Keeping your iPhone or iPad fully up-to-date is essential, as Apple often releases important security patches, big fixes and other useful features in the form of Over-The-Air updates. Here's how to update your iPhone or iPad to the latest version of iOS 10, as well as full instructions on how to download and install the beta version of iOS 11 right now.
What is iOS?
If you own an iPhone or iPad, your device will run the iOS operating system, as designed by Apple itself. This is the main software which actually allows you to do things on your phone or tablet, including run apps, use the camera, tweak the settings and so on.
Check out our complete 'what is iOS' explainer guide for all you need to know.
Why should I regularly update iOS on my iPhone or iPad?
The iOS software is regularly updated by Apple, for all kinds of reasons.
For one, these updates bring new features to your iPhone or iPad, to make them even better to use. As an example, the Siri virtual assistant is continuously being improved to offer more informative responses, while the likes of Apple Home support has been added to allow you to control your home from your iPhone.
More importantly, these iOS updates often fix bugs and security holes in the software. In other words, they make your iPhone or iPad more secure and less likely to be hacked, so your private data stays safe. Any existing glitches will be killed off, providing a smoother, more reliable user experience.
What is the latest version of iOS?
The latest version publically available right now is iOS 10, which was released towards the end of 2016. However, Apple is hard at work on the next version, iOS 11, which is already in beta stages. You can actually try out iOS 11 on your iPhone or iPad right now, if you sign up for Apple's development program. Keep reading for more info and full instructions.
How to update your iPhone or iPad to the latest version of iOS 10
First, before you update your iPhone we recommend backing up your photos and anything else precious on your mobile. You can do this using iTunes, by connecting your iPhone to your computer with the Lightning cable.
- When you're ready, go to your iPhone's settings by tapping the icon on your desktop.
- Scroll down to 'General' and give it a tap.
- Tap the second option in the next menu, Software Update.
- Your iPhone will check for available updates and if one is available you'll see the details listed. Tap 'install Now' at the bottom.
- Enter your Apple passcode (which you use to unlock your phone) to proceed.
- Now it's time to sell your soul to Apple, i.e. agree to the terms and conditions. Just hit 'Agree' at the bottom of the page.
- Your iPhone will now download and install the iOS update, which involves an iPhone restart. When your phone starts back up, it will be updated.
How to download and install the iOS 11 beta on your iPhone or iPad
In June 2017, Apple launched iOS 11 at its big WWDC 2017 event. This latest version of iOS boasts loads of cool new features, although right now it still isn't officially available to iPhone and iPad users as it's still in beta. However, it is possible to download and install the iOS 11 beta right now, if you can't wait for it to roll out later in 2017.
Be warned however, iOS 11 in beta form is likely to be glitchy, so be sure to back up your iPhone or iPad before you follow these steps!
- First, make a backup of your iPhone or iPad in case the update goes belly up and you end up with a very expensive paperweight. You can do that pretty easily using iTunes - just connect your device and tap 'Back up now' from the main screen.
- On your Apple device, head to Apple's Beta Software website, and sign up, or sign in with your Apple ID when prompted if you're already enrolled. Choose 'iOS' in the list at the top and follow the instructions to get your device enrolled.
- With that done, head to your iPhone or iPad's settings menu. Tap on General and then Software Update, and your device should pick up on the iOS 11 Public Beta, available as an OTA update. From here you can download and install the beta, which is over 2GB in size. We therefore recommend connecting to a reliable and reasonably quick WiFi network before you proceed.
- The iOS 11 beta will install, which requires a reboot. Job done!