Daily Tip: How to update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to iOS 5

iOS 5 for iPhone and iPad walkthrough

New to these giant software releases and wondering how to upgrade your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to iOS 5? Luckily iTunes makes the process of upgrading painless. The best part is once you're on iOS 5 you can start to receive OTA updates and you'll never have to fuss with cables and computers again.

For now though, where you're ready to update to iOS 5, here's what you need to do:

  1. Plug your current iPhone into your computer and open iTunes. Your phone should start to sync and backup automagically.
  2. If it doesn't start to sync automatically, click the Sync button in order to back up your device. (You can alternately right click your device name in the navigation bar and click back up as well. Either way will work just fine.)
  3. iTunes may prompt you that an update is available. If it does just click update after you've backed up your device (iTunes will also prompt you to back up if you haven't already.)
  4. If it doesn't, click Check for Update under the Version section.
  5. The new software will start to download and then install. Your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad will restart. Don't worry about it. Let iTunes do it's thing and update your device to iOS 5.
  6. Once it's done updating, iTunes should prompt you to do one of two things - set up as a new device or restore from a backup. Choose to restore from a backup and select the backup you just made.
  7. Once the restore is done your device will reboot. When iTunes detects it again it will start to sync back any apps and games your old iPhone had installed.

After you've done the initial manual update to iOS 5 you'll have the option to use iCloud backups in the future. Do it. It's free and it just works.

If you have any questions or have issues, check out our TiPb Forums for all the help you could ever need!

Daily Tips range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you’d like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com. (If it’s especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we’ll even give ya a reward…)

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 165 comments. Add yours.

Ruksy56 says:

Can I use one icloud account for several devices

Rockwan says:

Thats the point isnt it?

AchillesPDX says:

Yes! That's one of the great things about it. Keep in mind though, you only get 5GB of backup space per AppleID.

Ryan Meyer says:

Rumored time for update is?

Cody Hull says:

I keep reading 10AM pacific tomorrow morning

Darran says:

It's 09:15am here in the UK and nothing. It is usually released at 6pm UK time which is 10am PST.

fastlane says:

It's 09:15am here in the UK and nothing

Can you tell time? As I write this, 10AM Pacific is still three hours away and your post was five hours ago.

Sam says:

anybody got the update yet

Dwaynekelly says:

Where are you? Hasn't shown up in NYC yet.

Manuyadav G says:

hy were r u frm and u got ios5.....

Purplekittens says:

How do you update you iPod to iOS 4.3???

Reciprocal says:

the early iTunes 10.5 update allowed me to get the iOS 5 GM on my iphone a day early. waiting for the restore to finish, but everything is looking good so far.

Cody Hull says:

Not able to get update as of now in Calgary, Canada (Mountain Time)

Sky Bluu says:

Has the RAM been confirmed yet?

Hani Kader says:

still nothing in ottawa, canada

Hani Kader says:

but i did read many times, from atleast 5 different sources, 12am PST...so 3am eastern

Cody Hull says:

Hani, just wondering where you read this information? I only looked in a few places, they were 2 UK sites actually, that said 10AM pacific time.

HarryWatson says:

Interested in this as well. If anyone can shed some light that would be great

Joeyrules23 says:

Not available just yet my guess is midnight California time

123 says:

Nothing on the Eastside

123 says:

Nothing on the Eastside

Cody Hull says:

Just saw a tweet from @MacRumors "iOS3 came out at 1pm Eastern, iOS4 came out at 1pm Eastern" obviously talking about during the afternoon of the day it was scheduled to be released

Joeyrules23 says:

Ya I'll stay up till 12 then I'll toto bed and try again in the morning

Josh says:

Do you know the hurst family Cody

Cody Hull says:

Also MacRumors says people who are waiting for a midnight release, go to bed. haha

Sanicolas says:

still nothing in Beirut - Lebanon

NameRequired says:

@Allyson, could help me? My iTunes wont let me back up my iphone since long time ago. The botton simply doesnt show up

Gorj says:

nada yet (eastern time..maryland) what is going on! i downloaded itunes 10.5 still nada :/

Tglenn1964 says:

12:52 central waiting Xmen movie over then it will have to happen after I sleep awhile.

