How to Manually Update or Restore iOS 5

Oct 27, 2011 - 45 Comments

Manual iOS 5 update or restore

Despite the relative ease of updating to iOS 5 through iTunes either directly or by IPSW, some users are still reporting problems.

In some cases this is user caused (error 3194 is easy to fix as is error 3200 & 3002), but if you’re continuing to have issues it could be related to a firewall or a handful of other causes.

For those cases, here’s another approach to manually update to iOS 5. Basically you just throw the downloaded IPSW file into the default IPSW location and have iTunes update without downloading, this seems to work for nearly everyone encountering problems.

Manually Update to iOS 5

The directions are going to be the same for Windows and Mac OS X users with the exception of where the files are stored:

  • Using Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, download iOS 5 IPSW for your device, and choose “Save As” when you download the file, saving it somewhere easy to find like the desktop
  • Quit iTunes
  • Disconnect your iOS device from the computer
  • Copy the previously downloaded IPSW file to one of the following locations, depending on your desktop OS:

For Windows

  • Go to the Start menu, choose Computer, Local disk, enter the following path:
  • c:\Users\NAME\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\

  • Now you are looking for a directory like “iPhone Software Updates” – this is device dependent so it could be “iPad Software Updates” or “iPod Software Updates” on your PC
  • Delete existing iOS 5 .ipsw files from this folder and copy over the version you downloaded

For Mac OS X

  • From the Mac desktop, hit Command+Shift+G and type the following path:
  • ~/Library/iTunes/

  • If you’re updating an iPhone, the folder will be named “iPhone Software Updates”, iPad will be “iPad Software Updates” and so on, open this folder
  • Move the previously downloaded iOS 5 IPSW file into this folder

For Everyone

  • Now relaunch iTunes, choose your device from the left side, and click on “Check for Update” to use the new IPSW without re-downloading

This should work without any of the unknown errors because the file no longer has to be downloaded from Apple’s servers. Much of the trouble probably relates to user hosts files or firewalls, but this has the added benefit of the manual hunt for the firmware file which is another place where some confusion was caused. Enjoy iOS 5, it’s the best iOS yet.


Related articles:

Posted by: Matt Chan in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. Devam says:

    Hey , I am getting error 52 while I am trying to restore my ipad ,will this solve my problem ??

  2. I updated my iPhone 4S to iOS 6 recently but the thing is that many of the videos on Internet are not plying in iOS I want reinstall iOS 5 on my iPhone 4S.Please guide me how can I reinstall it.thanks

  3. Leon says:


    I have tried everything to restore my iphone4 to 5.1.1 but I keep getting the 3194 error code and I have tried numerous mods to the host file without success. adding extra line, deleting the bottom 2 lines and getting rid of the file completely but nothing works! Some help please peeps!!!! I was trying also to follow th instructions above but cant find the file path after i get to users/ my name cant then find the appdata file or roaming etc!! any ideas friends?

  4. Atwal Sides says:

    I have a huge problem. I installed ios 6 beta on my iPhone 4, and later I reset the phone deleting all the data & settings so I could start over. When I try to boot the device, it tells me the phone is not registered as part of the iPhone Developers Program. When I try to register it doesn’t give me any options on how to fix my phone. I’m stranded, can I get some help please? I really need my phone.

  5. ritvik says:

    sound is not coming after instalation

  6. ritvik says:

    plz reply fast

  7. ritvik says:

    the .ipsw i download from ur download links is not jailbroken right ….cuz i dn’t want to jailbrake my iphone 4s

  8. megha says:

    works completely fine. itunes was giving errors. Thanks man :)

  9. Jacob says:

    Really this is what I was looking for

    Thanks a lot

  10. djyhos says:

    i downloaded the file and went to the ‘ipod software update’ folder. But the folder was empty. I put the file there anyway but that didn’t help. My firmware is still at 4 and when i try to update my iOS, itunes tries to download the file from the internet.

    How can I get itunes to recognise the file ?

    • djyhos says:

      *last sentence: How can I get itunes to recognise the file that I put into the ‘ipod software update folder?

  11. Gus says:

    I tried to look for the NAME folder on windows but it only has Dell and Public folders…….. HELP!

    I also tried updating a jailbroken Iphone 3gs using a custom ipsw to ios 5.0.1 but it gave me error 3194. Then i fixed that error and got error 2005 but couldn’t fix it. Is there a way to stop Itunes from checking with apple before the update?

  12. Helena says:

    Hi, I’ve been having lots of trouble with my iPad1. It is still stuck on iOS 4.3 but my computer is fully installed to 5.1.1. Under ‘general’ there is no software update button and I’m finding it impossible to do via the Internet. Any suggestions?

