How to Update System Software on iPhone & iPad
Trying to update your iPhone or iPad to the newest version of iOS? If you’re new to the Apple ecosystem, you might not be aware there are multiple ways to update the software on your iOS device.
Apple frequently releases iOS updates not just to add new features, but also to push out security patches and fix critical bugs. Therefore, it’s important to keep your iOS device updated to the latest firmware to make sure it’s not vulnerable to any sort of exploits.
Regardless of what iOS device you use, you can update to the newest version of the operating system wirelessly or using a computer. In this article, we’ll be walking you through the necessary steps to update system software on the iPhone and iPad.
Back Up Your iPhone & iPad Before Update
Before you go ahead and try to update your iOS device to the newest firmware, you need to make a backup of all the data stored on your device. This is to make sure you don’t lose them in case the software update fails.
There are two ways to back up an iOS device. If you pay for an iCloud subscription, it’s a lot more convenient to back up your iPhone or iPad to iCloud. However, if you don’t want to spend money on iCloud, you can create a backup of your device on your computer. On Windows PCs, you can use iTunes to back up your iPhone and iPad. Or, if you use a Mac running macOS Catalina or later, you can use Finder to back up all your data.
How to Update iPhone & iPad Over-the-Air
You can update the software on your iOS devices wirelessly, as soon as Apple deploys them over-the-air. Simply follow the steps below to update your iPhone or iPad without using a computer.
- Head over to “Settings” on your iPhone or iPad.
- In the settings menu, scroll down and tap on “General”.
- Now, tap on “Software Update” which is the second option in the menu.
- Here, you’ll be able to see any available software updates for your device. If you do have an update, tap on “Install Now”. If you’re already updated, you still have the option to turn on “Automatic Updates” to keep your device updated to the latest firmware whenever it’s being charged and connected to Wi-Fi.
That’s all there is to it. Now you know how easy it is to update the software on your iOS device.
How to Update System Software on iPhone & iPad with iTunes
This procedure is for the people who use a Windows PC and don’t pay for iCloud to back up their valuable data. Just follow the steps below, as long as you’ve made a backup of your device in iTunes.
- Connect your iOS device to your Windows PC using the provided Lightning/USB Type-C cable and open iTunes.
- Now, click on the device icon located right below the menu bar, as shown below.
- This will take you to the “Summary” section of your device. Click on “Check for Update” to see if a newer version of iOS is available. If you do, iTunes will prompt you to update your iPhone or iPad.
There you go. You’ve learned how to use iTunes to update the software on your iOS device.
How to Update System Software on iPhone & iPad with Finder
If you use a Mac, you won’t be using iTunes to update your iOS device unless you’re on an older version of macOS. This is because Apple split the iTunes media library into multiple apps with the macOS Catalina update. From now on, you’ll be relying on the macOS Finder to sync content or update your iPhone or iPad.
- Connect your iOS device to your Mac using the provided Lightning/USB Type-C cable and open Finder.
- Here, select your device under “Locations” and click on “Check for Update” to see if your iPhone or iPad has any available software update. You’ll be prompted to update if there’s a newer version of iOS.
As you can see here, this method is fairly similar to the iTunes method.
If your Mac is still running macOS Mojave, you can still rely on iTunes to update the system software on your iOS device. Although we were focusing primarily on the iPhone and iPad regarding software updates, you follow these methods to update an iPod Touch too, if you still have one lying around.
Although updating your iPhone or iPad is a pretty seamless procedure for the most part, updates may fail sometimes and you could lose your data. In such cases, you can restore your iOS device from a previous iTunes or iCloud backup and try updating the device again.
Do you use an Apple Watch along with your iPhone? If so, you might be interested in learning how you can update WatchOS on your Apple Watch. You can use the Watch app on your iPhone to update the software on your Apple Watch. However, if you’ve already updated to WatchOS 6, you’ll be able to install newer updates without needing your iPhone.
We hope you were able to update the system software on your iPhone and iPad without any issues. Which of the methods we discussed here did you follow to update iOS? Do share your valuable thoughts and experience in the comments section down below.