How to: Update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 11
David Price explains how to get the latest version of Apple’s OS
iOS is the operating system software that runs on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices. It’s the underlying framework that organizes, launches and runs other apps, and can perform a number of features of its own.
Every summer at WWDC Apple unveils the latest big update to iOS; for example, in June 2017 we heard about iOS 11. Then we all get to download the new OS in September of the same year. There will be smaller point updates throughout the year: iOS 11.1 and so on.
Before updating, you need to make sure your device is certified as capable of running the new software. To run iOS 11 you’ll need one of the following: iPhone 5s, SE, 6 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus iPad Pro 9.7in, 10.5in, 12.9in (2015), 12.9in (2017) iPad Air, Air 2 iPad, 4th generation, 5th generation iPad mini 2, 3, 4 iPod Touch 6th generation
Prepare your iPhone or iPad
It’s very easy to update the OS, but before you do so we recommend that you take some steps to protect your data before you click yes on that update alert.
1. Back up your data
Use iCloud or iTunes to back up your device. This will save the day if you find that messages or photos disappear from your iPhone after the update. You should be aware that the backup will include purchased music, TV shows, apps, and books; photos and video in the Camera Roll; and device settings, but it won’t include anything you synced from your computer. To resync that stuff you’ll need to sync with iTunes. For that reason we recommend backing up to your computer as well as iCloud.
2. Save a copy of the old version of iOS
As a general principle this is a sensible idea – you may change your mind and decide you want to downgrade
from iOS 11 to iOS 10, and this will be easier if you make sure you’ve got a copy of the latest version of iOS 10 compatible with your device. Beware though that at some point Apple will stop ‘signing’ older versions of iOS so it will become impossible to downgrade.
For future reference, if you have a copy on your hard drive you will find it, by default, by following this path: youruserfolder/Library/iTunes and then select the Software Updates folder for your device. (Access the Library folder in your user folder by holding down the Option/Alt key in Finder and selecting Go > Library.)
Your Mac may have deleted this file, however. If so, launch your web browser and search for download ipsw. You’ll find a number of sites offering links to the file you need. Make sure you get the right one for the device you use.
3. Make room on your device
If you have limited space on your phone you may not be able to perform the update – it’s a hefty download. To get ready, you can remove content you no longer need, which is a good idea in any case. Go to General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage storage and remove any apps you no longer want. Alternatively, you can update iOS in iTunes and save yourself the trouble.
4. Plug in your iPhone or iPad
Make sure you plug your device into a power source. Running out of battery mid-download can foul up the update and may cause other problems.
5. Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi
Be sure you’re downloading over Wi-Fi and not via 3G or 4G, or you may end up using your monthly data allowance month.
Install iOS 11 1. Go to Settings > General > Software Update
You should get a notification informing you that a new version of iOS is available for you to download, then all you need to do is confirm that you’re happy to update your device. But if not, take a look in the Settings app and scroll down to General. Tap Software Update and force iOS to check for new updates.
iOS will think for a moment and then present you with the update, including the amount of storage space required (you may need to clear some space before downloading). Simply confirm you wish to upgrade and follow the steps.
2. Tap Download Your device may or may not have downloaded the install file automatically. 3. Leave the update to download in the background Once the download has finished you will receive a notification saying an update is available. 4. Tap Details This will take you to Settings > General > Software Update. 5. Tap Install Now Your device will now start to install the iOS update. You can choose to leave the installation for later. Settings will display a notification badge until you have installed the update. Fixes for common update problems Updating iOS is generally easy, but there are lots of small things that can potentially go wrong. 1. Update is taking too long We had a complete nightmare installing Apple’s mobile OS in the past: iOS 7 in 2013, for example, took us all night. We had hoped things might go a bit smoother in 2014 with the launch of iOS 8, but unfortunately not. Again, many faced installation dramas because Apple’s servers seemed unable to cope with the sheer number of people trying to access them to get the download. So if this was your experience it’s not a huge surprise, and you shouldn’t feel like you’re alone.
One thing is for sure: if you choose to update as soon as a new version of iOS 8 launched you’re probably in for a long wait because the first few hours of an update are always the busiest time on Apple’s servers. 2. Not enough space on iPhone or iPad All that presumes you had enough space on your iPhone to start with. As we touched upon one problem when updating your version of iOS is to find that there isn’t room on your device for the install file. One solution is to delete lots of files from your iPhone and make room, then put them back afterwards. Another option is to update iOS via iTunes on your Mac.
If you don’t need to free up a lot of space you may be happy to delete a few images from your Camera Roll or some of your music.
3. Alarm doesn’t work after update
Apple is keen for more users to install incremental iOS updates that provide fixes and small improvements. One way it encourages this is by offering the chance to install them for you overnight while you’re sleeping. If you’re prompted to update your iPhone while you’re using it, Apple now lets you choose ‘Later,’ which will then specify a time period during which it will update automatically for you if you’ve got your iPhone plugged in to a power source, which most people do overnight anyway.
When Apple prompted iPad&iPhoneUser’s own Ashleigh Macro to update to iOS 9.1 and offered that ‘Later’ option, she decided to make the most of the convenient new feature. She expected to wake up in the morning as usual to an updated iPhone. And indeed she did, but she woke up more than an hour after her alarm was scheduled to go off. The update had worked brilliantly, but her alarm had been deactivated, causing her to be very late for work.
She’s not the only one. Users have taken to social media and forums to express their annoyance with the issue, which we consider to be a bug, and many have been late for important meetings and school.
Therefore, we’d only recommend choosing the later option if you don’t have to wake up at a particular time in the morning, or if you can set another alarm on a different device.
You may need to delete some apps to free up space for the update