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How to Update your iPhone’s iOS and Not Screw It Up

04.09.2017 0 kristia erasquin
How to Update your iPhone’s iOS and Not Screw It Up

Apple remains true to its cause of continuously developing their iPhone products and services. This is why Apple periodically releases new versions of your iPhone’s operating system and requires you to update. But why do you need to update? The most obvious reason is to fix the errors and bugs in a previous iOS version. Another one is so you could maximize the functionality of your iPhone especially when its apps and features are also constantly enhanced.

So we recommend that you update your iPhone, but do so cautiously. You can do the actual iPhone update in a breeze. However, preparing for the update takes time and requires your full attention, plus effort so you wouldn’t mess up anything when you update. Here, we’ve covered the steps you need to follow to prevent iPhone update problems, the options you have for updating your iOS, as well as tips and advice for a safe and secure way of doing the entire process.


The first thing you have to know before an iPhone update is if you really need one. Some iOS versions might be too much of a battery hog for your iPhone model or too slow for its memory. For this, you will have to understand the capacity of your iPhone model and what iOS version optimizes your device’s functions.

iphone update check ios version  iphone update check ios version

You may currently have the best iOS for your iPhone and not know it, so you will have to check it first. Go to Settings > General > About > Version. Once you confirm your iOS version, check below for specifications on your phone model. Note that we covered only the most popular iPhone generations here, namely iPhone 5, 6, SE, and 7.

1. For iPhone 5 & 5c

iPhone 5 & 5c variants originally come with iOS 6, but they have come a long way to accommodate iOS 10. The fastest and most stable version we can recommend for the 1 GB memory of your iPhone 5 is iOS 10.3.3. It has fixed bugs that abnormally drains your battery in iOS 10.3.2 and has solved issues about bad cellular network connection in earlier iOS 10 versions.

2. For iPhone 5s, 6, SE & 7

You may try out iOS 11 Public Beta 9 which was just recently released at the time of this writing. But take note that, as with all trial versions, Beta 9 will surely have bugs and errors. The only good thing about Beta 9 is it was released only days after Beta 8, so we can guarantee that it has fixed the issues in Beta 8. If you are not willing enough to sacrifice your iPhone to the Beta program, you might as well stick to iOS 10.3.3 until the sure-fire fully functioning iOS 11 is released in September.

Jailbreak Alert! Recent iOS versions from 10.3.2 will cause any jailbroken iPhone to breakdown. They are specifically developed to target jailbroken iPhones, and if you were thinking of updating to these versions, you must stop yourself. The jailbroken iOS 10.3.1 in the internet is your best choice until the latest versions are jailbroken.


You know this: the golden rule before making any drastic changes on your iPhone is to back-up. Backing-up for an iPhone update is imperative because through it you do not only secure a copy of your data but also a copy of the current operating system itself. With this, you’ll have a safety net for when you suddenly lose data after updating or when the new iOS does not work on your iPhone.

Here, you have two options for backing-up: on iCloud which will require a subscription and on iTunes on your pc which comes for free.

1. On iCloud

iphone update icloud backup

a. go to Settings > iCloud > Back Up (iOS 10.2 and older)
b. make sure iCloud Back Up is on
c. tap Back Up Now.
d. check if back-up is successful at Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage > device name

2. On iTunes

iphone update itunes backup

a. turn off iCloud on your iPhone
b. plug your iPhone to your Mac or Windows pc
c. launch iTunes in your pc if it does not automatically appear
d. click on your iPhone’s icon
e. on the Summary tab, go to Backups
f. tick the This computer radio button
g. click on Back Up Now

If you wish to save personal data like passwords of your accounts, tick the Encrypt iPhone backup box before clicking Back Up Now.

You may also want to Archive your back-up, so it will not be overwritten by the next back-ups.

iphone update archive backup on itunes

a. go to iTunes Menu > Preferences
b. click on the Devices tab
c. right click on the latest back-up or your preferred backup point
d. select the Archive option.


The next thing that you will have to secure before updating is your apps. You cannot skip this step because your apps may end up not working at all after the iOS update.

There are two reasons as to why this might happen: the apps merely need an update to support the new iOS version or the apps’ own processing capacity, usually at 32-bit, is weak for your new iOS. The latter problem applies to iOS 11 updates because this version only supports 64-bit apps. In any case, you can ensure that your apps are always compatible with your chosen iOS if you do these two steps:

1. Check the compatibility of your apps to the new iOS

iphone update check incompatible 32-bit apps

For updating to iOS 11 from iOS 10.3, you can check which apps are still in 32-bit at Settings > General > About > Applications. The apps that will appear on the list are those operating at 32-bit that doesn’t have any more available updates. These apps will no longer run on iOS 11, but they should be fine if you stick with iOS 10.

