Home / Tech / 'Why won't my iPhone update?': How to fix any iPhone updating issue, from low storage space to confusing error messages

'Why won't my iPhone update?': How to fix any iPhone updating issue, from low storage space to confusing error messages

iphone update error

  • iPhone updates are essential for keeping your iPhone healthy, safe, and secure. Apple releases numerous updates each year.  
  • If your iPhone has trouble installing an update, it is most likely because it’s low on memory or has an unreliable Wi-Fi connection.
  • You should also make sure that updates are configured to install automatically.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple updates the iPhone’s operating system frequently — sometimes adding new features, but more often patching bugs and fixing security vulnerabilities. It’s important to install updates when they’re released to keep your phone up-to-date.

That’s why it’s especially frustrating when your phone refuses to install an update; you’re trying to do the right thing, but a glitch somewhere in the system is getting in the way.

If you’re having trouble with updating your iPhone, there are several likely culprits.

SEE ALSO: The best iPhone for every type of person and budget

Automatic updates aren’t turned on

If your iPhone isn’t automatically installing updates when they become available, it might be because automatic updates are disabled. Here’s how to turn them on:

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap “General” and then tap “Software Update.”

3. Tap “Automatic Updates” and then swipe the button to the right to turn the feature on.

Now your phone should automatically download updates as they become available, and install them at night, when your phone isn’t in use.

There isn’t enough space on your iPhone to install the update

This is the most likely reason an update fails, especially if you have an iPhone with relatively little storage space — you’re more likely to encounter this problem on an iPhone with 32GB of memory than one with 256GB of space.

You might be able to make space for the update by deleting apps and data from your iPhone. You can follow the advice in our article “How to free up space on an iPhone that’s running out of storage.”

If it’s not practical to make enough room to install the update, you have another option. If you have access to a computer with iTunes installed, you can install the update using iTunes:

1. Start iTunes on your computer.

2. Connect the iPhone to the computer using a connection cable.

3. When it appears, click the iPhone icon in the upper left of the iTunes screen.

4. Click “Summary” in the pane on the left, and then click “Check for Update” on the right.

5. Click “Download and Update” and allow the update to be installed to your phone.

You get an error message

Sometimes the update goes awry, and you might get an error message when trying to install an update. The most common errors are “Unable to Check for Update” and “Unable to Verify Update.”

Both of these errors are usually related to either a connection problem — maybe you lost your Wi-Fi connection during the update — or a server problem back at Apple. If you see either of these errors:

1. Ensure that you have a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Look for the Wi-Fi signal icon at the top of your phone’s display.

2. Tap “Try Again” and see if the update succeeds.

3. If not, restart the update again from the beginning.

4. If it still does not work, try the update again on a different Wi-Fi network, such as at work or someone else’s home.

It’s generally not a good idea to update your iPhone on a public Wi-Fi network like at a coffee shop, since the connection is not fast or reliable enough.

The update takes a very long time

You should expect that the update will take a while — the update file must first be downloaded to your phone, and it can be very large. This isn’t necessarily an indication of a problem.

But keep these things in mind:

  • Don’t turn off your Wi-Fi or leave range of the Wi-Fi network while the update is in progress.
  • If using another device that’s sharing the same Wi-Fi network, avoid doing anything that’s highly Wi-Fi intensive, like watching a video. This will further slow down the update.
  • Be sure you have plenty of battery life left before you start the update, or plug in your phone to charge during the update.

If you follow all of these steps and the update never completes, restart the phone and try again. Unless you have a serious problem with your iPhone, this should work. If it doesn’t, you may want to contact Apple’s customer support.

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