Dsa says:

nothing in the uk yet

Delrahim69 says:

11:35pm pacific and nothing yet. I thought it was released after reading this post. Wtf

Delrahim69 says:

Don't look like it's going to happen until morning. It's 12:00 am pacific and still only 4.3.5 available

kountrycorps says:

is in now midnight in California.....still waiting

Delrahim69 says:

This article says apple will release it october 12 at midnight, which is now right?
http://img.ibtimes.com/www/articles/20111010/228549_apple-ios-5-icloud-i...

blackguy says:

yeah i just clicked update right now! its says theres and update ill post a pic up as soon as i can figure out how to

askmrlee says:

iTunes 10.5 released at exactly 12:00:30 seconds Pacific Time 10/12/2011.

Firefox322 says:

in calgary, cant update...that guy that said he saw an update thing pop up is lying

Delrahim69 says:

Not going to happen, I'm going to bed. Waited up for nothing!

blackguy says:

Never mind it was stuck in a boot when checking for updates :/ itunes is playing with me

Mike Collins says:

is the update available now?

Billy says:

I got it on Monday... my friend hooked me up with his dev account... iOS 5 is sweet!

hbinhb says:

It's almost 1:30 am in California and I've only been able to download iTunes update. :( was looking forward to trying out new iOS tonight on iPhone and hooking up iPad for trying it out when I wake up. Oh well...

Nomis says:

Waiting in nz time.. Now is 10pm

Jessisings4god says:

Can update to the new IOS5 if my iPhone 4 is jailbroken & unlocked???

Anon says:

yes but you ll probably lose your jailbreak

Patrick Mooney says:

In Chicago, almost 5 am...no update. Damn!

Mikealewis says:

11 25 am in uk and nothing yet anyone got it anywhere yet.

David says:

Just checked it on my Macbook and no update yet for my iPhone 4 hopefully it will be ready by the time my iPad 2 arrives later today :) Did get my iCloud account setup.

Alannah says:

dude you hella like apple stuff. O.O

Greg Johnson620 says:

In Minnesota, no update for me!!

Dlm says:

no update for me only iCloud but no iOS 5

John says:

Itunes is not delivering ios5 yet in the central time zone. I've performed the sync and still cannot get the update. What's going on?

Jürgen St says:

expect it round 7pm cet ;D

Markecdl says:

Greece +2 time not any update yet!

Jppuijola says:

Finland still waiting..........!

Matthew says:

In Amsterdam still nothing..

Sergio says:

Did someone get it? I'm in Brazil and nothing... :-(

Brian says:

Nothing in Singapore..

Yorki says:

any idea when UK will be getting update?...nothin as yet

Vniekerkm says:

It's 9:40am here in NY and no update yet

Alnabil says:

Nothing here yet.
QA +2 GM

chiangrai says:

As I read somewhere, they likely do it when Apple support staff is sitting at their desks wide awake. 10am PST seems like a likely candidate.

Asdollah Mirza says:

we're about 70 minutes away from the update my friends

Iceytic11 says:

you might be wrong hoss...

Asdollah Mirza says:

wouldnt be the first time lol Unlike what you may think son, Ive been wrong many times before !

colash says:

9am in Mexico and still nothing... c'mon hurry up

Kiker98 says:

Still nothing in lima-peru

Antonucci5rick says:

Bs no ios5 coming anytime soon wtf y do they say today and not put it out suck bs apple sucks

Asdollah Mirza says:

You shouldnt have skipped school for this , son. lol

Manuyadav G says:

this is manuyadav.g frm chennai and now in india its 8.25pm.... but still i dont ve any update :(
:

Manuyadav G says:

apple stilll sucks with i os5

Jeff says:

So looking at this and your other post below you have an iphone and have had IOS5 for less than 5 minutes and have fully tested to come to your conclusion.
what a tw*t

Iris Wang says:

mexico still no waiting... :(

Supajau238@yahoo.com says:

We gotta wait till they release it.

Italia247 says:

Still Nothing in California.....Why do they make us wait!!! It's taking For-ev-errrrrr!!!

Knyarko20 says:

I don't think the update will be released until 10am eastern time.

Joe A says:

Nothing in Newfoundland, Canada at 1:10 pm local time.

Suefnp says:

still waiting for iOS5

Davz_11 says:

help!!!quick question how or do i need to update to 4.2.10 before ios 5. only 4.2.10 is showing in my itunes?

Altimate_One says:

Crossing my fingers for a 1:00p.m EST release.

