How to upgrade iOS on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad using Software Update

How to install iOS 8 on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad using Software Update

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that isn't running the most current version of iOS, it's a good idea to update. Not only do new versions of iOS bring lots of new features, but typically bring bug fixes and security enhancements, which you'll want in order to make sure your data is as secure as possible. If you aren't sure how to update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, follow along and we'll walk you through how to perform an OTA (over-the-air) software update in just a few steps!

How to update your iPhone or iPad using OTA (over-the-air) Software Udpate

Before beginning, be sure that you create a backup of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch just in case something were to go wrong. While it isn't common, it can happen. So always back up first. 1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. 2. Tap on General. 3. Tap on Software Update. 4. The new iOS 8 update should show up. Tap on Download and Install. 5. Type in your passcode when prompted. You'll only have to complete this step if you have a passcode. 6. Agree to any terms. 7. You can continue doing what you were doing, iOS will prompt you when the update is ready to be installed. 8. Alternately, you can go back into Software Update and tap on Install when you're ready to install the update.

How to upgrade iOS on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad using Software UpdateHow to upgrade iOS on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad using Software Update

That's all there is to it! Your iPhone or iPad will start downloading the update and will immediately install it and reboot. Once it does, you'll be running iOS 8! Let us know in the comments what iOS 8 features you're most looking forward to!

See also:

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

More Posts



← Previously

iOS 8 is out now - everyone, go get it!

Next up →

How to update from iOS 8 beta or GM to official release!

Reader comments

How to upgrade iOS on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad using Software Update


Wanted to update this way but apparently it needs 5.8 GB of free space to do so! Given that I'm always skirting the edge of my available storage, this isn't feasible so I guess iTunes is the way forward for me...

Also note the iOS 8 update requires a TON of free space, even though the download is only 1.1GB. My iPhone 5s required just under 6GB free and my iPad Mini Retina required just under 7GB free. I imagine the iPad Air will be the same when i try to do that one when i get home.

Yeah, I had to delete a couple of games I never played in order to make room for the update. Lots of new stuff to look forward to but I guess I'm most looking forward to the new keyboard. I'll probably install swiftkey when it's all said and done.

The update downloaded OTA just fine but I've been stuck on "Preparing Update..." for about 30 minutes.

Update: Phone is now finished updating. Process took about an hour and a half. Don't know if it makes any difference but this was on a 16gb 5S.

Should also state the if you are jailbroke, DO NOT do the OTA update, update using iTunes (after you backup your data)..

I have been sitting at 1 hour to 2 hour remaining since 9:50am. Goes 1 hour for a bit then 2 then back to 1 then back to 2. Servers must be Hammered.

Mine required 4.7 Gigs Free on a iPhone5 OTA.

I did my 5s earlier and will do my iPad over night tonight. iOS 8 still isn't showing in iTunes for me but I managed to OtA it for my iPhone and I'll do the same for my iPad.

I have been downloading ios8 since's now about 10:20pm and I only see the "APPLE"....i can't even turn off my phone to start 4.7GB of storage to start the process. (iphone5)

I've tried about 5 times with no success, I'm ready to give up this is crazy! I have a Iphone 5s with plenty of storage. I'm not sure what's wrong

I started the update as well on my iPad first and if all went well was going to do my iPhone 5S, my downloading was on it's 4th hour during the middle of the night, I was able to shut my ipad off and the download was erased and I'm going to restart in a few days. This is just ridiculous. Never had this issue with any other update.

In India the OTA - broke the 3G toggle (present since iOS 7 on LTE enabled devices)- reverted back to 7.1.2 primarily for that reason. Don't know if it's Apple or the Carriers - as my Carrier doesn't provide LTE. Same problem persists for users in Turkey & some other countries.

I keep tryin to update but everytime I go to general and system update or whatever it always says "up to date 6.1.6" or something like that.

I'm new to the whole apple experience. I just bought an iPad Air and have been trying to update it to the new system. It starts to download and takes about an hour before I get an error message saying it couldn't download. I'm very frustrated with it at this point. I only got it because I brought my 5 year old an iPad for her birthday and wanted to be able to help her if I could. Now I'm starting to regret my gift. What should I do?