventing software updates through settings however, this is the approach that many managed enterprise and educational facilities take with iOS devices.

For those who want to go this route, preventing access to the following domains does the trick:

appldnld.apple.com
mesu.apple.com

Each router and gateway is different, so you’ll have to set this up on your own.

Again, if you do this, no device on the network will be able to install any update from Apple at all, nor check for available updates. Don’t do this unless you know exactly what you’re doing and why, it’s truly only an option for advanced users, network administrators, and sysadmins who need to manage devices on their own without the constant update reminders.

Really the best thing to do is just to install the software updates if you don’t mind doing so. Nonetheless, that’s not always an option. For example, I’m traveling, and I don’t have the time to deal with a software update, the necessary backups, and potential restores from an update gone awry.

While modern versions of iOS are particularly aggressive with reminding you repeatedly about available iOS updates, the Mac has taken on a similar approach and will nag about OS X updates as well. Fortunately, the Mac has a bit more control for getting software updates to stop bothering you in OS X, or you can just turn on endless Do Not Disturb mode as a workaround for handling relentless notification harassment in OS X. Perhaps a similar approach will be available to iOS at some point, or better yet, a settings option to stop the iOS auto-update and auto-download behavior entirely.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

46 Comments

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  1. Applesoft says:

    I’d say that Apple has become Microsoft, but even Microsoft is less aggressive with the software updates than Apple now. That it downloads and uses bandwidth repeatedly without permission is shocking, especially given bandwidth limitations in the world and even in the USA which has 3rd world internet infrastructure in much of the country.

    Apple needs to default to NOT automatically downloading anything, and NOT automatically installing anything. I can’t tell you how many people I know have just pressed buttons on their iPhone they see as they pop up and then have a problem and regret updating!

    • Applesoft says:

      I should add, the phone companies love this auto-update behavior because so many people use them and then it breaks their iPhone and then think “I have a problem with my iPhone, I need to go to Verizon, ATT, T Mobile… oh they told me my iPhone is broken and need a new one I guess I have to spend another $600 on a new iPhone”

      And it benefits Apple $$$$ so of course they don’t want to stop it.

      • Sebby says:

        Wait a minute, what? You delete the update and it *still* downloads a fresh copy? I thought the whole point of the deletion mechanism (which was brought about by a lawsuit, IIRC) was that you could reclaim your disk space. If it’s really now the case that it redownloads the update, in spite of its being removed by the user and the user having been informed how to replace it, then that is an absolutely appalling display of hubris.

        And yeah, Apple and the carriers are still in bed with each other to the exclusion of users–nothing new there, I’m afraid. Check out the carrier restrictions that Apple helpfully implements for the carriers to screw their consumers with, like LTE, tethering and FaceTime over cellular. Even on an unlocked GSM phone. It’s a disgrace.

        What about Do Not Disturb? Will that shut it up?

        • Carlos says:

          Yes unfortunately if there is space available on the iPhone, the iOS update will redownload itself continuously if on wi-fi overnight or unattended. You delete it, wake up and it’s back. Delete again. It’s back. Rinse, repeat. Great user experience.

          • S7ntax says:

            On that basis I am deleting the update and then ramming my iPad to the rafters with music and video so they cannot force download it again. Apple really are becoming as bad as Microsoft and they broke my son’s iPad with their last update. They do not support anyone running older versions of OS X when we spent a lot of money on their hardware in the first place. I’ve already wiped my Mac mini and now it boots into Ubuntu. Seriously considering a Linux based phone/tablet due to this bullying behaviour and I also hate the way they have this walled garden App Store. It just doesn’t sit right with me. F**k you Apple!!

  2. Yeti says:

    Paul, I just thought I would mention this to you. You should post some tips etc. about the $20.00 El Capitan Server. It can do some pretty cool things some of your readers might enjoy.

    http://www.apple.com/osx/server/

    • Sebby says:

      Yes. Caching service, in particular. Get an old Mac Mini and run it with OS X server doing caching duties. Save your bandwidth, if nothing else. Includes iOS updates and apps, so get rid of the need for iTunes to sync those across.

  3. Just install the darn updates! Jeez.

    • Ted says:

      No, DO NOT install the damn updates! They are all designed for planned obsolescence. It’s rather unfortunate that people got so brainwashed and all they are capable of doing today is just keep pressing buttons. The consequences are negligible because they will just buy a new device next year (or two years from now). Business owners will have to offset their expense of buying new devices by raising the prices of their services/products. And then the rest will start complaining that “prices are going up”. Well, duh! It’s because of YOU, dear brainwashed people for you can’t see the forest from the trees.

