Craig Federighi reveals why some people get iPhone updates before others

iPhone automatic update option
iPhone automatic update option (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • One disgruntled user emailed Apple's Craig Federighi to ask why auto-update on iPhone never seems to function.
  • Craig actually responded to explain how it works.
  • Turns out that Apple rolls out auto-updates incrementally over several weeks.

Apple's SVP of Software Engineering has revealed to one curious customer why Apple's auto-updates feature on iPhone doesn't work the way you'd expect.

One user on Reddit emailed Craig Federighi to ask about Apple's iOS auto-update system, which it uses to roll out the latest versions of iOS 15 to users on its best iPhones, including the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. 'Kechoopix' stated:

Hi! I wrote an email to Craig Federighi who is the senior vice president of software engineering at Apple to ask him about explanation how does exactly iOS auto-update feature actually works. I was inspired to ask him after reading some Reddit posts and news online about customers complaining that iOS auto-update feature working slow (sometimes even whole month after iOS update release they receive a notification) or not working at all (in my case included).

The email has the rather hilarious subject line 'iOS auto-update feature (does it even work?). Craig responded:

We incrementally rollout new iOS updates by first making them available for those that explicitly seek them out in Settings, and then 1-4 weeks later (after we've received feedback on the update) ramp up to rolling out to devices with auto-update enabled.

That means that when Apple releases a software update, some auto-update users might be waiting up to a month before they receive it on their iPhones, with the fastest way to update apparently the manual option.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9