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Update iPhone Without iTunes

Updated on December 28, 2016
Max Dalton profile image

Max holds a B.S. in mass communications from SIU, an M.A. in communications from U of I, and is pursuing an MBA from Webster University.

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Requirements for Updating Your iPhone Without iTunes

Before you can install updates to your iPhone without connecting your device to your computer and updating it through iTunes, you must have iOS 5.0 installed on your iPhone. You can to see what version of iOS is installed on your iPhone by tapping "Settings," "General" and then "About." Scroll down your screen until you see Version in bold on the left side of the screen. If you are running anything less than version 5.0, you'll need to hook your iPhone back up to your computer one more time to update to the most recent version of iTunes, which will be version 5.0 or higher. After you are running version 5.0, you'll have the option to install updates wirelessly without having to connect your device to iTunes. Additionally, you can update your iPhone without iTunes if you're connected to a Wi-Fi network; you won't be able to update your device wirelessly using a 3G connection. Also, the update won't begin unless you have at least half of your battery remaining before beginning the update. Because various intangibles can contribute to a lengthy update download and installation (eg, weak Wi-Fi connection and bright screen settings), it's best to connect your iPhone to a power supply of some sort, preferably an AC outlet using the adapter that came with the device. And finally, because iOS 5.0 is only supported on the iPhone 3GS and newer models of the device, iPhone 3G and older models of the device aren't capable of being updated without being connected to a computer and using iTunes.

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Step 1: Tap your "Settings" app and then tap "General."Step 2: Tap "Software Update."Step 3: Wait for your iPhone to check for any available updates.If an update is available, tap "Download and Install." If no update is available, a message reflecting that appears on your screen.
Step 1: Tap your "Settings" app and then tap "General."
Step 1: Tap your "Settings" app and then tap "General." | Source
Step 2: Tap "Software Update."
Step 2: Tap "Software Update." | Source
Step 3: Wait for your iPhone to check for any available updates.
Step 3: Wait for your iPhone to check for any available updates. | Source
If an update is available, tap "Download and Install." If no update is available, a message reflecting that appears on your screen.
If an update is available, tap "Download and Install." If no update is available, a message reflecting that appears on your screen. | Source

Steps for Updating Your iPhone Without iTunes


  1. Tap "Settings" on your iPhone home screen. If an update to iOS is available, you'll see a red notification icon in the upper-right corner of the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to the third section in the Settings screen and then tap "General."
  3. Tap "Software Update" in the first section. The Software Update screen appears, listing the improvements and bug fixes offered in the update you're preparing to download.
  4. Tap "Install Now" at the bottom of the Software Update screen.
  5. Tap "Agree" in the lower-right corner of the Terms and Conditions screen that appears. After the update is finished downloading, the iPhone screen goes black and the update begins installing similar to the way it would if it were connected to your computer and the update were being installed from iTunes. A progress bar displays on the screen displaying the installation's progress. The iPhone may reboot one or two times while installing the various components of the update. After the update is finished, the iPhone will boot to your device's login screen.

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Updating iOS without iTunes

© 2011 Max Dalton

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    • Max Dalton profile imageAUTHOR

      Max Dalton 

      6 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Tracy,

      Your content may have been backed up the last time you did a sync between your iPhone and your computer. Alternatively, you may have backed up your content in iCloud and be able to recover it from there. Try connecting your iPhone to your computer, opening iTunes, clicking the name of your device on the left side of the program window beneath Devices, selecting the Summary tab on the right side of the program window and then click "Restore from Backup." From there, you need to select the most recent backup available to you.

      Please try that and let me know if that works. There's also the chance you backed it up to iCloud and can restore from that.

      Best,

      Max.

    • profile image

      Tracy holt 

      6 years ago

      I updated my iPhone 4 and lost all my numbers all my grandsons pics all my paid and unpaid games I was vert upset about this I not bothered about all my numbers and games it was all my pics that I upset about and now I thinking of goin bk to Samsung as they av sd cards n I no my pic,s will b safe plz b carefully doing the update I wouldn't like no 1 else lose everything like I av

    • Max Dalton profile imageAUTHOR

      Max Dalton 

      7 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Doesn't have what?

    • profile image

      vee 

      7 years ago

      but my phone doesn't have

    • Max Dalton profile imageAUTHOR

      Max Dalton 

      7 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Cristine,

      I've always been a bit afraid to jailbreak any iPhones I've owned. It sounds like the o2 guru restored your phone to its factory settings, which is really the only option you had. Unfortunately, I don't know what this means for any Cydia and other apps that were on your jailbroken device; I would think they're probably gone for good.

      Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance or bring better news.

      Max.

    • profile image

      Cristine Foster 

      7 years ago

      Is there a way to update iphone 3G with settings 3.1.1. that was originally jailbroken and grandson connected it to itunes which promptly locked it. o2 guru managed to get it back to life but with above settings which means I cannot access many fav apps even paid for ones

    • Max Dalton profile imageAUTHOR

      Max Dalton 

      7 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Vic,

      Thanks for reading. As I say in the Introduction, you have to update your iPhone to iOS 5.0 through iTunes before you'll be able to install updates to your iPhone without iTunes. In your case, it sounds like you need to install one more update through iTunes before you can do this. Also, please be sure to check out the other limitations I outline in the introduction.

      Best,

      Max.

    • profile image

      Vic 

      7 years ago

      Hi,

      When I get to number 3 in your list, there's no "Software Update" button there's only "about" and "Usage" in that first section and I can't find "Software Update" anywhere else. I have an iPhone 4..are your suggestions only for other models.

      I look forward to your reply which I would really appreciate if you could possibly send to vic@roby1.com.

      Thanks in advance.

      Vic

    • Max Dalton profile imageAUTHOR

      Max Dalton 

      7 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi GoodLady,

      You're iPhone should already be updated to iOS 5.0, so you should be able to use this feature right out of the gate.

      Enjoy!

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Helpful, thanks. Just bought an iphone!

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