Majority of iOS updates include exciting new features that improve the iPhone user experience. This is why getting stuck in the middle of a download while trying to update your device can be extremely frustrating.

If your iOS or iPadOS software update is stuck downloading halfway through, here are some steps you can take to get it back up and running on an iPhone or iPad.

Keep in mind that it’s normal for your iPhone to stop on an update for about 5 minutes. Please wait at least 30 minutes before starting troubleshooting.

1. Reset your network settings

One of the most common reasons for an interrupted iOS update is an unstable network. If you lose your internet connection while an update is downloading, your iPhone will automatically pause the update. The same will happen if your connection is weak or fluctuating.

Typically, your iPhone will resume updating when your internet connection improves, but that’s not always the case.

A sure indicator that your internet is the culprit for your broken update is a grayed out resume download option on the update screen.

iPhone screenshot of iOS update screen showing resume upload text grayed out

There are a number of fixes you can try to improve your network conditions:


2. Free up more storage space

If you’re running low on iPhone storage, your update may stop before it’s completely downloaded. Before you start downloading an update, your iPhone needs to tell you the file size. Typically, iOS updates are between 1.5 GB and 2 GB. But you’ll often need twice as much storage space to download and install the update.

Screenshot of an iPhone software update page showing update details, including file size

To make sure you have enough storage space for an update, go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. If you don’t have enough space on your device, try deleting some media or offloading unused apps to free up storage space on your iPhone.

If you end up with insufficient space to download the update, try updating your iPhone with a Mac. This way, you don’t need so much free space on your iOS device. Just follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone and Mac via USB.
  2. Open Finder to locate your iPhone. You may need to trust your device to proceed.
  3. Select your iPhone from the sidebar, then click Check for update.

Mac Finder showing iPhone connected with

If you have a Windows PC, follow these steps using iTunes instead of Finder.

If you find that you have enough storage space for the update, that means storage is not the issue. Let’s look at other fixes for your broken iOS update.

3. Remove beta software or incomplete updates

If you’ve already downloaded an iOS beta or an incomplete update, it will almost certainly cause your update to fail this time.

The solution is to uninstall the beta or remove the old update installer package. To do this, open your iPhone settings, go to General > iPhone Storage and scroll down the list of apps until you find Software update. Tap it, then select To delete.

Once you have deleted the update file, you can head to General > Software Update to restart the update.

4. Disable Content and Privacy Restrictions

Most people turn on Content and Privacy Restrictions to prevent themselves or someone else from installing and removing apps. This is also a great feature for parents trying to block their child from accessing certain content.

If you previously enabled content restriction for iTunes and App Store purchases, your iOS update will fail.

To lift the restrictions, go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions. You can disable all restrictions by turning off the switch at the top of the page or allow access to specific categories. For example, press iTunes and App Store purchases to create custom access rules for installing or removing applications.

5. Check Apple’s System Status Page

When Apple releases a new iOS update, iPhone users all over the world rush to download it. This can overload Apple’s servers, causing downtime that slows down your updates.

Screenshot of Apple's System Status website

This is rarely the case, but we can’t rule out the possibility that Apple’s update servers have failed. To be sure, go to Apple System Status Page and look for a green circle for update-related services like App Store, iCloud account, etc. If there is no green circle, it means there is a system problem and you will have to wait for Apple to fix it.

Complete your update

One of these fixes should help you resume downloading and installing your iOS update. If none of these tips work, you may need to try a DFU restore to completely erase and reinstall all software and firmware on your iPhone. This step will also erase all your data, so make sure you have a backup first.

Person holding an iPhone

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