    • Dakota says:

      My phone is already old and has limited space and I don’t have the $600 to get a new one with more memory. So NO I will not “just install the darn updates!”.

      • Centauri says:

        I agree Dakota, don’t update if you don’t have to.

        In fact, I would not recommend installing any iOS software update on an older model iPhone, it will not improve performance and it will not help the iPhone in any way. I highly recommend avoiding system software updates on older model iPhones if you don’t want to be forced into buying a new device because the old one has become slow or unstable. This is based on years of experience with iPhone, and it has really accelerated since the more recent release cycles. I tell this to everyone I know who is not technically savvy or loaded, and it is good advice.

  4. VTBassman says:

    On principle I hate being nagged about updates. And I hate even more what Apple has become – the 1984 Big Brother that Apple railed against in the early Mac ads with the girl who throws a hammer thru the screen .

    As Lewis Black says – Apple know better than you who you are.

    Is there a jailbreak app Cydia that can stop this nonsense? My GF has an Ipod touch – 32 G that she won’t use because the constant notices bug her. And with every Ios update they screw up the 1 app she wants to use – Itunes – which is their advertising delivery system.

    As you say, having auto download of a new Ios precludes backing up the content of your Iwhat-ever. Very dangerous and annoying.

    Or get a DROID which I am considering after being a Mac owner for the last 32 years. I had a 128k Mac.

    • Golom says:

      Constantly pestered about iOS updates, can’t stand it. Don’t want any of them at all! It’s all junk! The worst is that I have an iPad running iOS 6 since it’s the last decent iOS Apple ever made by one of Steve Jobs proteges who they fired because Mr PaintEverythingWhite didn’t like him, but Apple in their infinite wisdom, forced the iOS 7 download installer onto the device – which can’t be deleted in older versions of iOS!!!! – and so now the iPad is completely out of space because Apple stuck some cruddy installer onto the hardware that is now completely stuck. My coworker updated his same iPad to the latest version and he had to throw it out it became so unusably slow, rotating the screen had about a 6 second delay, opening Safari took 10-15 seconds, it became completely useless. He went and bought a Surface to replace it, trading in the iJunkPad into Microsoft Store, they said they see it often! Apple is pushing their users away, myself included.

      • Avenged110 says:

        Agree completely. You could jailbreak the iPad and remove it that way (and stop it from ever downloading) without incurring any security risk since iOS 6 security is already worthless. That’s what I did/am doing.

  5. lurker16 says:

    All solutions here border on trolling — “avoid wifi”, “accept the update”, “wait 24 hours [to get pestered again]”, “disable all updating [by modifying your router (yourself, so it’s not really an answer)].

    “You can’t” is far more honest and useful.

    • Jugglesworth says:

      Trolling? You mean Apple trolls us with bad software? I agree!

      These are the only methods possible to avoid the iOS update notifications, if you don’t like it you can take that up with Apple and request they be less like Microsoft ramming cruddy software updates down your phone.

  6. RM says:

    Thanks, Obama!

    /s

  7. JimBob says:

    I am less troubled by the iOS updates than by Mac updates. I will not upgrade in the future on my Mac until version 10.xx.1 and probably not until 10.xx.2, mostly based on the experiences shared here. Generally the iOS updates have worked (7.0 gave my runtastic app fits) but waiting until x.1 makes sense. Finally, with .2 and iOS 9.2 I can tether my IPhone from my Mac without clicking on the iPhone’s Hotspot first, the feature that was promised in 10.11.0 but wasn’t really working well.

  8. Bill hummel says:

    Off the top of my head, DNS is the answer. If you use your own custom DNS servers, or have a HOSTS file, then you could point apple’s download servers to never-never land and the situation is fixed.

  9. mark says:

    Another reason I will not buy another Apple product, and I currently own 10 devices. Been through some rough waters with Apple security personnel. Friendly, but not helpful. They are too controlling. Kind of like a communist government – they know what is best for everyone.

  10. Tony says:

    I have an iPhone and iPad that are provided by the company, and it seems like every single IOS update breaks something. It may be our MDM certificates so we can’t use campus WiFi, our email syncronization, or custom IOS apps. This nag is a rediculous, hamfisted ploy by Apple to keep their “adoption rate” numbers up. I don’t have this problem with my Windows or Android devices.

