Update 2: Apple has now released iOS 9.0.1 which — according to Apple — fixes the stuck ‘Slide to Upgrade’ problem for good.

Update: Apple has now added more steps to try and get your iPhone unfrozen …

Apple’s iOS 9 release went pretty smoothly all things considered, apart from initial server glitches and some performance issues on older devices. There was one big bug however, affecting a lot of people. After updating, the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch would freeze or get stuck on the ‘Slide to Upgrade’ screen. There was seemingly no way to get around it. Apple has now acknowledged the issue and published a fix … here’s the solution:

Apple’s fix isn’t convenient, it involves connecting your device via cable to a computer, but at least it works:

  • Connect your iPhone or iPad to a computer. Open iTunes.
  • Choose your device in the iTunes window. You may have to force restart (hold power and home button for several seconds) to reboot the iOS device. This should make it show up in iTunes as usual.
  • Restore from a backup made before iOS 9. If you haven’t got a recent backup, make a backup now and then restore from that.

Please note: if your device is protected with Find My iPhone, you are in more trouble and should likely seek official Apple Support. However, before the first step, try logging in to and removing your device from the Find my iPhone portal. In some circumstances, your frozen iPhone will be able to detect the protection has been removed and allow you to continue as normal. If this does not help, call AppleCare or visit an Apple Store.

Although backing up and immediately restoring to that same ‘buggy’ backup seems redundant, it actually flushes out the weirdness and when the phone boots again it will be able to complete the upgrade. Happy iOS 9!

Update: Apple has now provided additional recovery steps. If after following the above, your iPhone is still stuck on the upgrade screen, try restoring your device in iTunes. If you don’t see your device in iTunes, you need to hard-reboot your iPhone to stop it from freezing. To do this, press and hold both the Sleep/Wake and Home Button together for 10 seconds or more. When your iPhone reboots, it should now be selectable in iTunes. Restore your device to factory settings and then set your iPhone up as new. Again, you lose all your data this way but it’s Apple’s latest advice on how to resolve the ‘Slide to Upgrade’ bug.

Apple has also announced a software update is coming soon to address the ‘Slide To Upgrade’ iOS 9 bug.

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About the Author

Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.