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How to update all of your Apple devices

iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, Macs… even your Apple TV and iPod Touch.
iOS notification for system updates appearing on the Settings app.

iOS notification for system updates appearing on the Settings app.

Here's a quick, simple, and no-nonsense way to update your Apple devices.

It is recommended to be on a stable Wi-Fi connection to update, and note that some updates are not available over a cellular connection.

Also, make sure that devices are on charge, or you have a charger handy in case it is requested.

iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

  • Tap on Settings > General, then tap Software Update
  • Tap on the update and follow the prompts

Apple Watch

From the iPhone

  • Open the Apple Watch app, then tap the My Watch tab, then General > Software Update
  • Tap on the update and follow the prompts

From the Apple Watch

  • Open the Settings app and tap General > Software Update
  • Tap on the update and follow the prompts


  • Click on the Apple icon in the corner of your screen, then choose System Preferences
  • From System Preferences window, click Software Update
  • Depending on whether it's a minor update or major update, click on Update Now or Upgrade Now

Apple TV

  • Open the Settings app on Apple TV and select System > Software Updates
  • Select Update Software and follow the prompts


How will I know if there's an update available for my device?

There are many ways. The red dot on the Settings icon for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is the one most people are familiar with. WatchOS, TVOS, and MacOS will eventually notify you unless you carry out an manual update.

How long do updates take?

It depends. If it's a minor update (going from x.3 to x.4 say), then it can be over in a few minutes, but major updates (for example, going from version 15 to 16) can sometimes take an hour or more.

Why should I update?

As well as getting new features and bug fixes, you also get security updates that help to keep your device safe from hackers and other bad guys.

Are there risks to updates?

Updates are quite safe. Yes, there might be bugs that cause you irritation, but serious issues that cause a device to be bricked or unusable are extremely rare.

What do I do if an update breaks my device?

Contact Apple support.

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