2 Solutions for the “Software Update Failed” Error Downloading iOS 9

Sep 16, 2015 - 27 Comments

Software update failed error when downloading iOS 9

If you’re one of the many users updating to iOS 9 today, you may have come across a rather frustrating error message stating “Software Update Failed. An error occurred downloading iOS 9.” and, naturally you’re probably looking for a solution for that error message to get iOS 9 updated successfully on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, right? Well there’s good news, this is a really easy error to resolve…

The solution to this “Software Update Failed” error message? Patience. Or, if you have no patience at all, you can use manual firmware updates… but that’s really only for advanced users.

Recommended: The Patient Solution

To elaborate, tap on the “Close” button to close the error message, then wait a few minutes before tapping on “Download and Install” again. Some users get lucky and are quickly able to download the update, others may need to wait again for another few minutes.

This error message occurs when you and millions of other users are pounding Apple download servers simultaneously, and the content delivery network is overloaded. Thus, the only real solution is to wait for the download, or if you’re super impatient, use the IPSW firmware to update instead.

Seriously, just wait a bit. If you’re looking for something to do while you wait, here’s an awesome website to explore!

For Advanced Users Only: The Immediate Solution

Advanced users who are comfortable with firmware files can ignore the software update failed error message by downloading the appropriate firmware for their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch model, and updating iOS 9 manually with the IPSW file.

You can find the iOS 9 IPSW file download links for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch here. Scroll down to find the file which matches your device, update to iTunes 12.3, then use the IPSW for the update.

IPSW file

The IPSW approach is really not applicable to the average user, however, and the vast majority of iPhone and iPad owners are better off just waiting for the update to work through iOS Settings. Don’t worry, Apple servers will catch up quickly, and you’ll be running iOS 9 in no time.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Troubleshooting


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  1. Federico Graneta says:

    I have upgrade ios9 bbecause ihave upgrade my itunes and i like this phone thank you

  2. Hank Roberts says:

    Hey, it’s 2018

    And my iPod (it’s a hand-me-up-from-the-nephews) still silently fails to “download and update” from iOS 8.3 to iOOS 9.3.5


  3. BAKKHOME says:

    To hernan
    when I put the 9.3 beta versoion i get the 3194 error, i pass to THE DFU mode and i check the host file , and always the same error, how to bypass i spent a lot of time and i start to lose hope :(

  4. gRACE says:

    I’m having difficulties in updating my ipad 2 (ios 4.3.1) into ios 9.2..
    please help me,,,i cant download useful apps..:(

  5. Marlyn says:

    It is annoying. Tried it a hundred times. I am so impatient now. I cannot do anything without this thing.

    • hernan says:

      I updated my ipad 2 from4.3.1 to 9.3 beta. I almost threw away my ipad. Got to the link, pick your device then its going to take you to another page on the right top corner a countdown will appear when done click it then I going to take you to another page then in the middle of the page click download ( make sure to use google chrome). after 9.3 downloads you should know how to do the rest.

      spread the word

  6. Vasan says:

    Mine is an iPad 2. I’ve tried updating just 10-15 times now. It’s starting to get really really annoying.

  7. Olivia says:

    My update didn’t work either so I continued on connecting it with itunes on my computer, but it says the same excact thing and I’m a week further now. But after I tried it again a few hours ago I cannot start my Iphone normally because it says that I need to connect with Itunes and when I continue doing that it doesn’t do anything but saying that I still need to connect? Can somebody please help me ? Excuse me for my English it’s not my mother tongue..

  8. anup says:

    i have tried like 15 times but it always shows error downloading io9 message whenever i unlock my iPhone to check download time..help

  9. agv says:

    so I keep getting the “failed to update” message & I’ve tried so many times after waiting for a couple minutes. & I don’t know what to do, it’s not working. help?

  10. Reddi says:

    hello sir while installing kitkat in lava mobile install package is not showing in sd card….i named as update.zip

    • Rukiddingbro says:

      iOS 9 is not Android, that’s likely your problem. You can install KitKat on an Android phone, you can not install KitKat onto an iPhone, and you can not install iOS 9 onto an Android. These are totally separate, you should read up a bit about Apple and Google, they are different companies and have different products.

    • Zippity says:

      Reddi, here is how you can install iOS 9 with firmware files. I have no idea what you’re talking about, so maybe just follow the instructions:


      iOS 9 comes from iTunes, Settings app, or Apple on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch. Meanwhile, lava comes out of volcanoes, are you huffing glue?

  11. Niki says:

    This error won’t stop ocorring and it’s getting annoying these tips didn’t help at all

  12. Toni says:

    Just continually getting this message, have tried all day, with no luck. Have also tried hooking it up to the MacBook with iTunes but still unable to install. Very odd.

  13. Bryan Weaver says:

    I had three devices I was trying to upgrade yesterday. All of them got this message. I took one device and perform the update using iTunes. When I saw it being successful, I tried one the other devices as an OTA upgrade and still received the message. While iTunes was upgrading the device, after about 10-15 minutes later the other device was able to successfully upgrade OTA.

  14. Phredog says:

    Better wait until 9.3! No dubt there are far too many iBugs.

  15. Peter Zacchi says:

    If you have an Apple Watch, don’t, don’t install IOS9, the watch go complete banana, you can see the time and that’s all, if you to a giant / App it go down and it is so bad that you can’t even switch it off in the hope that if you restart it would better but it will not turn off at all

    • jgg says:

      That did not happen with me. My watch continues to work flawlessly.

      iOS 9 cleared the credit cards from my Apple Wallet which I had to reload to my phone; but the Watch retained the cards. iOS 9 now accepts Discover, however, you will not be able to load it onto your watch until WatchOS 2.0 is available (which it does not appear to be at the moment.)

      • Peter Zacchi says:

        Hi JGG,
        Good to hear that it did go good by you, in fact is it so that after about 1 hour the watch started to get back to normale mood and now this morning (I am in Denmark) it is absolute ok again, I think some of the changes on the iPhone 6 after upgrading to IOS9 had to be synchronised between the phone and the watch.
        Oh yes it is sad that WOS2 did not come at the same time, it was in fact all the new features that was of special interest to me.

    • jjt says:

      I have been trying to load WOS2 for the last 24 hours and keep getting error messages. What gives?

  16. Alberto says:

    Mi 6 plus dead after upgrade gratuito by iTunes. Jets blocked in white screen with Grey apple. Tried alSO with DFU. NOTHING
    Great Apple

  17. Sorrusj says:

    I had this message keep popping up, I finally decided to upgrade using iTunes.
    Just hook your iPhone to you computer, back it up and then update.

  18. Jordan Burgin says:

    Just busy servers. I waited 30 seconds and boom, good to go

    • Paul says:

      Me too, got the warning dialog box once, I waited about two minutes and tried again and it worked fine.

      I have a friend who is getting the message constantly though, so there are a lot of people trying to download I guess, Apple servers are busy!

  19. Doug says:

    I’ll wait to install iOS 9 til this evening, no rush.

    May even wait for iOS 9.1, I hear it’s better.

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