How to fix ‘unable to check for update’ error on iPhone and iPad

Unable to check for update

Installing iOS and iPadOS updates is usually a simple and seamless process. Thanks to over-the-air update support, users can download a software update on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch by simply going to Settings > General > Software Update. However, sometimes things might not go as planned and an ‘Unable to Check for Update’ error might show up. This could happen due to a number of reasons. Here are a few methods to fix this error.

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Whether you are on iOS 12, iOS 13 or iPadOS 13, if you see this error, you can follow the below steps to resolve it.

iPhone 11 unable to check for update

Delete and reinstall the update

It might be possible that your download got disrupted which corrupted the files. The update can be removed to force your iPhone or iPad to re-download the firmware from scratch. Remove the update by following these steps:

  • Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage (or iPad Storage)
  • Scroll down to find the iOS update. Tap on it.
  • Tap on ‘Delete Update’ and confirm when the dialogue appears.

Once deleted, go back to Settings > General > Software Update to re-download.

Check network settings

Alternatively, you may need to check the network settings on your device to verify if the Internet is working fine:

  • Try browsing in Safari to verify if the Internet connection is stable.
  • Check DNS settings by going to Settings > Wi-Fi and selecting your current network. You may want to try Cloudflare’s or Google’s DNS addresses to see if it helps.
  • Try disable and enabling your Wi-Fi.
  • Try connecting to another network and see if the error goes away.

Check Apple’s System Status

If the issue persists, you might want to check Apple’s System Status page. Though it happens rarely, it might be possible that Apple’s servers are down or going through maintenance. Such an issue would be reflected on Apple’s System Status page. You would have to wait until Apple resolves the issue at their end.

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Manually install iOS using iTunes

If none of the above methods help, the next step would be to manually install the update using iTunes. Make sure that your Mac or Windows PC is running the latest version of iTunes and then follow the below steps:

  • Connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to a Mac or Windows PC, using a Lighting or USB-C cable (depending on your device).
  • Open iTunes (or Finder, if you are on macOS Catalina), and click on your device in the sidebar. Click on ‘Summary’ and click ‘Check for Update’. This will download and install the latest iOS or iPadOS update to your device.

Alternatively, you can also manually download the ISPW firmware file for your device and install it using iTunes. This can be done without losing any data. You would have to follow the same steps as listed above, but when clicking on ‘Check for Update’, do the following:

  • On Mac, hold down the Option key and click ‘Check for Update’
  • On Windows, hold down Shift key and click ‘Check for Update’

This will open up the browse dialogue box. Point it to the IPSW file that you downloaded for your device and let the installation process complete.

Did you face this ‘unable to check for update’ error issue when updating your device to the latest version of iOS or iPadOS? Let us know in the comments below if any of the above solutions helped you out.

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