Why Do iPhone Updates Take So Long?

  1. Published on Jun 23, 2022
  2. Updated on Jun 23, 2022
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Depending on the iOS update that you are installing on your device, the process can take quite some time.

This is because the files that make up the update can be quite large and downloading them can take quite a while, depending on the strength and stability of your network connection.

Given that an iOS update can introduce new features to the device, along with system patches that can fix any system issues, it is very important to ensure your device has the latest version of iOS.

But some people choose to put off the update because the process can take quite a while to complete.

In this article, we will talk about how long the update process can take and why do iPhone updates take so long. This will help you plan your time properly and be able to update your device when you can.

iOS Update

How Long the iOS Update Takes

The exact amount of time it will take to update your device depends on several factors. But the following breakdown should be able to help you determine how much time you will need to prepare, download and install the update on your device:

Update Task


Sync (optional)

5-45 minutes

Backup and Transfer (Optional)

1-30 minutes

iOS Update Download

5-15 minutes

iOS Update Installation

7-12 minutes

Total iOS Update Duration

12-60 minutes

Why Does it Take So Long to Update iOS?

There are several factors that determine how quickly you can update your device to the latest version of iOS. They include the following:

To fix the iOS update taking forever issue, read this troubleshooting guide.

1. The Internet Connection

The most important factor in determining the time it will take to update your device is the internet connection, more particularly the internet speed.

If you want to spend as little time as possible updating your device, you should ensure that you are using Wi-Fi and make sure that the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to is strong and stable.

If the internet connection that you are using is unstable, your iOS update may take longer than necessary.

The update files can be very large (up to 5GB) and a cellular data connection is just not sufficient to download all the files you need very quickly.

2. The Storage Space on Your Device

The amount of storage space you have on your device can influence how quickly the update process is completed.

If the storage space is too low, you may not be able to even download the iOS update files at all or the update process may get stuck.

The general rule of thumb is to have at least 5GB of free storage space to easily update the device. You can go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage to check your device’s storage situation.

If you don’t like what you see, you can try to offload some of the apps and media files on the device to create more room.

3. Your Location

Although most people don’t know it, your location in the world will also determine how quickly you can update your device.

This is because the file size for the update may vary from one location to another. While some users will need to download files up to 5GB, other users may only need to download 3GB to update their devices.

The discrepancy in the size of the file is because some users get a lighter version that doesn’t include the iOS services not offered in their country.

4. The Model of Your Device

The iPhone model that you have can also be a determining factor. Older iPhones that are compatible with the version of iOS being offered often get a trimmed-down version of the update.

What's more, it is equally important to note that older iPhone models tend to be slower and may therefore significantly increase the time it takes to update the device.

5. When You Choose to Update the Device

How quickly you can update your iPhone may also depend on when you choose to install the update.

If you choose to update your iPhone on the day the public version of iOS comes out, you may have trouble connecting the device to the Apple servers.

This is because millions of other users may be trying to do the same, overwhelming the Apple servers and slowing down the process for everyone.

It is better to wait a few days before attempting to update your device and choose to install the update early morning when most people are still asleep.

Wrap Up

The importance of an iOS update cannot be overstated and it is therefore very important to make sure that you install the latest version on your device.

But before you start the update process, make sure that your device is connected to a stable Wi-Fi network to ensure the process doesn’t take longer than necessary.

Aaron Roussey

Aaron is tech-savvy and enjoys writing technical articles about phones, computers, games, and the internet!
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