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Update Apple iOS

How to turn on automatic updates can differ depending on your operating system and your software applications (“apps”). This guide walks you through turning on automatic updates on an iMac, MacBook, iPhone & iPad.

Why updates are important

Software updates improve the security of your devices. They help fix security flaws or vulnerabilities that have been found in your device’s software. Cybercriminals and malware can use these vulnerabilities to access your device or personal information. New vulnerabilities are discovered and fixed all the time, so install updates regularly to keep your devices secure.

Much like a thief attempting to break into a home, cybercriminals will always look for the easiest way in. If your software is not updated regularly, it is like leaving your front door unlocked. 

Automatic updates

Turning on automatic updates is the easiest way to keep your device up-to-date and secure. Automatic updates are a “set and forget” feature that installs updates as soon as they are available. The ACSC recommends turning on automatic updates wherever they are supported. Sometimes, updates can’t install automatically so you should still keep an eye out for update notifications.

Older devices and software

If your device, operating system or apps are too old, they may no longer be supported by the developer. When devices and software reach this ‘end of support’ stage, they will still work, but will not receive security updates. This could leave you vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The iPhone 7 is an example of an older device that has reached end of support. 

If your operating system or other software are no longer receiving updates, you should consider upgrading to a newer version or switching to an alternative product to stay secure.

To determine the model of your device and whether it still receives updates, go to your Settings, tap General, then tap About. It will show the name and the number of the model. For more information on different iPhone models, refer to Apple’s guidance.

You can check whether your device is supported by the current iOS version or the future major version.

Turn on automatic iOS updates

Operating system updates for iOS can usually be installed automatically. To turn on automatic updates:

  1. Open Settings.

  

Screenshot of iphone screen
  1. Select General.
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  1. Select Software Update.
Screenshot of iphone screen
  1. Select Automatic Updates.
Screenshot of iphone screen
  1. Ensure Download iOS Updates and Install iOS Updates are turned on. Your setting should look like the screenshot below.
Screenshot of iphone screen
  1. Software updates should automatically install overnight. Most devices must be charging and connected to Wi-Fi to complete the update. However, you can also update over cellular in some cases, for example on 5G if your carrier allows it, if your data plan is large enough, and you are set to “Allow more data over 5G".

Find out more information on how to update your Apple device.

Manually install iOS updates

You may need to manually check for and install new iOS updates on your device. You should do this regularly if you don’t have automatic updates turned on

You may receive a notification to update your device. In these cases you can simply select Install Now on the notification to start the update.

Alternatively, follow these steps to manually download and install iOS updates.

  1. Open Settings.
Screenshot of iphone screen
  1. Select General.
Screenshot of iphone screen
  1. Select Software Update.
Screenshot of iphone screen
  1. Your device will check if there are any updates available. If an update appears, select Download and Install.
Screenshot of iphone screen

You may find you are unable to install the update due to a lack of available storage space on your device. If so, you will see a warning at the bottom of this screen. Delete unwanted items such as unwanted photos, videos and other data from your iPhone to create more space then try again to download and install the update.

Turn on automatic app updates

App updates don’t just give you new features, they often include security improvements too. The ACSC recommends you enable automatic updates for the apps on your device. You can do this through Settings menu.

  1. Open Settings.
Screenshot of iphone screen
  1. Select App Store.
Screenshot of iphone screen
  1. Turn on App Updates under Automatic Downloads.
Screenshot of iphone screen

You can also update your apps manually. For more advice, see Apple’s guidance on How to manually update apps on your Apple device.

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