How to Download iOS Updates Over the Air (OTA) or Using iTunes

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Mar 8, 2017
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If you recently bought an iPhone or iPad, then we will show you how to download new iOS updates over the air (OTA) or using iTunes.

Latest iOS Updates Bring with them New Features, Bug Fixes & Performance Enhancements – Here’s How to Download Them

Software updates are an immense blessing since they bring with them a ton of new features in certain cases. But mostly, bug fixes and performance related updates are the order of the day. This means you should install the latest updates without giving a second thought, until or unless you have other reasons for holding yourself back.

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The great thing about iPhone and iPad is that software updates are pushed to everyone around the globe at the same time. Unlike Android updates which that span up to a few months since necessary carrier approvals are required before going ahead. Also, iOS updates are extremely easy to get hold of. Everything happens over the air and it’s an easy process to follow. But for those who require it, you can download iOS updates using iTunes as well, Apple’s music and iOS management software for Windows and Mac.

Find Out if You Have an iOS Update Available

There are two ways to know if you have a new iOS update available to you. You will either see a pop-up notifying you about it, or you will see a badge next to the Settings app like the one below.

Keep one thing in mind though – you must be connected to a cellular network with data enabled or WiFi in order to receive software updates. If there’s a software update available and you are not connected to either, then you won’t even be notified about new updates.

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Downloading iOS Updates Over the Air (OTA)

This is the simplest way to download an iOS update as everything happens over the air and that too using WiFi. To begin, follow the steps outlined below.

1. Tap on the Settings app on your home screen. It’s an icon that looks like a cogwheel.

2. Scroll down a little and you will see an option called General. Tap on it to open.

3. In the list of available options, select Software Update. If there is a software update available, it will appear here.

4. Once you see a software update, like the one below, tap on Download and Install.

5. As soon as the download is complete, you will see a prompt asking you to install the update. Take action which you think is necessary for the time being. You can delay the update if you so wish.

Keep one thing in mind here: you cannot download a new iOS update over a cellular network although you might be notified about it. Furthermore, if your device’s battery is below the 50% mark, the installation process just won’t happen. It’s best to keep your iPhone or iPad plugged into an AC power outlet during the entire process.

Downloading iOS Updates Using iTunes

This process is a bit more complicated, but we will cover it nonetheless. Why? Because if you are in an environment where there’s no WiFi, this means you cannot download iOS updates over the air. However, you can resort to the help of iTunes in that case.

  • To start off, make sure you have iTunes installed on your computer. Head over to this link in order to download: apple.com/itunes
  • You will be required to connect your device to your computer using a Lightning cable. If you have an older device, then be sure to source yourself a 30-pin connector cable.
  • Also make sure you have backed up everything just in case nothing goes wrong. You can use iTunes or iCloud for that matter.

1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer using the above mentioned USB cables.

2. Now launch iTunes.

3. You will see your device pop up at the upper left hand corner of iTunes. Click on it to view more options.

4. Over here you should see two options at the top – Check for Update and Restore iPhone. Click on Check for Update to see if there are available updates. If there are, simply download and install them.

Remember: DO NOT click on Restore iPhone as it will erase everything off your device. Only go for this option if you want to reset your iPhone or iPad completely for some important reason. Especially when you are selling off your device to someone else.

If you want to learn how to perform a clean restore, then be sure to check out the guide posted here: How to Clean Install iOS 10 Final on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch.

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