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How to OTA (over-the-air) update to iOS 6.1 on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Apple released iOS 6.1 to the public yesterday which includes the ability to buy movie tickets with Siri, better LTE support, and more. Since the introduction of iOS 5, Apple has allowed us to update our iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches over-the-air instead of having to plug into iTunes.

Normally your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch will alert you when an update is ready, but if it hasn't, we can walk you through how to manually trigger the over-the-air update.

Note: Apple requires your battery to be at 50% or better in order to install a software update over-the-air without being plugged into a charger.

  1. Make sure you have your iCloud password on hand. This update is different from previous ones and will ask you to provide your iCloud password upon completing the update. Make sure you have and know that before proceeding any further.
  2. Launch the Settings app from the Home screen of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  3. Tap on General.
  4. Now tap on Software update.
  5. Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch will check to see if there's an update available.
  6. You'll either have the option to Download and Install or Install Now if you're device has already downloaded the software. Tap on it.
  7. You may be prompted to plug your device in to save battery. Just tap Continue.
  8. Let your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch do its thing. It'll reboot and once it does, you should now be on the newest software version.

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

13 Comments
  • Allyson,
    What software did you use to draw those red arrows and cut circles like that?
  • Napkin for Mac :)
  • Thank you!
  • Any similar software on iPhone/iPad?
  • Not that I know of. Sorry :(
  • Just a heads up. When you finish this upgrade you will be required to re input your icloud password so be sure to know what it is unlike our household where it had been fogotten and had to be reset b4 we could get back connected
  • Overlooked that. Thanks! Added it in :)
  • It's also worth mentioning that you need to be connected to WiFi. Can't be over just any air ;)
  • Am I the only one who misses the old silver status bar?
  • Nope, I do too.
  • Seems like there are some issues with this update. Both our iPhone 5s and 2 iPads no problem. However when trying to update the iPhone 4 , it keeps saying no Internet connection.
    Hope Apple fixes this soon.
  • I have an iPhone 5 and I'm getting the same thing. I have terrible luck with OTA updates on iPhones. I had to connect to iTunes on my computer a while back to update my 4s. Over the air my a$$. Lol.
  • Tons of issues reported with iOS 6.1 update
    Hope apple fixes them soon.