Trying to update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod and keep getting the message that your device is unable to install the update? Or seeing error similar messages like this update can’t be installed, unable to verify the update, stuck on verifying the update, or failed verification because you are no longer connected to the internet?
If so, you are not alone! Quite a few of our readers experience these installation problems and errors when trying to update to the latest iOS 13.x or iPadOS version.
So let’s take a look at how to fix these installation errors and get your iPhone, iPad, or iPod updated so you can explore the latest iOS and iPadOS!
- Quick tips
- What’s the deal with iOS 13 and iPadOS? Why does the iPad get its own version?
- Another big change is no more iTunes in macOS Catalina!
- Stages to a successful iOS Update
- Check if your device is compatible with iOS 13 and iPadOS
- Lack of preparation for the update
- Errors preventing downloading, verifying, or installing the update
- Forgetting to follow post-install procedures
- How to update from iOS and iPadOS Beta versions to the official public versions
- Wrap up
- Reader tips
Follow these quick tips to troubleshoot all your iOS 13 and iPadOS installation issues
- iOS 13 and iPadOS are big files–not having enough space on your device is a major roadblock to folks updating their iDevices
- For insufficient space warnings, try freeing up some space on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod by offloading or removing unused apps, music, photos and videos, and other space hogs
- iOS 13 and iPadOS require about 3.5-4 GB to successfully download and install
- We recommend you have around 5-7 GB free to have sufficient space for downloading and expanding the iOS 13 and iPadOS update files
- Make sure you free about 10% more space than the update itself–this extra space helps the update perform actions faster and makes it less prone to errors
- Keep your device connected to a power source for the entire update process
- If you use a VPN, temporarily disconnect your device from it (toggle off) and try updating again
- Try connecting to 2.4GHz WiFi network instead of a 5 GHz WiFi network
- Toggle WiFi off and on to refresh to your network
- Forget your WiFi network and then add it back into your device, then update
- Reset your network settings, add your network back in, and try again
- Check Apple’s System Status website for any server outages or issues
- Force restart your iDevice(s)
- Delete the iOS Update file, then download and install it again
- If you have difficulty updating iOS over the air using Settings > General >Software Update, try macOS Catalina’s Finder app or iTunes for Windows PC and macOS Mojave and lower
- If using macOS Catalina, open your Finder app and select your iPhone from the sidebar then backup first using Back Up Now and update after completing the backup
- For folks using a Windows PC or macOS Mojave and lower, update iTunes before using iTunes to update your device(s)
- Software Update Problem: Unable to check for update. An error occurred while checking for a software update, how to fix
- No More iTunes. How to use Finder in macOS Catalina to Sync and Restore iPhone
- How & Why You Should Update Your iPhone or iPad Using iTunes
- Cannot install watchOS 6 on Apple Watch? Check these tips out
What’s the deal with iOS 13 and iPadOS? Why does the iPad get its own version?
And while the iPad shares a lot of features with the iPhone and iPod, it’s larger size opens up many more opportunities and user interactions.
These iPad only features include things like working in multiple apps on-screen with slide-over and split view. And the iPad supports productive multi‑touch gestures for multitasking using your finger or the Apple Pencil and features options you don’t see on iPhone or iPod like drag and drop and even opening up multiple instances of the same app!
New to iPadOS is Sidecar–a feature that works with macOS Catalina to extend or mirror your Mac’s workspace onto your iPad.
Another big change is no more iTunes in macOS Catalina!
Apple decided to finally retire iTunes with macOS Catalina.
While that may not seem like a big deal, it’s actually quite profound. For those of us that backup regularly to iTunes and our Macs, there’s a whole new way of doing backups, updates, restores, and so forth using the Finder App in macOS Catalina.
No iTunes? No problem!
- Find all your iTunes music in the Apple Music app–playlists are there too
- Looking for your Movies and TV shows? Open the Apple TV app. Make movie and TV purchases or get a rental in the TV App too!
- Locate all your Podcasts in the Apple Podcasts app for Mac
- Listen to all your Audiobooks and make purchases for new audiobooks in the Apple Books app
- Use Finder to update, backup, restore, and sync your iPhone, iPad, and iPod–you can drag and drop files you want to transfer easily too!
Stages to a successful iOS Update
Check if your device is compatible with iOS 13 and iPadOS
If you can’t find the iOS or iPadOS update in Settings > General > Software Update; review Apple’s specs on device compatibility. For folks using iPhone 6 and below (such as 5S), your devices are no longer upgradable.
Take a look at this list below, if your device is on this list, it supports Apple latest iOS 13 and iPadOS. If your device is not on the list, that device cannot run iOS 13/iPadOS–the current iOS is its final version.
Know your device passcode and your Apple ID username and password before updating
We’ve gotten so used to using Touch ID and Face ID to filling in our passcodes, that many of us simply don’t remember these.
But it’s critical to know your device and Apple ID passwords or passcodes before updating so you can enter those codes when asked.
If you don’t use a passcode on your device, temporarily create one by going to Settings > Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode > Turn Passcode On and setting up a numeric passcode. You can delete this after you are done updating your device if desired.
Forgot Your iPhone’s Passcode?
Check out Forgot iPhone/iPad passcode? How to reset your passcode to tips on what to do when you can’t remember your passcode.