    I do support users, though, who actually run the update, broken systems be damned, just because they’re tired of being annoyed by the popup. Then they get mad at my team when we say “Well, that’s what this update breaks. Sorry, you’re out of luck until engineering updates the back end.”

    The problem is, that by the time they do so, Apple has another blasted update annoying everybody.

  11. Fawad says:

    Best way to stop Auto Downloading is to turn WiFi off when not in use.

  12. Cru says:

    ^ your answer is to never use wifi again? Good one…

  13. Gaz says:

    I’m sick of Apple pushing their software on to me. As a user I should have a choice. The main issue is that they push bloat-ware that causes older phones to be slow and react badly. I don’t want to keep on throwing out my perfectly good phone. Apple touts itself as a green company but the fact is that is no such thing. It is a Corporate that is out to make $$ at any cost even it that means forcing you to throw out your current older phone. I see a Class-Action Lawsuit looming here…. Any takers? Either that or I move to Android.

  14. Muckmuckbo says:

    Apple should give us option to permanently ignore an update or all updates. This is totally annoying.

  15. Ron says:

    Option 4 get rid of the phone! Any company that pisses people should get the boot

  16. minh says:

    Apple is fuc!! up with update notifications. Greedy bunch of a$$hole.

  17. Jason says:

    Option 4

    Fill your phone up until the update can’t be downloaded.

  18. Steve says:

    Apple has become a company that is likely going to cause me to leave as well. If they knowingly refuse to allow people to choose not to update your device, this will be my last iphone or apple product purchase. As others habe said, the updates can cause your device to be so slow that the device is ruined. Apple is destroyed.

  19. S says:

    Angry with Apple just on principal.. I will not be pestered or forced to download or install an ios against my will.
    Thank you for the tip on blocking apple servers with my router.
    It works great, and by using parental controls, I can also set the time I want so I can download new apps during mid day and plug my phone in at night without ever being pestered again.

  20. Jill says:

    I have an iPad 2, which has challenges running recent iOS versions due to processor speed and video hardware limitations. Obviously Apple is aware. The iOS 8 updates forced my iPad into an encrypted backup, with an unknown password. AppleCare Reps said too bad. Wipe it and install as a new iPad – which only allows the most recent iOS version. Some apps are then unstable, and Safari now runs slow. Chrome won’t even open some sites, or login functions. Now, I hear the iPad 2 may fail or lock up with iOS 9.3 versions, so no, I don’t want Apple to break my $950 tablet. I don’t want to pay Verizon more $ per month to buy a replacement device.

    And then there is my spouse, who is not a techie. Every update changes the way you do things. It’s a learning curve each time. Unwelcome annoyance.

    We have a neighbor who is developmentally disabled who has tremendous difficulty learning the navigation changes. If it just changed “under the hood” but looked the same it would be OK, but it doesn’t work that way. So now they struggle every time to catch up. That’s really offensive, and should be an ADA violation/class action.

    A is for Apple And A-hole!

  21. jb says:

    Forgot the best option: buy an Android phone!

  22. Nick Horton says:

    Theses damn updates ruined my old iPad2 which drove me crazy (I had an Irish fit and chucked it out of the window) but like a fool, and still thinking that the old Mac ethos couldn’t be totally dead, bought a new iPad Air2….
    Do the Apple bigwigs read forums like yours? Don’t they get it that they’re turning away loyal Mac customers with this stuff? I bought into Mac after years of Microsoft driving me nuts with technical glitches that I couldn’t sort out – I’m not an IT engineer and just wanted the damn machine to do what I wanted and nothing else – and five years ago the Mac was a revelation, and there seemed to be some pride in the company that old Macs could be updated and could run nearly as well as new ones. Now Post-Jobs they’re worse than Microsoft. Bloody idiots! Well they’re losing me, another screw up and I’m off…..

    • Guest 47 says:

      Same here. I switched to Apple in 2005/6. I guess any company that becomes a monopoly/duopoly turns “evil”. I am guessing that by 2020, I would probably be back with Microsoft, or go with Linux. Linux needs better mobile support though.

      And before anyone says “good luck finding a good app on Linux”, I only have one thing to say. Apple put me off using apps. So I only need the basics. Whatsapp is probably the biggest issue for me. But since I hardly use any apps anyway, I could just buy a cheap Xiaomi Android phone and use that. I could afford to change my phone three times as often as using an iPhone.

