Daily Tip: How to do an iOS OTA update [developers]

Daily Tip: How to do an iOS OTA update [developers]

iOS 5 developer curious how to do an over-the-air (OTA) update to iOS 5 beta 4 for iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch? Yes, Apple finally pulled the big test switch in the cloud and you can go from beta 3 to beta 4 via a svelte, under 200mb, bit differential (delta) update-in-place rather than the usual beefy 700MB+ iTunes restore of updates past. We'll show you how, after the break!

Initiating an OTA update for iOS 5 beta 4 is easy as fairly easy pie. Some reports even indicate badge and/or popup notifications will alert you to its availability (though we haven't seen any on our end... yet). To start it manually:

  1. Launching the Settings app
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Software Update
  4. (If it gives you an error pop up, just try again later. The Cloud, it strains.)
  5. Tap Download and Install
  6. Watch the progress bar! (This part depends on the speed and quality of your 3G or Wi-Fi signal. Don't be alarmed if it takes a long time or appears to jump around. Beta means beta!)
  7. Once it's finished downloading, you'll be prompted to instal (and restart) your device. If you don't explicitly hit Later or Install within a few seconds, it will install on your behalf.
  8. Apple will verify the install.
  9. That's it! You should reboot into iOS 5 beta 4 exactly how you left off in iOS 5 beta 3.

Seriously, once the download finishes it's amazing quick and smooth Apple may not have invented OTA updates (Chris swears BlackBerry has had them for ages, and Nokia likely invented them in 1812...) but if beta 4 is any indication, they're doing them right.

Tips of the day will 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 news@tipb.com. (If it's especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we'll even give ya a reward...)

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Daily Tip: How to do an iOS OTA update [developers]

22 Comments

yes it works great. very quick now and most my apps work and do go poof. I am still testing just had it in about 2 hrs. no Google + still though :(

I left mine updating over night. I woke this morning and my iPhone has the "plug into itunes" message and can't be used.. anyone else get that, or has my update gone tits up?

I KEPT GETTING THE FIRST ERROR THAT WOULDN'T LET ME EVEN SEE THAT THE UPDATE IS AVAILABLE... I TRIED ALL NIGHT AND THIS MORNING AND KEPT GETTING THE SAME ERROR... IS FRUSTRATING TO SAY THE LEAST

i did beta 4 ota yeaterday with 2-3 service bars.. it took about an hour and seems it did get stuck ar 1 minute remaining, but in the end it worked.. at first i got the error message but i tried in 45 minutes and it worked..

My Version on iPhone 4 (GSM) says 9A5259f which a quick search shows beta 3...but it says I am up to date with my software when I click software update...
Any ideas or am I wrong?

So again, why don't some of us have don't have "software update" under general settings?

NICE! I wasn't aware that the new beta had the OTA enabled! I will be updating myself just as soon as i figure out how to get iTunes working in Lion... Its a pain! Its times like this i wish the iPhone could do OTA Updates... lol