Lack of preparation for the update
- Check that your device has enough storage available (5-7 GB recommended for an update of 3-4 GB)
- Apple now requires two-factor authentication. If your device is not set up for 2FA, set that up before your update
- Backup your device via iTunes, Finder app (macOS Catalina), or via iCloud
- For automatic updates, connect your device to its charger and to WiFi to allow overnight updating
- Update during off-hours–Apple Servers are super busy the first few days to weeks of an iOS/iPadOS update–this congestion often leads to failed updates. Updating overnight or early morning is usually the safest bet!
- Connect to the fastest and most stable WiFi network available–if concerned about your WiFi use iTunes or Finder instead
- Keep your device connected to a power source for the whole time its updating
Errors preventing downloading, verifying, or installing the update
Make sure you write down or have your device passcode and Apple ID username/password available to enter and confirm.
Seeing Unable to Install Update. Error Occurred Message?
- Usually, this error shows up when your device doesn’t have enough space on it–try freeing up additional storage by removing or offloading apps, deleting content like photos, videos, or music, or moving items to iCloud or another storage option
- If space isn’t an issue, toggle AirPlane mode on, wait 30 seconds, and toggle it off
- Reset your network settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings and after it restarts, connect to WiFi and try updating again
- Change your DNS to Google Public DNS, Open DNS or Cloudflare
- Restart or force restart your device
- Change your language or region and try updating again
- For continued problems, update using iTunes (macOS Mojave or lower and Windows PC) or Finder (macOS Catalina+)
For errors like Software Update Failed
- Go to Settings > General > Storage
- Scroll down to locate and delete the software update
- After deleting, restart your device and download the update again via Settings > General > Software Update
For Unable to Verify Update errors
- Check that your device is connected to the internet and press Retry
- Try updating your device using another network
- If that fails, toggle AirPlane mode on, wait 30 seconds, and toggle it off. Then press Retry again
- For continued problems, reset your network settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings and after it restarts, connect to WiFi and try updating again
- Some readers find that when they switch off their WiFi and use their cellular connection that they are successfully able to verify the update (be warned, this may consume a lot of your data!)
- If the issue happens again after trying to update with multiple networks, remove the update from Settings > General > Storage
- For stubborn issues, use iTunes (macOS Mojave or lower and Windows PC) or Finder (macOS Catalina+) to update your device
Stuck on Apple Logo or black screen following update
- Updates can take a lot of time, so make sure your device really is stuck–wait it out for at least a few hours before assuming it’s stuck. The time an update takes depends on the BOTH size of the update and the number of files on your device
- When updating, keep your device connected to a power source. If not connected to power and your device runs out, connect it back to power and turn on the device to let the update complete
- Once you confirm it really is stuck, try a restart of if necessary, a forced restart
- After restarting, you should again see the progress bar and Apple logo, but in a few minutes the install should complete
- If a forced restart didn’t work, connect your device to iTunes or Finder in recovery mode. When you see the option to Restore or Update, choose Update
Forgetting to follow post-install procedures
- Restarting your device after an update is always a good idea
- Confirm your Apple ID account settings and iCloud settings
- Validate your iMessage and FaceTime settings
- Check your phone number and make a call or send a text
- Double-check your email accounts and re-enter your passwords for your mail accounts, if needed
- Review your privacy settings and location permissions
- Remove any beta profiles unless you want to continue participating in the beta testing program
If your device is asking for a 6-digit device passcode–but you only recall having a 4-digit code, check out this article iPhone Passcode Required After iOS Update, Fix
How to update from iOS and iPadOS Beta versions to the official public versions
If you tested out Apple’s beta versions of iOS 13 and iPadOS and now want to move to the official versions, follow these steps:
- Launch the Settings App and Tap on General followed by Profiles
- Tap on iOS 13 & iPadOS Beta Software Profile (remove any beta watchOS profiles as well)
- Choose Remove Profile
- Enter your passcode if prompted and confirm Delete
- Shut down your iPhone or iPad by using Settings > General > Shut Down
- Power your device back on
- Once your iPhone has started, Tap on Settings > General > Software Updates or connect to iTunes or Finder to update to a ful, new version of iOS and iPadOS
- Tap Update, if available
- If you were on the last beta version of iOS 13 or iPadOS, your device is automatically updated to the gold master (GM) copy of iOS 13 and iPadOS
Still seeing the beta testing Feedback app?
After updating to the public version, your device might still include the Feedback app, depending on how you updated.
When updating over-the-air via the Software Update function, the feedback app remains on your device. That’s because the over-the-air iOS update is a delta version of the software, meaning it’s only installing the code that changed.
To download and install a full version of iOS 13 or iPadOS, use iTunes (Windows PC and macOS Mojave and below) or Finder (macOS Catalina and above.)
We recommend using iTunes or Finder because it downloads the full version–and these installs tend to have fewer issues than over-the-air versions (delta software updates.)
Although install errors happen with iOS and iPadOS, they generally are rare and usually avoidable by preparing in advance. Doing things like freeing up space, backing up with iCloud, iTunes, or Finder, and scheduling your iOS/iPadOS update for the off-hours go a long way to smooth the update process.
But if you are one of the unlucky ones, and your update is creating chaos and errors, our tips should get you back on the road to iOS discovery!
For other common problems with iOS 13, please check out our live troubleshooting guide below:
Let us know in the comment if you are stuck with a particularly difficult problem, and well do our best to clear those obstacles out of the way.
- Backup your iPhone, iPad, or iPod using Finder/iTunes or iCloud and then do a complete restore to your device
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.