How to update your iPhone and iPad: The ultimate guide

Iphone 12 Pro Ios 15 Work Focus
Iphone 12 Pro Ios 15 Work Focus (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Like clockwork, each new year brings new versions of iOS and iPadOS. If you've owned Apple devices for a few years, you probably already know how to update your iPhone and iPad, though those newer to the platform might not have gotten the hang of it just yet.

Whether you're just looking to find out what's new in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, or you want to know more about how to backup your device, update it, and troubleshoot any installation problems, we're here to help.

What's new in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15

Ios 15 Focus Hero

Ios 15 Focus Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 have been out in the world for a little while and have seen a few updates since their initial releases back in the fall of 2021, too. Tentpole new features include SharePlay, Focus modes and notification improvements, Safari updates, Live Text, and more.

Check out our iOS 15 review and iPadOS 15 rview for an in-depth look at Apple's latest mobile OS releases. Interested in what's coming next? Our iOS 15 beta coverage is also worth peeping at.

Which iPhones and iPads are compatible with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15?

iPhone 13 Review Hero

Iphone 13 Review Hero (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

As technology improves, older devices have a difficult time keeping up with major software changes. That's why Apple puts a limit on how old your device can be and still be compatible with new operating systems each year. That being said, if you are wondering which iPhone models run iOS 15 or if your iPad will work with iPadOS 15, you may be pleasantly surprised.

If your device is running iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 now, then it will be compatible with version 15 so you can continue with preparing your devices and proceeding with the update as outlined below.

How to back up your iPhone or iPad

iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro (Image credit: iMore)

Your iPhone or iPad store all your photos, messages, health data, documents, accessory setups, settings, and more. In other words, your memories and your preferences.

Your data is important, even precious, and should be treated as such. Before you download any software, you should always back up your iPhone or iPad.

How to download and install iOS 15

Ready to take the plunge and update your device? Here's everything you need to know about downloading and installing iOS updates on your iPhone or iPad.

How to update from an iOS beta to the official release

iPhone beta profile

iPhone beta profile (Image credit: iMore)

If you've decided that it's time to get off the beta train and move back to the stable public releases, then we've put together a guide to updating from the iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 beta to the official release that will show you how. You can re-enroll your device onto the beta program at any point if there's something new you need (or just want) to test out.

Get up to date

If your Apple device supports the latest software version, there's usually very little reason to avoid updating iOS or iPadOS if you want the best iPhone or iPad experience. Though not all features will be available to all devices, particularly older models, you'll still benefit from most of them as well as the newer security fixes at the very least.

Updated February 2022: Updated for iOS 15 public release and iOS 15.4 beta release.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).