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iPhone or iPad Won’t Update? Troubleshoot & Fix iOS/iPadOS Update Issues

Troubleshooting Update Issues on iPhone and iPad

Are you unable to update your iPhone or iPad to the latest version for some reason? This is an issue that’s occasionally encountered by users every time Apple releases a new version of iOS and iPadOS, but on the bright side, it’s usually pretty easy to diagnose the issue and proceed with the update.

As mentioned above, software update issues are pretty common and the problem varies from user to user. Some people may just have trouble initiating the update due to low battery whereas a few others may have gotten their devices bricked during an ongoing update. There are several reasons why these problems occur too, ranging from things like lack of enough storage space to corrupted update files.

Regardless of the exact update-related issue that you’re currently facing on your device, you can make use of these basic troubleshooting methods to identify the cause and complete the software update on your iPhone or iPad.

Troubleshooting Software Update Issues on iPhone & iPad

The troubleshooting steps that we’re about to discuss can be used for fixing update-related issues on both iOS and iPadOS since iPadOS is just iOS relabeled for the bigger screen.

1. Restart Your iPhone or iPad

This might be the simplest troubleshooting step, but make no mistake, it should be good enough in a lot of scenarios. We say that because it’s highly likely that the issue you’re facing is just a minor software-related glitch that can be resolved with a quick reboot of the device. Whether you’re using an iPhone or iPad, simply power off your device and turn it back on. Once rebooted, try to install the update again and see if it starts without any errors this time.

Troubleshooting Update Issues on iPhone and iPad

2. Check Internet Connectivity

When you’re in the Software Update menu and you get an error message saying that your device is unable to check for new updates, the first thing you need to do is to make sure you’re connected to the internet. It’s preferable to be connected to a Wi-Fi network since you cannot install updates over a cellular network unless you live in India. Simply open Safari on your device and check if web pages are loading fairly quickly. If not, you know exactly why you’re unable to update your device.

Troubleshooting Update Issues on iPhone and iPad

3. Connect iPhone/iPad to Charger

A lot of people seem to overlook the fact that their iPhones and iPads need to have at least 50% battery left to initiate a software update. Although 50% is the bare minimum, it’s best to have at least 55% battery since it usually takes a couple of minutes for the device to prepare for the update and the battery percent could drain pretty quickly. If your iPhone or iPad is low on battery, connect it to the wall adapter and then try installing the software update again. You shouldn’t be facing any issues now.

Troubleshooting Update Issues on iPhone and iPad

4. Check Storage Space

Your iPhone and iPad require physical storage space to keep the software update file that it downloads from Apple’s servers. If your device is very low on storage space, you will inevitably run into issues while updating. Generally speaking, it’s recommended to have at least 10-15% of the total storage space allocated as free space for optimal performance of your device. This free space can be used for software updates temporarily since the files are removed once the update completes. To check the available storage space, simply head over to Settings -> General -> iPhone/iPad Storage on your device.

Troubleshooting Update Issues on iPhone and iPad

5. Delete the Update File & Re-download

If none of the above troubleshooting steps helped and you’re still unable to initiate an update, chances are, the update file is corrupted. This could be a result of frequent disconnections from the internet while your device was downloading the update among other factors. Regardless, you can just delete the corrupted update file and restart the update again. To remove the iOS/iPadOS update file from your device, go to Settings -> General -> iPhone/iPad Storage and tap on the update file located along with the list of apps that are using your storage.

Troubleshooting Update Issues on iPhone and iPad

6. Fixing Bricked iPhones and iPads During Updates

Are you one of those few unlucky users who had to come across the worst possible thing that can happen during a software update? Don’t fret, because you can still get your device fixed. In some rare instances, you could “brick” your iPhone or iPad while installing an update. This can be confirmed when your device is stuck on the Apple logo update screen without any progress for too long (hours, not minutes). When this happens, you’ll need to put your device into recovery mode in order to unbrick it and boot it up. The steps to enter recovery mode varies depending on the iPhone or iPad model you own, but before you go ahead with this, make sure you have access to a computer. Upon entering recovery mode, you should see the following screen on your device, prompting you to connect to a computer.

Troubleshooting Update Issues on iPhone and iPad

At this point, use the included cable to connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer. Windows users need to use iTunes whereas Mac users can rely on Finder to complete the procedure. You may get a prompt on your computer as soon as you launch iTunes or Finder saying “There is a problem with the iPhone (iPad) that requires it to be updated or restored”. Selecting “Update” will initiate the software update process again, except that this time iTunes/Finder will download and finish the update. On the other hand, choosing “Restore” will revert the update and you will have the option to restore your device from a previous iTunes backup. But, if you use iCloud for backups, make sure you restore it as a new device. You’ll be able to use your iCloud backup for restoration in the set-up screen.

By now, you should’ve fixed all sorts of iOS and iPadOS update-related issues that you were facing on your devices. If not, it’s time to get in touch with Apple Support as they’ll be able to assist you in a much better way in case if the hardware’s at fault, by any chance.

Did this work to resolve your update issue? Which troubleshooting method worked for you? Share your experiences and advice in the comments.