Marcio_rossano says:

It will be out at 1PM in Ottawa, Canada

Asdollah Mirza says:

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Jer says:

Still waiting in California.

Ashokchhugani23 says:

Still iOS5 not available in INDIA. Eagerly waiting to download.

Joe A says:

So 10:00 am EST & still no ios 5!!!

summerbabe says:

i'm using a Gevey Sim to unlock my Iphone 4. is it ok if i update to iOS5?

Ody says:

Downloading now on the East Coast.

Chad Bingman says:

Started updating at 1:10PM. Hampton Roads VA Hope it goes well!

Luis Pablo says:

Updating to iOS 5 in Guadalajara, Mexico...

Alnabil says:

It's ON now.
Finalllllllly

Cjgr says:

UK -18:21 and I'm updating!!

Gman says:

Downloading now in Monterey CA

Altimate_One says:

How big is the file for an iPad? Anyone know?

Stunningrl says:

why the apps went away after upgrading to ios5??

zaeshade says:

Wasn't working at first, but figured out that it was just my cord. Up & running great now : )

Stunningrl says:

Can anyone tell me how to restore ny applications back after upgrading to ios5??

jobuk says:

Hiya,
Quick Question...
I'm selling my 3GS which was running 4.3.5 and getting the 4S on Friday.
I've done a backup and restore and setup as new on my 3GS and am sending it in the post tomorrow.
Question is-when i plug my new 4S into my iTunes-will i try to restore from my 4.3.5 software or rather import all my settings into ios 5?
Thanks

Anmari says:

Itunes says update is available but when I click update it searches and says my device is up to date. What am I doing wrong here??

Jason says:

i would like to update from a jailbroken iphone, do i need to restore to original and update?or update straight to iOS5?

Arnold Moore says:

It was a royal pain to upgrade. I had to update iTunes first on my windows XP PC. Then it wouldn't sync with my iPhone without any upgrade.
Then I rebooted. OK now it will back up but it won't upgrade. Finally I reboot a second time. Now it will upgrade my iPad (original) but my iPhone fails to upgrade.
One more reboot and I can upgrade my iPhone.
What a pain!

MEcentricus says:

I am new to the Jail Break thing and was wondering if theres an article outlining a break down of pros/cons for jail breaking verses not jail breaking or if someone would be so kind as to send me a detailed email explaining this to me I would greatly be Thankful. I also have some other questions if someone would be so willing to take the time. I am a recently disablked USMC Vet home from the war and purchased 3 months ago all IPhone4 for my family as a treat. Thank you I can be reached directly at MEcentricus@yahoo.com or IM on yahoo MEcentricus Thank you so much for your help.

Alannah says:

has anyone helped you yet? If not, I can help you.

Alexis Atikian says:

it says its taking 6 hours to download the software update, not sync it but download it.. is that right? or supposed to be like that..?

Phil says:

Doesn't work for me. iPhone tries to do a "backup" that never completes from my PC version of iTunes when attempting the iOS 5.0 update and it therefore never makes it to the new version 5.0 update itself. This is even the case after I manually force it to do a backup, which seems to complete quickly when its the only thing running. But when invoked during the update function, it hangs up and my CPU max'es out, even though its a new AMD Athlon II processor (less than a year old). Not sure what's up with this... Everything else seems to work fine and the diagnostics says everything is okay.

Stephanie says:

A lot of people seem to have this problem with that processor.

Ally says:

Is the update free? The iOS 5 one?

:) says:

its not working it says that my ipod is up to date (4.21) but its not!!!!!!!

Sherry says:

every time i try to update my phone it keeps comeing up with a error occurred.it starts backup then about half way through a msg pops up saying error,

TOOTOOBUGG says:

WHY IS IT WEN I TRY TO UPDATE IT TO THE IOS5 IT SAYS THAT THE 4.2.1 IS THE LATEST VERSION??

Stillwaiting says:

Will I lose all the progress in the games that are synced back (like if I am on level 23 of a game, will i have to start over from level 1?)

free ipad no offers says:

And if there were ever a reason to not give up your "unlimited" data plan....

Brooke says:

How long does it take?

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no says:

it said "automagically" XD

Marisa says:

What if my iPod touch 4 doesn't say I have an update for iOS 5, when I can still update to it?

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Liz says:

Does everything really back up to iTunes and restore I haven't updated yet bc I'm Afraid nothing will restore.

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