iPhone Won’t Update? Try These 6 Simple Tricks

Tech Tips

We find that one of the biggest misconceptions about smartphone maintenance is that it’s not that important to update your device when a new iOS or iOS update comes out. Updates are important because they contain all of the new information that your device needs to continue running smoothly like bug fixes, the latest version of important software, and even sometimes fun new emojis. When the iOS system updates, apps will also release updates taking advantage of any new features and ensuring that their content will work smoothly using the new iOS. If you don’t stay up to date with updates, your apps and software might not be compatible and cause malfunctions. 

A new update doesn’t do your device any good, however, if your phone won’t finish the update process. If you’re trying to update your iPhone and just can’t seem to get past the loading screen, don’t panic. There are a few troubleshooting tips recommended by repair professionals that can prevent this issue and get your phone up to date. 


6 Quick Tricks to Fix An iPhone that Won’t Update


Make sure your iPhone is compatible with the newest update. 

Unfortunately, if you’re still rocking an older Apple model, your device may not be compatible with the latest software updates. On Apple’s website, you can find a list of devices compatible with the latest iOS. For example, iOS 14 is only compatible with iPhone 6s  or newer models. So if you have anything older than the iPhone 6s, you won’t be able to upgrade the new iOS at all. If you’re still committed to that device though, that’s fine. You wouldn’t want to download a new iOS on an incompatible device because it would cause the device to drastically slow down and wouldn’t run apps and software effectively. 


Charge your iPhone.

If you have a compatible device, and your iPhone still won’t let you update your software, check your battery power. iPhones need to be at at least 50% battery or higher to start the download of an update. Apple included this functionality to prevent your phone from turning off during an update, which could end up bricking your phone. Make sure your phone is adequately charged and/or plugged in before you start a new update. A newer iPhone feature is the automatic download of new iOS’ in the middle of the night when your phone is plugged in and sitting unused. When a new update becomes available, you will get a notification asking if you’d like to approve an automatic update later that night. That way, getting an update can be as mindless as plugging your phone in before bed. 


Perform a soft reset. 

Sometimes iPhones run into an issue where the update download and installation doesn’t work successfully on the first attempt. A soft reset, also known as a ‘force restart,’ can help get things all caught up internally. To perform a soft reset, simultaneously press and hold down on the ‘power button’ and the ‘volume up’ buttons until a ‘Slide to Power Off’ option appears on the top part of the screen. Wait until the phone has been powered off for a few minutes and then use the same process to power the phone on again: hold the power and the volume up buttons at the same time until you see an Apple logo on the screen. When that appears, release both buttons. Your phone should power on as usual, but now it’s been fully refreshed and ready for another attempt at updating.


Make sure there’s enough space. 

iOS updates typically need 750 to 800 megabytes of free space available on your device before installation. To see how much free space is available on your device, go to the ‘Settings’ application on your iPhone, tap ‘General’, then scroll down to find ‘iPhone Storage’. Hit this button to see how much storage your phone currently has available. If you don’t have enough storage available, you’ll need to clear out more in order to update.


Try updating with both iTunes and the Settings application. 

In the previous step, we walked through updating using the Settings application. But if you’re getting errors when you try to update that way, try updating through iTunes instead. 


Last resort? Restore your iPhone. 

Your last resort to fix an iPhone that won’t update it to perform a full restore. This will erase everything from your phone and restore it to a factory update, but it usually also allows for a proper update. To restore your iPhone, first open iTunes. Plug in your iPhone to your computer using your Lightning cable, and click the iPhone button at the top of the iTunes application window. Hit the “Restore” button that’s located on the right hand side of your iTunes window. A window will pop up asking you to confirm that you want to restore your device. Hit confirm, and iTunes will download the newest iOS available, erase all content from your phone, then install the updated iOS version.

If you’re not sure which of these solutions is best for your device, it’s best to seek the advice of a repair professional like the helpful technicians at uBreakiFix. We’d be happy to help you figure out how to update your iPhone to iOS 14. 


This article was written by members of the uBreakiFix Creative and Marketing teams and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc.

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