Staying up to date with software can sometimes be a confusing and frustrating task. Fortunately it’s a straight forward process with iOS once you get the hang of it. Follow along for how to make sure you’re on the latest iOS version and how to update iOS on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

If you know you’d like to update your software, skip below. If you’re curious about when to update your devices, or have some hesitations, keep reading. One of the most common concerns is that updating a device’s operating system will cause a problem. Choosing when to update iOS is largely up to personal preference, but here are a couple of things to keep in mind…

Operating system updates provide bug fixes, security updates, and introduce new features. While it’s possible that installing an update may cause an issue, it’s also possible that not installing an update could cause problems. This is a good reminder that anything can fail and you should have a backup strategy in place.

Even robust systems that power the internet like Amazon Web Services can and do fail and even though Apple devices are less susceptible to viruses and malicious attacks, they’re not immune.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to install updates as soon as they are available. However, if you’re a bit hesitant, you can wait a few days or a week to see if others run into any problems. Just don’t wait too long as this can cause more security and compatibility issues the longer you postpone.

You can always keep an eye on our homepage to see if there are issues with an update, we’ll typically know within a few hours of the software release.

How to update iOS on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Usually the easiest way to update iOS is wirelessly and directly to your device through Settings. However, you can also perform updates through iTunes (connect your device to your computer with your Lightning to USB cable→ open iTunes and click on the icon of your device → click Summary, then click Check for Update).

Whichever method you choose, make certain to have a backup of your device before moving forward. Below are the quick steps to updating iOS followed by a detailed walkthrough (following these steps will also tell you if you’re running the latest version of iOS):

  1. Find and tap on the Settings app (make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi)
  2. Tap on General → Software Update
  3. Tap Download and Install

How to update software on iPhone and iPad

You may not always see the red badge indicating that a software update is available as shown in the images above.

How to update iPhone and iPad software

Once the software update appears, you can tap on Learn More to discover what new features and bug fixes are included. Tap on the link just above Learn More to read a detailed description of the update that will include all of the security fixes.

How to update iPhone and iPad software

Tap on Download and Install, enter your passcode (if applicable) and wait for the download to complete.

How to update iPhone and iPad software

Once the software update has downloaded to your device, you’ll have the option to install the update now or wait until later. If you select Later you’ll get the choice to update your device while you’re sleeping or to receive a reminder later (if you choose Update Tonight make sure it’s plugged in).

For more help getting the most out of your Apple devices, check out our how to guide.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.