The automatic software update setting on your iPhone is nice, but you may not always want to install new iOS versions blindly. New updates may contain bugs and vulnerabilities, and your favorite features may even disappear. When the auto-update option is turned off, you can download and install updates manually, but there are also hidden options to be more specific about how you want to do it.
When iOS is not set to automatic update, visit Settings -> General -> Software Update and select "Download and Install." Once you enter your password to confirm, firmware will be requested from Apple's servers, then it will download to your device, prepare to update and finally install the new version. Sometimes iOS will download the latest update automatically but not install it, in which case you would press "Install" instead.
If you are not in the setup app after you start the "Download and Install" process, and sometimes when iOS downloads the update itself, when the update is ready to install, you will receive a popup notification letting you know that it will to start the installation. You can press "Install now" to skip the countdown or "Remind me later" to do so when you're ready.
But that's not all you can do. There are two invisible options for preparing iOS software updates on your iPhone; one that allows you to download the software update but not install it, and one to download and install the software update at night. These invisible controls first appeared in iOS 13, so if you toss iOS 12.4.1 or lower, you won't find them.
Use Force Touch to unlock hidden software update settings
In "Software Update" settings, if there is a new one you can get, see the size of the update, links to learn more about it and what security fixes it contains and "Download and Install" button. If you do not want to download it and then automatically install it or ask you to remind you later, long press "Download and install" with either 3D or Haptic Touch. After doing so, an action sheet will show you:
- Download Only : This will download the update and allow you to install it manually whenever you want, but it may occasionally fail to install it if it has been for a while.
- Download and Install Tonight : Downloads the update directly and installs it automatically overnight, but only if your device is connected to a power source.
"Download Only" is helpful if you do not want your iPhone to restart while using it and you expect to be away from Wi-Fi later when you are finally ready to install it. "Download and install tonight" is great for when you're busy right now but don't want to miss the latest iOS version; you can initialize it, so it downloads immediately but wait until you sleep to install.
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