  23. Sandra says:

    No wonder Apple stock is going d o w n!!!

  24. Des says:

    I’m going option Android, had enough Apple BS.
    this pestering and update harassment is beyond the joke.

    Vote with your $$’s, Apple is sure to the get message eventually!

  25. Attila says:

    I find this update reminder quite harrasing and annoying dictatorship. I am happy with my mobile the way it is and dont want to update . This is the mobile that I paid for and want to keep and organised the way I want it. I am very unhappy about this disrespectful thing. If they don’t stop it I will change to android and claim my money back! Also many customer around me..

  26. Attila says:

    In the other hand I noticed my mobile keep turn itself off even if the battery is 40-50%.
    Then it says needs to charge. After few minutes I can turn it on again and use it for about 2-3 minutes max. It always happen when the outside temperature is under 10 degrees. I using iphone 6s and I had the same issue with my old 4s as well. Crap

  27. andre racie says:

    dam you Apple! your not the boss of me!!! when did you merge with MSN? I suppose if someone built an app to stop your pestering upgrades they would soon find that it is no longer compatible? wish i wasnt such an addict to internet…. i think i need to go to internet users anonymous meetings… IUA help me get off this crap… constantly looking for a fix… wait a minute… thats apple!

  28. Will says:

    I’m done with Apple. I just bought a Surface Pro in Lieu of Mac Book & about to get rid of this I Phone if they keep BSing with these updates.

  29. Zinc says:

    A HUGE problem with the automated updates is for many of us, we are at times connected to networks where we have a data plan that charges us by the GB. It is TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE to make it so hard to avoid data charges incurred from these updates by making them only on-demand-of-the user. Should I send Apple a bill for them? In other cases, slow public networks cause network performance problems when the download that I don’t want is running. My temporary solution is to make sure my device has not enough memory to download the update by filling it up with space-wasting junk, but that causes other problems (app crashes, etc.). When I’m travelling, I don’t have the option to block the update sites in a router or firewall.

    • Guest 47 says:

      According to the article, the update will not auto-download unless you are on wifi. I suppose in your case, your wifi plan is also metered, which means you will still get charged. Your message was ambiguous on this point. Anyway, I too would be very frustrated in I were in the same situation as you.

  30. Dude dudeson says:

    This is one of the reasons I just can’t stand Apple. I avaoid them as much as I can. But I’m using an iPad when performing music so I need it to work. Last update Apple suddenly decided to ruin the support for most usb hubs, by having it complain about voltage. It does have the correct voltage support – but it will still stop it because Apple decided so. I managed to trick it with a new hub.

    So the iPad can’t run my keyboard because it “demands too much power”. But if I connect a hub, and then the keyobard to the hub – the iPad cares about the hub and then it works. Last update lowered the limit so I had to get a new hub.

    Now it wants to update again. No way!

  31. H. Cuadra says:

    Capitalism and comsumerism at its best. Or draconianism! Last time i will use Apple products. Minimalism and white screens are symptoms of lack of creativity. OMG.

  32. Guest 47 says:

    What is the point of allowing users to delete the update if it then goes and redownloads it again, and there is nothing the user could do to prevent this?

    I am so sick of this daily nagging. I have 4 Apple devices and have to see this message 4 times a day.

    If Apple wants people to download their stupid little updates, make sure the damn thing works! It’s like playing Russian Roulette each time we install an upgrade. The reason I used to like Apple and switched from MS, was because “things just worked”. Now their products are no different from MS. There’s always a problem as soon as I upgrade to anything.

    The nagging isn’t enough to make me leave Apple for MS/Android yet, especially as Android has its own set of problems. But I have noticed that in recent years, I have started to disintegrate myself from Apple and its ecosystem. I even changed my habit of not being too invested in my phone. I use very few apps nowadays, knowing that the data I input could one day be lost with an update etc. If an app that stores my data isn’t cross platform or doesn’t have an export / dropbox feature, I won’t use it. Now the iPhone is just a phone with browser and a camera and some news/messaging app to me. I can switch to another platform without much hassle. It’s not the way I would have wanted this, but I am being forced into this situation with the unreliability of Apple software. (Hardware is still good for me so far, so no complaints there.)

  33. Sahad says:

    Thanks man u made my day I was trying to stop my iphone update to ios10 beta but I was unable to do so but u helped me ……….LOVE U MAN👍👍👏

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