2. Update the apps at the App Store

If you don’t see your apps on the dreaded incompatible apps list, this means they can still be updated for iOS 11. Also, as a general rule, you must keep your apps updated to make sure that they will work fine on any operating system.

iphone update update apps

a. go to App Store > Updates tab
b. tap Update on every app or you may simply tap Update All

You may also opt to enable automatic updating for your apps:

iphone update automatic apps update

a. go to Settings > iTunes & App Store
b. on the Automatic Downloads area, turn on Updates


iPhone updates may come in large files sizes and require even larger storage for installation. Especially if you’re updating from a really old iOS version like iPhone 5’s built-in iOS 6, expect that the update size will be in gigabytes. Because of this, you might need to delete files and apps to accommodate the update. Follow these steps to manage your iPhone storage for an iOS update.

1. Check the size of the update

iphone update check update size storage requirement

a. go to Settings > General > Software Update
b. check the size of the update next to the iOS icon
c. see below Learn More if there is notification about the need to clear more space

2. Ensure there is enough memory space in your device before installing

If there are no notices below Learn More, it means you’re good to go with the installation and you can proceed to the next section. Otherwise, you may try these steps to manage your storage:

 iphone update manage your storage before updating

a. go to each file’s location (pictures, music, documents, etc.)
b. press down the individual file’s icon or tap Select to choose multiple files
c. tap Delete button


iPhone update manage storage before updating

a. go to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage
b. tap on the arrow > on each app you would like to manage

Here’s where backing up your iPhone becomes handy. You may delete these files for the update then restore them later from back-up. Alternatively, you may proceed to updating your iOS via iTunes if you want to skip managing your storage altogether.


After prepping and finding out that your current iOS is one update away from the best version for your iPhone, you’re ready for your iPhone update. But note: if you’re updating to the latest iOS version in the market, update a few days or weeks after the iOS’ release to avoid the download traffic. Here are the steps and options for updating your iOS:

1. On your iPhone

Your iPhone may not automatically notify you about a new iOS. When that happens, follow these steps:

iphone update download and instal ios on your iphone ota

a. make sure that your iPhone is plugged to a power source and have stable internet connection
b. go to Settings > General > Software Update
c. tap Download & Install when your iPhone has not downloaded the update yet
d. or tap Install Now when the download is already saved on your iPhone
e. when prompted, enter your iPhone passcode or touch the iPhone’s home button for Touch ID

2. Via iTunes

If you find managing your storage tedious or if after deleting files your storage is still not enough, you may update using iTunes. Via iTunes, you do not have to worry about the install size or your storage space because it somehow allows you to install the update regardless of your available storage. Here’s how you can do iPhone update via iTunes:

iphone update via itunes

a. turn off iCloud on your iPhone
b. plug your iPhone to your Mac or Windows pc
c. open iTunes if it does not automatically pop up
d. go to the Summary tab of your device icon and see if there are any available updates indicated
e. if none, click on Check for Updates
f. click on Update
g. verify by clicking Continue > Update
h. click Next > Agree for the terms and conditions
i. when prompted, enter your iPhone passcode or touch the iPhone’s home button for Touch ID


Take note that after updating, your iPhone’s screen will only show the Apple logo with a line below indicating its reboot progress. After reboot is complete, your iPhone will prompt you with usual set-up instructions. Respond to the prompts and you’re all set with your new iOS.


The deal with iPhone operating systems is this: the latest versions are presumed to be the best for your iPhone. But we all know that’s not always the case. The problem is Apple’s too quick to outdate any previous versions of their iOS releases. Thus, when you’re not happy with your recent update, it’s almost impossible to revert to your preferred iOS.

That’s why downgrading will only work for old iOS versions that are still authorized by Apple. Check out these options if you wish to downgrade your iOS:

1. Via iTunes using IPSW file

Here’s another reason why you must back-up your iPhone and archive. When you do so via iTunes, it will save an IPSW file which is essentially your backed-up iOS. iTunes can use this file to restore you iPhone to a previous iOS version. If you did not back-up while using your preferred iOS, you may search for an IPSW file from the internet. Try out these steps:

iphone update downgrade ios with ipsw file

a. connect your device to your Mac or Windows pc
b. open iTunes if it does not automatically appear
c. go to the Summary tab of your device icon
d. Option+Click (Mac) or Shift+Click (Windows) the Check for Update button

iphone update downgrade ios with ipsw file

e. browse the IPSW file of your preferred iOS version from its location
f. click Open

2. Via iTunes through Recovery Mode

Downgrading your iOS through Recovery Mode can be tricky. This is because your iPhone will automatically be factory-reset after downgrading. We recommend this option only if IPSW files are no longer authorized.

a. make sure that you have the latest iTunes software at iTunes > Check for Updates
b. for iPhone 6 and older models, hold down the Sleep/Wake button and Home button
c. for iPhone 7, hold down the Sleep/Wake button and volume down button

iphone update downgrade ios through recovery mode

d. do not let go of the buttons until Connect to iTunes appears on your iPhone
e. connect your device to your Mac or Windows pc

iphone update downgrade ios through recovery mode

f. when iTunes notifies you that there is a problem with your iPhone, click Restore
g. click on Restore and Update

Once your iPhone is reset, you may opt to set it up as a new device or restore it from your iTunes or iCloud back-up.

Learn about how to use your iPhone's AirDrop, too!

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