    • tb says:

      You should connect it to iTunes and update it through iTunes. Makes ure you have the latest version of iTunes or it won’t update to iOS 5.1.1.

      There is no General Update button on iPad until you have iOS 5 installed.

  13. Thomas says:

    Yes. It is working with my system. Update was successful Thanks for posting

  14. Nathalia says:

    i cant find ipod software updates what do i do??

  15. kapil says:

    i have jailbreaked ios 5.., and accidently update started on phone itself for ios5.1…, then by checking on net i found tht one hv to delt a file thn it will be ok …, but after that phone started hanging and not working properly…, i tried to update and restore by itunes but it doesnt worked after a full download it says that the disk is full cant update …, plz help what to do?????

  16. Dave says:

    People are mentioning on here to change the file to .ipsw but there are many files in the download, which one to change?

  17. appleCRAZY says:

    I followed the same steps and it reached till the stage where it says “Verying iPod restore with apple server…” then it gives an error 3194… what to do…

    i have tried all other possible methods of update

    i m using ipod 4g on 4.3.2 and trying to update to 5.0.1

    even using shift+update/shift+restore options +/- ipod in DFU mode also doesnt work

    even tried to change the “hosts” file entry to redirect apple servers to saurik’s ….. doesnt work

  18. senthil says:


    Here is the exact solution for the manual update..

    Step 1: Download the iOS 5 IPSW file for your device using the iOS 5 IPSW direct download links.

    Step 2: Connect your device to the computer using the USB cable and wait for iTunes to detect it.

    Step 3: Once your device has been detected – follow the steps given below for different OS.

    For Windows – Hold the Shift key and then click on the “Check for Update/Update” button.
    For Mac OS X – Hold the Option key and then click on the “Check for Update/Update” button.

    Step 4: In the next dialog browse to the file that you downloaded from Step 1 and select the IPSW file.

    Step 5: iTunes will now use the IPSW file and update your device to iOS 5. The process should take around 10-20 minutes.

    That’s it. Your device will be updated to iOS 5 with ease. Please feel free to post your questions in the comments box below.

    • RJ says:

      I am trying to update iPad 2G from iOS 4.3.5 to iOS 5.0.1. I have try the steps above several times but after “verifying iPad restore with apple server” it launch an error message that says “This device is not eligible for the requested build”.
      I have try to solve the problem with all the hints given, by updating software, security, etc, but still not working.
      Any answer for this problem?

    • shukoor says:

      nice job thank u

  19. kulsum says:

    this didn’t work for me.. i just got an itouch so i didn’t see the ‘check for update’ thing.. only saw ‘update’. itunes is downloading the whole thing again.. :/

    WHAT SHOULD I DO????!??!?!?!?!

  20. sandy says:

    i have been trying to update my iphone 3gs to ios5 but after downloading the file and during the processing file it says that internet time out
    can u help me out from these
    even my ipad2 is not updateing same error

    • Mher says:

      same happened with me!! i also cant do the way mentioned above!! i have the file in ipsw format..when i try to update it starts downloading from apple again!!!

  21. Moki says:

    The restore was working fine without errors but after sometime the progress bar in itunes and on the phone for restore froze. is it normal that restore take long time to be applied?

  22. Jay says:

    Saw post on another site that said IE changes .ipsw to .zip and to just change it back – maybe that’s intuitively obvious to some. This is my first foray into Apple products. I thought they were supposed to be easy to use. I would think they would take an interest in fixing a connection timeout issue with their servers that so many people seem to have. But not only do they not fix it they don’t seem to care.

  23. Jay says:

    I downloaded the IOS 5 update as instructed. It is a .zip file but nowhere in the compressed folder is a file with extension .ipsw. What am I missing?

  24. Andrew McNaughton says:

    Having already downloaded did not resolve the errors for me. I think it’s slightly wrong to suggest that this is the cause and ultimately the solution. The inability to update from iOS 4.x to 5.0, forcing a Restore, seems to be something else.

  25. Kellie says:

    I have a Windows but after i get to the users part, i can’t find the “NAME”

  26. Daniel says:

    My iPod 4G was jailbroken in the past, but is now on stock 4.3.3 firmware. Whenever I try to update, I get an error that says “This device is not eligible for this software build” or something along those lines. Is Apple able to tell I was jailbroken, even though I restored, and is that what keeps me from updating?

  27. Chris says:

    I recently updated my iPad 1 to iOS5. Unfortunately, FaceTime is not installed. Would manual installation add FaceTime?


  28. felipew says:

    Waht about shift+click/cmd+click on the “Check for Update” or “Restore” button? that way you don’t need to copy the file to a default location.

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