How to Fix iOS Software Update Failed Error on iPhone/iPad

It is very likely that you may meet a Software Update Failed error when downloading iOS 13/12.4/12. Read to learn how to avoid or fix this issue.

Joy Taylor Last Updated: May. 15, 2020

It’s been a while since iOS 13 released, and the newest one is iOS 13.4.1. Apple keeps updating their operating system, the great changes of iPhone features and improvements are coming to change iPhone users’ life. However, while updating to the newest iOS 13 or iOS 12/12.4, people are very likely to get the “Software Update Failed” error while trying to install the update over the air.

Actually, this unwelcome error is not something new for iOS, and it is one of the most common issues when people download the new iOS software update. And on the earlier iOS update, people also got this error. In this article, we’ll show you the reasons and some quick methods will be introduced to fix the problem.

iOS 12 Software Update Failed Error

iOS 12 Software Update Failed Error

Also Read: How to Fix: iPhone/iPad Keeps Restarting >

Part 1. Reasons Why Your iPhone/iPad Won’t Update

Firstly, let’s start with the reasons why you’re unable to update your iPhone or iPad. Maybe one of the reasons caused the error:

  • Not enough available storage space on your device
  • Downloading the update takes a long time
  • Unable to reach the update server
  • The update doesn’t complete

The newest iOS software is iOS 13.4.1. If you have met any problems with iOS 13, you may want to know the pros and cons of iOS 13, including the iOS 13 bugs and issues you may meet so that you can make a good decision on whether to update to the new iOS on iPhone iPad.

Part 2. Methods to Fix Software Update Failed Error

Now we will show you four options to solve the Software Update Failed in iOS 13.4.1/13 or iOS 12.1/12 on your iPhone or iPad Over the Air. Hope one of them helps you with this issue.

Method 1: Close and Try Again

On the “Software Update Failed” pop-up, you will see two options: “Close” and “Settings”. Tap on the “Close” button to exit this error message, and wait for a few minutes, and then tap on “Download and Install” again. This time if it still stuck on that error screen, close it and try again.

Method 2: Wait for Few Hours

Although the new iOS is shiny and very attractive, you won’t need to rush to the great mass fervor of downloading new iOS. Just wait for a few hours and even several days, it will be much smoother to download iOS over the air. In the meanwhile, there are many things to do: back up your iDevice, reclaim enough storage space, or read iOS reviews online.

Method 3: Check the Internet Connection

iOS update needs a stable wifi connection and enough battery. So if your update takes a long time to download even update failed, you need to check your wifi connection. Firstly, restart your Wi-Fi and make sure you have a strong and stable Internet connection. If it’s still not working, here are the steps to reset network settings: Open Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.

Method 4: Manage Your iPhone Storage

Sometimes, iOS software update failed can appear if your device doesn’t have enough space to download and install an update. So you need to manage the storage to free up some space by deleting unwanted apps, photos, videos, cache, and junk files etc: Open Settings > General > Tap “iPhone Storage” to view and manage storage.

Further Reading: How to Transfer Data to Computer to Free up Space >

Method 5: Try Updating via iTunes

Because the “Software Update Failed” error seems to only happen to users who upgrade on iDevice directly, you can try upgrading to new iOS 13 or iOS 12.4/12 by using iTunes on the computer. We’ve heard many users successfully download new iOS on the computer instead of OTA.

Method 6: For Advanced Users Only – Upgrade with IPSW File

This method is for advanced users who are familiar with firmware files and is capable of manually updating to iOS software update with the IPSW file. This option can be the best way to bypass the “Software Update Failed” error message. Before you do this, remember to fully backup your iPhone.

  1. Download the correct IPSW file.
  2. Open iTunes, and connect your iPhone to the computer.
  3. In the Summary, you should see the “Restore iPhone…” button.
  4. Hold down the Shift key and click on Restore iPhone….
  5. Select the downloaded IPSW file.
  6. The iTunes restore will install the iOS version you choose on your iDevice.
  7. Then, restore from the backup you just created to get all data back.

The Bottom Line

All the tips above are trying to help you out of Software Update Failed Error. If your devices did make it, please share this post with your friends or Twitter.  If not, please tell us in the comments below.

Joy Taylor

Member of iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS & Android related issues.