Several users have reported that they are receiving error messages when they try to update their device’s (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) software wirelessly. In particular, many readers see the message unable to check for update. An error occurred while checking for a software update”.
- 1 Check Apple Servers for a Problem
- 2 Apple Servers and Friends
- 3 How to Troubleshoot Unable to Check for Update Error
- 4 Remove and download the iOS update again
Check Apple Servers for a Problem
This error often happens when Apple Servers are down. To check, visit Apple’s System Status site and see if any of Apple’s services are impacted. Services include things like iCloud, App Stores, iTunes, Software Updates, Siri, Maps, Apple Pay and so forth. Services listed in green on the System Status page are working normally. Things listed in yellow are experiencing current issues.
On the System Status page, click on the particular service name next to the yellow warning icon to get more information from Apple. This data usually includes the date, time, and short description of the reported problem as well as number or percentage of users impacted and if the issue is on-going or resolved.
And usually, you see the following message, “Users are experiencing a problem with the service listed above. We are investigating and will update the status as more information becomes available.”
If Apple System Status shows all green
- That means the problem is likely on your end, so performing the steps below should help
- Sometimes there is a small problem on Apple’s end that doesn’t show up on the System Status page. So if you try all the steps and nothing helps, check the internet for news stories about your specific problem
If Apple System Status shows some yellow
- There is a problem with Apple’s current servers and services so check if your problem is listed with the yellow caution sign
- If your issue is reported and cautioned, there’s not much you can do. The problem is way beyond just you and your device
- If you want to know more, check online for news related to your problem or to Apple OR type in a news search using search terms “apple servers down today”
Apple Servers and Friends
Apple actually stores information on Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (the Big 3 of cloud storage with AWS in a strong lead.) These are in addition to Apple’s own in-house data storage centers. These cloud services store things like our iCloud backups, photo storage, music streaming, and video downloads. Governments, Institutions, Companies, and even us small folks, are more dependent on the cloud than ever before so when an outage occurs, we notice (and maybe scream!)
Everything’s Connected–it’s the web after all
These days everything is connected, so when any of these big three cloud services experience problems or goes offline, Apple, along with tons of other companies large and small, is also affected. These outages cause a variety of symptoms from sites going completely offline, web services not available or working, website failing to load properly, an inability to unable to load assets, to major and minor slowdowns and intermittent issues.
And these problems translate all the way down to us, the actual users who no longer are able to check for software updates, download apps or iBooks, and a host of other potential downstream effects. So when you find that you are not able to update any of the apps on your iPhone or iPad today, it just might be a much larger problem with impacts around the globe.
Be mindful that when Apple Servers are down, new and recently changed content may not have updated across all your devices or at iCloud.com
How to Troubleshoot Unable to Check for Update Error
So if you determined this is not a server or Apple systems issue, the tips below should help get things back to working order. Make sure you have a stable and fast internet connection before trying to update–do not update via a public WiFi if at all possible. If unsure of your WiFi’s speed, run a speed test before trying to update your iOS.
If your iOS download takes too long
Remember that iOS downloads only as fast as your internet (Ethernet or WiFi) allow. This means downloading the update varies by the size of the update itself AND your Internet speed. Even though you can use your device while downloading the iOS update, we don’t recommend it because we want to maintain the speed of the download.
Try each step until you resolve your issue
- Try updating your software via iTunes. Updating your software may fix this problem
- Settings > WiFi and turn Wi-Fi off and then on again
- Toggle Cellular Data OFF
- Toggle Airplane Mode ON and OFF (do this a couple of time)
- Power OFF your iDevice, wait 20-30 seconds, and power back ON
- If you’re a Beta Tester, delete your Beta Profile and try again
- Go to Settings > General > Profiles and tap the iOS Beta Software Profile > Remove Profile
- Restart and try updating again
- Reset network settings by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings
- Free some space on your iDevice–your iPhone etc. may not have sufficient space for the iOS update
- Delete some Messages to get things going
- Change your DNS settings. To do that, simply tap Settings > Wi-Fi then Tap the blue arrow next to your current Wi-Fi network. Tap the “DNS” field and enter the DNS servers; 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52 (Google’s Public DNS). After this, try a software update
- Try a forced restart. Then wait for 20-30 seconds before turning your iDevice back on again. Check and see if it allows updating
- Perform a Forced Restart
- On an iPhone 6S or below plus all iPads & iPod Touches, press Home and Power at the same time until you see the Apple logo
- For iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold both the Side and Volume Down buttons for at least 10 seconds, until you see the Apple logo
- On an iPhone X or iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button. Then press and quickly release the Volume Down button. Finally, press and hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo
- Perform a Forced Restart
Remove and download the iOS update again
If this error happens multiple times, check for a partial update and remove that update. Once removed, try downloading the update again, preferably using iTunes.
Check for Partial Update
- Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage (or iPad & iPod Touch)
- Locate that iOS update in your list of apps
- Tap the iOS update, then tap Delete Update
- Open iTunes and check for an update
- Or go to Settings > General > Software Update